Since 1983, Andrew D. Bernstein has photographed and developed a unique personal rapport with the world’s leading professional athletes. Bernstein’s work frequently appears in magazines such as Sports Illustrated, ESPN, The Sporting News, Time, Newsweek and more. As the Senior NBA Photographer, Andrew has covered every NBA Finals and all major NBA events since 1982, as well as coverage of the 1992, 1996, 2000, 2008 and 2012 United States Olympic basketball teams.
As the LA Lakers, LA Clippers, and LA Kings veteran team photographer, this year Mr. Bernstein captured his 30th year of NBA playoffs, including every Lakers playoff series that Kobe Bryant has played in, and his 18th year of L.A. Kings playoffs, which culminated in their first Stanley Cup championship. Additional work on behalf of the Lakers includes Bernstein’s book documentary with former Lakers’ Head Coach Phil Jackson Journey to the Ring: Behind the Scenes with the 2010 NBA Champions.
Accolades for Mr. Bernstein include that he is among only four photographers whose work was selected for permanent exhibit in the media wing of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He will also be inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in April 2013.
Bernstein’s other recent projects include advertising campaigns featuring some of the world’s top athletes for Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Pepsi, Coca-Cola and Icy Hot. For more on Bernstein, visit his-
We were able to pull Andrew away from his busy schedule for a few moments for a little Q&A!
What is your most memorable moment shooting an NBA game?
There have been many in over 30 years, but if I had to pick one it would be shooting Michael Jordan hugging his first Championship trophy moments after his Bulls defeated the Lakers in the 1991 NBA Finals. He was sitting in a locker sobbing with his father next to him trying to console him while the pandemonium of the locker room was raging. Was a very special and poignant moment that Michael himself requested a print from me after his father was killed shortly after.
The LA Kings won their first ever Stanley Cup this year? What was that like for you after covering the team for so many years?
Andrew: Wow! What an awesome experience on many professional and personal levels. The Kings were the first professional team I covered while still attending Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA in 1979. I grew up a rabid NY Rangers fan as a kid and hockey was a special bond between my late father and I for many years. The Kings are the third team I have been the team photographer for that has won a championship–the Dodgers (1988), Lakers (8 times from 1985-2010) and now the Kings in 2012. It was very special and rewarding to see them raise the Stanley Cup on the Staples Center ice.
What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?
Andrew: Follow and work hard to develop your passion in photography. Whatever that may be–landscapes, people, kids, sports, news, product, fashion, etc. These days, anyone with a high priced DSLR and a couple of lenses considers themselves a “professional photographer”. What separates the true professionals is a relentless pursuit of what turns them on about photography. That leads to a development of a unique and personal style. Those aspects need to work together with a good nature and personality and some business knowledge to be a success in this business.
What inspires you as a photographer?
Andrew: Producing and creating images at the highest level of my capabilities. I still get excited before every game and photo shoot. I love being able to catch the action of a game or tell the story through my photos or produce a commercial shoot. It never gets tedious or boring.
Some athletes love to eat their Wheaties before a big game…what is your breakfast of choice before the big game?
Andrew: Breakfast is sometimes an after thought…but my lunch of choice is ALWAYS a club sandwich, especially on the road. That started back in the ’80’s.
What do you love about your Tamrac bags?
Andrew: Durability and functionality. I have had some of my Tamrac gear for 15-20 years and they are still going strong! Tamrac really understands the needs of the professional photographer. The storage and pockets are the perfect sizes for the cameras and lenses I use. I only use Tamrac camera straps because they have never failed me. My bags and cases have traveled all over the world many times. I depend on my Tamrac gear and it comes through.
What Tamrac gear do you use?
Andrew: My workhorse piece of Tamrac gear is my carry-on rolling bag. It is versatile and holds everything I need for many of my shoots. Plus it fits easily in the overhead compartment of every airplane so I never have to check it. I also have a couple of Tamrac shoulder bags, camera straps, strobe cases and stands bags.
Photo of Andrew D. Bernstein: ©Michael Bernstein
Shaq: ©Andrew D. Bernstein
Phil Jackson: ©Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
Yao Ming: ©Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
Mark Jackson: ©Andrew D. Bernstein
*The photos cannot be used or reproduced without permission of Andrew D Bernstein.