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The Future of Sports Photography: How Sports Illustrated is Embracing Change

Sports Illustrated automates its workflows and gets work done faster with PhotoShelter’s AI.

The team at Sports Illustrated has covered major sporting events since their first issue. As documentarians and storytellers, they’re responsible for delivering some of the most iconic sports imagery of all time. But how does a brand like Sports Illustrated adapt to major changes and prepare for the future? In a traditional year, they have virtually unlimited access to the biggest events in sports, however, this year was different. This iconic brand was forced to make changes and adapt to new restrictions while still capturing the stunning content they’re known for.We spoke with Sports Illustrated’s Director of Photography Marguerite Schropp Lucarelli and Director of Photography Operations Erick Rasco about how Sports Illustrated adapted to changes and prepared for the future of visual storytelling.PhotoShelter CEO Andrew Fingerman moderates this discussion from 20/21 Vision: The Strategy Summit that highlights the changes we saw in 2020 and what it means for the future of sports photography. Watch the on-demand conversation below that features some of SI’s most incredible content from a year in sports unlike any other.

When sports leagues took precautionary measures and limited fan attendance, Sports Illustrated photographers struggled to get the types of images they’re famous for. “Most dramatically, we lost our shooting positions,” explains Erick.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom – some events allowed for new opportunities. Traditionally, The Masters is packed and photographers are limited to the same spaces as the fans. But this year, the rope lines were dropped and photographers were given unprecedented access to all the players and live action.

“This iconic course has kind of opened up to us. We’re getting angles and perspectives of the golfers that we never have before.” – Erick Rasco

As the fall colors washed over Augusta National, Erick and his team were there to capture history.

Changing the Game with PhotoShelter AI

As early adopters of PhotoShelter’s artificial intelligence solution, the team at Sports Illustrated is embracing the future and working to get the most out of their content. “Capturing those moments is just part of the overall game. The backend is what we have to add value to and leverage across all our platforms,” explains Erick.

After photographers shoot large events, they used to get bogged down tagging and captioning hundreds of images.

“Now with the AI it’s done in minutes.” – Erick Rasco


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