For the second consecutive year, the Elon alumna and Los Angeles-based photojournalist will attend the NFL’s biggest game of the year, looking for the perfect images to illustrate the contest’s atmosphere and outcome.
There are many ways to watch this weekend’s Super Bowl, but no stadium seat, backyard patio or lucky couch cushion can rival Elon alumna Caroline Brehman’s view Sunday evening. The Los Angeles-based photojournalist, a full-time staff member with EPA Images, will be on the sidelines at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, to chronicle the NFL’s championship game featuring the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles.
While Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts might have added anxiety this week, they aren’t the only ones feeling pressure.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be photographing the game, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t have some nerves,” Brehman said.
While kickoff isn’t slated until 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Brehman has been in town since Monday, capturing images at numerous press conferences, and the NFL Super Bowl Experience and its fan engagement activities, as well as testing equipment and attending photography meetings to cover game-day logistics. If her schedule wasn’t hectic enough, Brehman’s week began back in Los Angeles photographing the 65th Grammy Awards.
But the communication design major relishes the work and the opportunity to cover the Super Bowl for a second consecutive year — this time with a different focus.
At last year’s Super Bowl in Los Angeles, Brehman handled coverage leading up to the game and its events during the week. But on game day, her responsibilities stationed her in the stadium’s basement, where she edited and processed images for the photographers on the field. This year, Brehman will be at field level, camera in hand, trekking up and down the sidelines to follow the action.
“While I was physically at the Super Bowl last year, being able to photograph the game feels completely different going into this Super Bowl,” she said.
In the hours leading up to the game, Brehman and her two colleagues will check and recheck equipment and their location set-ups in preparation for one of the most-watched sporting events of the year.
To ensure she doesn’t miss any of the action, Brehman will have three camera bodies with her. Her main camera will be equipped with a 400mm lens, and she will use a monopod to make it easier to carry. Additionally, she will have a second camera with a 70-200mm lens, and a third camera with a 24-70mm lens for wide shots and postgame coverage.
Throughout the game “card runners” will rush Brehman’s memory cards to her on-site editor, who will edit, caption and distribute the photos. To avoid any possible hiccups, she plans to have “way more memory cards on me than I need,” plus extra batteries and a few snacks on hand.
Thanks to hours of preparation and her previous event experience, Brehman expects to be game ready by kickoff time. “When the game finally starts, I am hoping that I will go into my shooting mode and be able to focus on just taking good photos,” she said.
While Brehman handles a variety of photo assignments for EPA Images, her location in Los Angeles lends itself to working a lot of entertainment events. In fact, her work schedule is usually dictated by the entertainment industry’s calendar. But it is not uncommon for Brehman to photograph a red-carpet movie premiere one day and a Los Angeles Lakers game the next.
When shooting sports, Brehman is mindful to cover the main action of the game and its biggest moments that will be remembered. But she also enjoys documenting the “in-between moments and the reactions” of the players, coaches and fans, she explained.
“I love the atmosphere of going into a crowded arena for a game,” Brehman said. “If I am able to convey what it feels like to be there in my photos, then I am happy.”
Coincidentally, Brehman grew up in Wayne, Pennsylvania, about 30 minutes outside of Philadelphia. Not surprisingly, she hails from a family of Eagles fans, and is one herself. But she is careful that her fandom doesn’t influence her work.
“Before moving to Los Angeles, I covered politics in Washington, D.C.,” she said, recalling her stint at Roll Call. “In general, but especially covering politics, it’s extremely important to stay neutral as a journalist and I have it ingrained in me to keep my opinions to myself and to be fair in the way I approach my work. Therefore, it feels almost wrong to admit I am an Eagles fan, but anyone who knows me personally or sees me post an occasional story on Instagram or post on Twitter, knows I love the Eagles.
“While it may be challenging … I will make sure to leave my emotions as a fan at home.”
Prior to joining the EPA Images, Brehman worked across the U.S., holding positions with Roll Call, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Martha’s Vineyard Times and the Burlington Times-News. While at Elon, she also served as a photo editor for The Pendulum and The Edge Magazine. For a closer look at Brehman’s work, visit www.carolinebrehman.com.