Meet the 21st century World Cup photographer (Part II)

How does it work?

How does it work?

Photographers from all competing nations are virtually guaranteed entry into the grounds for their team's games. A quarter of all allotted spaces at each match will go to the competing countries' own press and agencies - though some, such as Senegal, Nigeria, Slovenia and Ecuador, will doubtless not take up their full quota given the obvious expense of sending photographers over to Japan and Korea. The Telegraph's Cheyne won't divulge the exact costs involved but one travel package, which his employer wisely declined, put the cost of flying out one photographer, plus accommodation and internal flights for the duration of the tournament, at £22,000. With the competing nations taken care of - and once international agencies such as Reuters have taken their own considerable chunk - the remaining spaces will be made available on a lottery basis. It is in this lottery that Cheyne will find himself should he stay on to cover the knockout stages and the final itself - assuming England aren't still competing. Photographers are allocated a coloured bib which determines throughout the tournament which goal they are behind. If a penalty shoot-out takes place at the other end then that's just bad "luck" - a word Cheyne uses more than once, because all the technology in the world can't ensure you are in the right place at the right time. Since the last World Cup Cheyne has been using digital cameras (a Nikon D1) and while it is not the case that everybody has abandoned film, he believes digital is now the norm for most. As any user of technology will say, even the most expensive kit is far from flawless and all are prone to operator error. But digital cameras have largely been a revelation. If nothing else they have done-away with the embarrassment of turning up pitch-side with no film. The Telegraph man willingly admits he has "made every schoolboy error in the book and any photographer who says otherwise is lying". As well as the cameras and lenses he will take a laptop (an Apple Mac G4 PowerBook) and normally a mobile phone (a Nokia high-speed data card phone) for sending his work back to the office. However, in Korea and Japan UK photographers will pick up phones on arrival as the host nations' CDMA and PDC networks throw up compatibility issues for those arriving from countries where GSM is the standard. As such Fifa is having to provide for thousands of journalists and photographers arriving without their trusty mobiles - all looking to get connected as soon as possible. Whether out of fear of this logistical nightmare imploding or just a need to be organised at any cost, some photographers will have gone the next stage up and will be taking satellite phones with them - but they will be paying heavily for the privilege. But experience seems to have taught Cheyne it will be alright on the night. Over the years he admits he has been surprised by the adoption of mobile phones around the world. He says: "Countries you just wouldn't expect have skipped generations in terms of technology and instead of wasting time updating old phone networks they've jumped straight in to mobiles. Albania [one of England's opponents in qualification] was a real surprise. Everybody else out there had taken satellite phones with them but I had no problems using my mobile. I couldn't believe the signal I was getting." Cheyne will be following the England team closely - attending training sessions, press conferences and, of course, matches. The demand put upon him for pictures will be governed by two factors - the action on the pitch and the agenda of the newspaper. The Telegraph man will fire off shots throughout a game - Beckham celebrating a goal, Owen clutching his hamstring, Trevor Sinclair firing in a 30-yard screamer - who knows - and at the end he will download the contents of his camera's disks onto his laptop where he will view them as a 'contact sheet' in Adobe Photoshop. At this stage he may be looking to meet criteria requested by the paper - they want Owen on the front page - but are demanding a landscape shot. When he settles on a suitable image he will touch up the picture where necessary and when time allows. This is partly to save on hassle at the other end and partly to make his own product look better when it hits his boss's inbox alongside freelancers' efforts. Here he avails himself of Photoshop's manifold tools - perhaps lightening an image, increasing the contrast, cropping out a flailing foot, a ballboy's head or a rival photographer's elbow which just crept into view in the clamour for the best shot. The art of the photographer has certainly moved on from the point-and-click days of old with an understanding of technology and software integral to the role. This finished picture - though he may give the paper a choice of several - will then be saved onto the desktop, backed up on CD for long-term storage purposes and then sent, via the mobile phone or WLAN, back to the London office. The pictures will hit the inbox in a matter of minutes. So when we look on the back pages of the papers on 1 July who will be seeing lifting the trophy? Italy get the nod from Cheyne, who fancies European teams to feature strongly - but he doesn't sound too convinced that he will still be following England come the later stages - mentioning Sweden as serious contenders for that up-for-grabs second spot in the Group of Death. But we can hope. England's past World Cup campaigns are all well documented in photo form. The aforementioned 'hand of God' resides alongside Gazza's tearful farewell to World Cup football in 1990, the agony of Waddle and Pearce, the berated walk of shame for Beckham from the Saint Etienne pitch... I could go on. While these are all powerful images (agony seems more enduringly photogenic than ecstasy) it would be good not to have to go back to a time when colour photography was regarded as a milestone technological breakthrough to find an image capturing happier times.