But a tip of the iceberg

PARIS -- With every Euro final come the photographs that capture the action and the emotion of the beautiful game. This year’s match between Portugal and France resulted in precisely 1,723 AFP photos, 1,339 of them from inside the stadium alone.

But what does it take to produce those clean, beautifully framed shots? A team of photographers, editors and technicians working together seamlessly. Plus weeks of organization to boot. The photos themselves are just the tip of the iceberg.

This photo taken on July 10, 2016 shows a fanzone on the Champs de Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, during the Euro 2016 final football match between Portugal and France.  / AFP PHOTO / Thomas SAMSON (AFP / Thomas Samson)

Shooting the action inside the stadium this year for AFP were eight photographers and six remote cameras. Outside, there were three more shooters from high vantage points across Paris and one on the ground in the fan zone. And then there were the photographers in Lisbon and throughout France.

For the photographers on the field, the match is 90-plus minutes of non-stop work.

First off, they have to get the key action shots:

France's forward Andre-Pierre Gignac, Portugal's defender Fonte and Portugal's goalkeeper Rui Patricio watch the ball hitting the post during the Euro 2016 final football match between Portugal and France at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of PaClose but no cigar. (AFP / Franck Fife)

Then there are the fans, both the traditional shots:

A combination of file pictures made on July 8, 2016 shows Portugal (L) and France (R) supporters during Euro 2016 football tournament. France will face Portugal in the Euro 2016 final football match at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, o (AFP )


And ones a little different:

A France supporter arrives for the start of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016.  / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (AFP / Franck Fife)

They also have to keep an eye on the VIP box:

French President Francois Hollande poses for selfies at the end of the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016. France will face Portugal in the Euro 2016 finals on July 10, 2016. (AFP / Franck Fife)

Keep track of kids:

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo's son Cristiano junior (2ndR) cheers ahead of the Euro 2016 final football match between Portugal and France at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on July 10, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCISCO LEONGCristiano Ronaldo's son, Cristiano Jr, cheers in the stadium ahead of the final. (AFP / Francisco Leong)

And any surprises popping onto the field:

A steward grabs a supporter entering the pitch during the Euro 2016 final football match between Portugal and France at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on July 10, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ (AFP / Patrik Stollarz)

There are moments of celebration:

France's forward Andre-Pierre Gignac (L) celebrates with France's forward Antoine Griezmann after he scored the second goal for France during the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, (AFP / Franck Fife)

Screams of pain and tears of joy:

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the Euro 2016 final football match between Portugal and France at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on July 10, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE LOPEZ (AFP / Philippe Lopez)
Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo reacts as Portugal beats France 1-0 to clinch the Euro 2016 final football match between France and Portugal at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on July 10, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAU (AFP / Martin Bureau)

 

There are synchronized headers:

France's forward Antoine Griezmann (L) vies for the ball against Germany's defender Benedikt Hoewedes during the Euro 2016 semi-final football match between Germany and France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on July 7, 2016.  / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (AFP / Franck Fife)

And sometimes even synchronized coaching:

Portugal's coach Fernando Santos (L) and Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo react during the last minutes of the Euro 2016 final football match between France and Portugal at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on July 10, 2016. Portugal (AFP / Martin Bureau)
Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) and Portugal's coach Fernando Santos celebrate their team's win in the Euro 2016 final football match between Portugal and France at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on July 10, 2016. / AFP PHOTO (AFP / Miguel Medina)

 

There is joy:

Portugal's forward Eder (R) celebrates after scoring a goal with team mates during the Euro 2016 final football match between Portugal and France at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on July 10, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINAAfter the winning goal. (AFP / Miguel Medina)

And despair:

France's forward Andre-Pierre Gignac reacts after Portugal won the Euro 2016 final football match between Portugal and France at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on July 10, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ (AFP / Patrik Stollarz)

And sometimes both in the same frame:
 

Portugal's forward Eder (R) celebrates with teammates past France's forward Antoine Griezmann (C) after he scored during the Euro 2016 final football match between Portugal and France at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on July 10, 2016 (AFP / Francisco Leong)
French President Francois Hollande (L) looks dejected next to his Portuguese counterpart Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa after Portugal won the Euro 2016 final football match between Portugal and France at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on Ju (AFP / Francisco Leong)

 

During the game, the photographers stand in their assigned spot and their cameras are connected to cables, which allow them to transmit their pictures quickly. Sometimes they work in “live” mode, meaning that every picture they snap goes straight to the editors. This saves time and allows the photographer to shoot without interruption, but means the the editors on the desk are getting flooded with shots.

