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Tim Broekema: The Best Shot is Yet to Come


Tim Broekema is a former sports photo editor for the Chicago Tribune and sports photographer for Getty Images. Broekema currently teaches photojournalism at Western Kentucky University. He is an award-winning photojournalist, cinematographer, and video producer. 

He was the Vanguard’s first guest speaker of the spring semester at the University of North Georgia. Broekema talked about his newspaper days, his business as a freelance photographer, and what it takes to succeed in this profession.

When they were first married, Broekema and his wife lived on the road for a combined 45 days a month in a hotel room.

It was not until college that he got his first image published. Over the years, he became an award-winning photojournalist. 

His greatest accomplishments were working for the Chicago Tribune and Showtime as well as when he won Educator of the Year.

He goes on to say that before you can do all of that, you have to decide what journey you want to go on. Broekema states, “This business is about exploring the different areas and avenues you can dive into.” 

During the course of the early 1990s, the photojournalist lived on the east coast when Hurricane Bob hit right near his house. He says this is when he finally started understanding the power of photojournalism and making people care about the work that he does for a living.

Through his lens, he captured the iconic moments of Michael Jordan’s rise to fame. Broekema spent a lot of time working on large-scale assignments and eventually started covering major sporting events worldwide.

When asked what his favorite photo is, Broekema said it’s equivalent to being asked who his favorite child is.

“My favorite picture has not been shot yet, there is always a better one coming.”- Tim Broekema 


The 1994 Olympic games were truly a dream come true for him. He went on to win Sports Photographer of the Year in magazines and newspapers.

2022 will be his 25th year shooting the Kentucky Derby. Broekema shoots between nine and 12 cameras in the race. The cameras are fired remotely via different mechanisms. One of them is a seismic sensor buried in the track, so whenever the horses shake the ground, it fires the camera.

Broekema was asked if he had any photography influencers, he replied “Yes, Stephanie Chambers who works for Getty and came out of Pittsburgh. Her sports photography just blows me away.”

He thinks the most important piece of advice in regards to the success of this industry is hard work, determination, and vision. He said, “Have a vision and dream big.”

All photos by Tim Broekema.

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Tim Broekema: The Best Shot is Yet to Come