Profile

Franck Seguin

Two divers swim down to a plane wreck on the sea bed, followed by a shoal of stripy fish.
Canon Ambassador Franck Seguin's underwater shot shows French freedivers Guillaume Néry and Arnaud Jérald in the clear waters of Tahiti, exploring a plane wreck lying on the ocean floor. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L USM (now succeeded by the Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM), at 1/800 sec, f/9 and ISO500. © Franck Seguin

An experienced French sports photographer, who is also Editor-in-Chief in charge of the Photo Production department at L'Équipe group, Franck has shot a huge variety of different sports, specialising in freediving.

Born in Dunkirk, north of France, Franck's thirst for adventure led him to first join the Navy at the age of 17. Then his father-in-law, an amateur photographer, helped him discover photography. And quickly it became more than a hobby, into an all-consuming quest. A self-taught shooter, Franck began as a skiing photographer for a ski resort in the French Alps, before moving to Paris to work for a publishing house and make a series of books on various sports.

Franck spent the next 17 years working for three press agencies, starting by covering sport before broadening his focus to take on news, politics, and social issues. As Editor-in-Chief of the Photo Production department department at L'Équipe, the highly-respected daily French sports newspaper, he now manages a team of 10 staff photographers and a raft of freelancers.

Canon Ambassador Franck Seguin.


Location: Paris
Specialist areas: Sports, reportage
Favourite Kit:
Canon EOS-1D X Mark III
Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x
Canon EOS R5
Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM
Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Franck has covered all the major sporting events in his long career, and has specialised in in-depth sports features with a particular focus on freediving. He remains in demand for the quality of his work. Impeccable timing and the ability to keep a cool head in intense situations, along with his ability to build mood through the considered use of shadows and colour, elevate Franck's sports photography to an artistic level.

As well as being exhibited at many French photography festivals, Franck has twice won the Les Photographies De L'année photography prize. In 2007, he won first prize in the World Press Awards Sports Features category. And in 2016-2017, he was among the 170 photographers (current and historical) whose photographs were selected to be displayed at New York's Brooklyn Museum in its exhibition, Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History from 1843 to the Present.

A French lead ballet dancer warming up in the ornately decorated Foyer de la Danse of the famous Palais Garnier in Paris.
A French lead ballet dancer at the Paris Opera, Hugo Marchand, warming up in the Foyer de la Danse of the famous Palais Garnier in Paris. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM lens at 16mm, 1/200 sec, f/3.2 at and ISO1000. © Franck Seguin

Franck's passion for freediving photography continues to shine through, despite the risks that the sport poses to its participants and the photographers who document it. He has built close relationships with the champions of the sport, including former world record holder Loïc Leferme, also from Dunkirk, who tragically died in 2007. Franck was the only photographer allowed under the water for the entirety of Loïc's record attempts, and together the two men pushed the creative boundaries of freediving photography, with Franck sketching out his ideas above water and Loïc helping to realise them in the deep. The two were also among the first to shoot digitally underwater without the use of flash.

The breathtaking images he's brought back from the depths of the world's oceans have earned him significant acclaim. His photo of 24-year-old Guillaume Néry training for his attempt to break a world freediving record off the coast of Nice won him first prize in the Sports Feature category of the 2007 World Press Photo contest.

Leaning over a pinned opponent in the Octagon, a UFC fighter prepares to punch.
Georges Saint-Pierre takes on Carlos Condit in an Ultimate Fighting Championship bout at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X (now succeeded by the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III) with a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM (now succeeded by the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM) lens at 80mm, 1/1600 sec, f/2.8 and ISO3200. © Franck Seguin

In what ways has managing a team of photographers influenced your own work?

"As an Editor-in-Chief at L'Équipe, I put the team first and give my ideas, advice and opinion to the photographers I assign to jobs. As a photographer, I get my independence back! This is quite schizophrenic but very enriching."

To what extent do you pre-visualise pictures?

"I often have an idea of the picture I would like to take. In fact, I usually have several specific images in my mind, just like a storyboard, and I try to realise them. The trick is to avoid standing next to lots of other photographers. But if it is absolutely not possible, I trust in luck."

How do you prefer to customise your camera?

"I always have my camera set up the same way. One example of this is that I have the Al Servo AF 'case' settings as the go-to menu setting on the rear of the camera, and if I change that, I totally lose my bearings!"

Seen from above and behind a vivid orange clay court cut by shadows, a tennis player dives outstretched to make the shot.
France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (pictured) beats Poland's Jerzy Janowicz in a tennis tournament in Paris, France, 2014. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with a Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x lens at 200mm, 1/3200 sec, f/5.6 and ISO640. © Franck Seguin

How do you think the sports photography industry will develop in the next 5-10 years?

"The equipment will become lighter and more compact, it will stay connected to the cloud and offer voice control, enabling images to be transmitted even more easily than today."

What is the most useful piece of advice that you'd offer to sports photographers who want to raise their game?

"I think you have to draw your inspiration from others without imitating them. You need to express your personality and you have to be yourself. You have to have a point of difference. For instance, I might restrict myself to using just a 600mm lens to cover a football game in order to get different images."

Facebook: Franck Seguin
Instagram: @franckseguinphoto

One Thing I Know
Franck Seguin

"When you're working underwater, everything becomes more complicated. You have to concentrate on several things at the same time – the way you breathe, the way you swim, the way you handle a camera and lens inside underwater housing – and it makes everything that much more difficult. Your time is limited, so you absolutely need to prepare well for a dive and to have a clear vision of what you are going to do in terms of images. You can't afford to rely on luck being on your side."

Franck Seguin's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Canon Ambassador Franck Seguin's kitbag, containing his Canon cameras and diving kit.

Cameras

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III

The newest version of the camera Franck relies on. "My top piece of Canon kit!" Franck says. "An efficient and reliable camera, you can use it everywhere to shoot everything, from portraits to underwater action."

Lenses

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM

The professional's wide-angle lens with L-series optics, with a fast f/1.4 aperture, ideal for low light. Franck says it's "a versatile lens which I find unbeatable for shooting reportage."

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