Others work in ‘tag and send’ mode. They shoot some pictures, then look through them on their camera, tag the ones they like and send those to editors. This cuts down on the volume, but means that the photographer has to take his or her eyes off the match to send the pictures.

Of course getting great pictures and capturing moments is only part of the equation. Getting them to clients as fast as possible is just as important. In today’s world, speed is everything. This is where the editors come in.

The first action photo of the match needs to hit the wire in less than a minute. Think about that. You need to crop, caption and send the photo in less than a minute. Takes most people longer to tie their shoes.

(AFP / Philippe Lopez)

Same goes for the goal pictures and celebrations. Especially in a game like this year’s final, where the goal didn’t come until overtime. You have one editor (with nerves of steel) choosing the best shot (no time for doubts) and cropping it and then handing it to a second editor, who captions it and sends it out. For goals, this process usually takes 30 seconds. You could say a blink of an eye.

(AFP / Philippe Lopez)

And then there is THE shot -- of the winners lifting the trophy. This one is tricky because the photographers inside the stadium are now on the pitch and their cameras are no longer connected to the cables that send the photos to the desk. Instead, technicians are on the field, ready to grab the shooters' disks, run to a computer set up nearby and send the photos to the desk.

(AFP / Valery Hache)

In any match of course, there is plenty of action off the pitch. The photographers outside must capture the mood:

Celebrating France's semi-final win over Germany in the fan zone near the Eiffel Tower. (AFP / Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt)

As well as the key moments of the game:

People watch on a giant screen the Euro 2016 football tournament final match between Portugal and France, while Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo is evacuated on a stretcher after being injured, on July 10, 2016 at the fan zone of the Champs de Mars ne (AFP / Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt)

The celebrations:

Portugal's national football team supporters wave flags at Terreiro do Paco square in Lisbon on July 10, 2016 as they watch on a giant screen the Euro 2016 final football match Portugal vs France played in Paris. / AFP PHOTO / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRAPortugal supporters in Lisbon. (AFP / Patricia De Melo Moreira)

And the despair:

France's supporters react following the Euro 2016 football tournament final match between Portugal and France at the fan zone in Lyon on July 10, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / ROMAIN LAFABREGUE (AFP / Romain Lafabregue)
A French supporter reacts after the Euro 2016 final football match between Portugal and France at the Champ-de-Mars fan zone in Paris on July 10, 2016. Ronaldo's Portugal beat France 1-0 in Euro 2016 final. / AFP PHOTO / ALAIN JOCARD (AFP / Alain Jocard)

 

And the inevitable skirmishes:

Men clash with French riot policemen after attempting to enter the fan zone of the Champs de Mars next to the Eiffel tower in Paris on July 10, 2016 during the Euro 2016 football tournament final match between Portugal and France. / AFP PHOTO / ALAIN JOCAClashes near the fan zone at the Eiffel Tower. (AFP / Alain Jocard)
A picture taken from the Tour Montparnasse shows tear gas under the Eiffel tower during clashes between police and supporters trying to illegally enter the Champs de Mars fan zone on July 10, 2016 in Paris, before the Euro 2016 football tournament final mTear gas under the Eiffel Tower during clashes near its fan zone. (AFP / Thomas Samson)

So what does it take to bring you pictures of a Euro final? A team of shooters and editors, with a technical setup that with a little luck works without a glitch. And then the team goes home in the wee hours of the morning, having captured another final of the beautiful game for the history books.

(AFP / Alain Jocard)

 

Yana Dlugy