Tuesday | 30 Mar 2021

My WRC Life: The Photographer

Photographing the WRC brings a unique set of challenges unparalleled in sport. @World director André Lavadinho talks us through a rally from the perspective of a photographer, from planning to execution.


@World work with a consistent team of photographers for the entire WRC season, typically taking on one or two local photographers per event, bringing our team up to five or six. Logistically, this takes a lot of planning, so we have a travel agency to take care of travel arrangements, one to two months prior to any rally. At rallies, we always stay together in one house.


Normally, we arrive at a rally on the Tuesday before action starts, but with the Covid-19 situation we need to arrive earlier, meaning we stay more than one week at each event.

We always try to fly on the same day, arriving in two to three cars, so we can be split between creativity points on the stages.

In order to assure quality across events, we always have a consistent plan for a season. At each event, each @World photographer has a plan to follow, from their departure from home, through to the end of the rally.

We begin every rally with an @World team briefing at our hotel, before heading out on recce the next day. Typically, we will not do recces together because everyone in our team has a different style.

There are three key points that our team need to keep in mind during a recce:

  1. Good mobile reception so photos can be sent immediately
  2. Good access roads to the stages
  3. Taking a risk in picking shooting spots – sometimes, I can not sleep before a new rally, thinking about whether a car will jump in a certain spot or if it is risk to set up there



Typically, our alarms are set for 5am, but it can also be as early as 3 or 4am. We have breakfast before setting out to the stage, aiming to arrive one-and-a-half hours prior to the first cars coming through, checking to make sure everything is the same as we saw it on recce.

We come back together for a dinner together but out on the stages it is “sandwich time.” There is no time during a rally to sit down for a proper meal.


For a rally like Arctic Rally Finland and dealing with temperatures as cold as -15 to -20 degrees, we always need to check our camera batteries, but our other equipment can cope fine with these conditions.

The main challenge is editing photos fast and sending them, as we lose feeling in our fingers! The good thing is, we love our work and bringing it to fans around the world, so cold fingers is a small price to pay for seeing a rally car fly by us on the top of a mountain in -20 degrees conditions - it is much more difficult dealing with no events!

In the age of social media, timely delivery of our photos to clients is incredibly important. This is another reason we always travel with two people in each car. After shooting at one location, it is straight back to the car to get to the next stop. One person is behind the wheel whilst the other is editing and sending the photos. Without pictures, there is no news.

For me, the perfect photo doesn’t exist. There is always something that can be better and there is a certain amount of luck involved. Having said that, it is that quest for the illusive perfect photo that keeps us motivated. if you do not have that photo yet, it is the main reason to continue pushing.

If we are going to discuss creativity, this is something different. Here, it is not about luck, but talent, and that is something that comes with years of experience. At every event, we have one photographer that is only thinking about creativity. If they fail in some of their photos, this is not a problem. At the end of the day, we just want to see 30 creative photos.

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