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Winter Sports 2018 Blog

Behind the scenes: “From creation to publication” with Photo Editor Shanna Lockwood

Pyeongchang, South Korea - Photo Editor Shanna Lockwood from USA TODAY blogs about what happens after photographers take the shot, here in Pyeongchang:

“The Olympics bring together not only the world's top athletes, but also the most elite global media members—and I am fortunate to be one of them for the third time here in Pyeongchang as a photo editor for USA TODAY Sports Images.

In this role, I am responsible for getting images from creation to publication as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality or quantity. Technologically, we accomplish this feat of speed via a system of Ethernet cables running from cameras to our server, delivering images mere seconds after they were captured and tagged by photographers. Once those images hit the server, it's up to me and three other editors to select the most visually-compelling and story-relevant images from the files we receive, then set about captioning, cropping, toning, and transmitting them with Olympic-caliber haste.

Once I've pulled the images I want from the server, my primary goal in editing software is to make the images clean; that is, straightening horizons, eliminating distractions, and keeping Olympic logos intact and in-frame. I rely on TVs in our workroom and the Olympic media information site to help me determine relevancy as images flow in, prioritizing the top performers and Americans before filling in the rest of the competition field. The rate of images flowing in tends to be more flood than trickle, so it's also critical to manage how much buildup occurs in a photographer's folder on the server while editing. Photo editing is so much more than assessing the best images and adjusting them in Photoshop. We are managing the visual storyline for these events, and that requires a refined workflow that feels second-nature, sharp news reflexes to respond to unfolding events, and the ability to thrive under pressure.

Like the athletes, my skills become sharper with repetition, and after editing three Olympics, I feel more confident not only as an editor, but also a photographer. I get to edit images from amazing photographers, and seeing their work has led to improvement of my own work, which is what the Olympics are all about: surrounding yourself with greatness and striving to be among the best”.

See below Shanna's favorite selection for the Winter Games so far:

Jussi Penttala (FIN) competes in the freestyle skiing men's moguls qualification 2 at Phoenix Snow Park during the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR | ISO 4000 | 1/2500 s | f/4.0 Photo by Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports
Sophie Caldwell (USA) competes in the cross-country skiing sprint classic at Alpensia Cross-Country Centre during the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II | ISO 2500 | 1/2000 s | f/2.8 Photo by Andrew P. Scott/USA TODAY Sports
Jessica Diggins (USA) competes in the cross country skiing sprint classic at Alpensia Cross-Country Centre during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR | ISO 100 | 1/40 s | f/5.6 Photo by Andrew P. Scott/USA TODAY Sports
Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov (OAR) compete in pairs free skating at Gangneung Ice Arena during the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR | ISO 8000 | 1/2000 s | f/5.6 Photo by Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Junhwan Cha (KOR) competes in the men figure skating short program at Gangneung Ice Arena during the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR | ISO 200 | 1/30 s | f/5.6 Photo by Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Maggie Voisin (USA) competes in ladies ski slopestyle final run 1 at Phoenix Snow Park during the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR | ISO 280 | 1/2000 s | f/5.6 Photo by Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports
Johanne Killi (NOR) competes in ladies ski slopestyle final run 3 at Phoenix Snow Park during the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED VR | ISO 280 | 1/2000 s | f/5.6 Photo by Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports