Two Million Photos: Eight Years Photographing President Obama

In his eight years photographing the president, Pete Souza has taken an estimated two million photos. In that time, he has seen the president as a leader, a family man, and a human being, documenting not only his time in office, but much of his personal life as well. Souza's perspective on his work is both fascinating and enlightening.

Pete Souza's resume is a mile long. In addition to being the Chief Official White House Photographer for President Obama and Director of the White House photo office, he has been a photography professor, national photographer for the Chicago Tribune, a freelancer for National Geographic, and was also the Official White House Photographer for President Reagan. He has arguably had more access to the president than any other person in the world besides his family, and in that time, he has gotten to know Obama in a way few have. In the video above, he shares not only his take on his time with the president, but the unique challenges that come with being charged to document the work and personal life of one of the important people in the world. After all, who else spends every day with their subject for eight years? It's a remarkable job.

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Rob Mynard's picture

I would love to see a full documentary on Pete after Obamas presidency closes.

Alex Cooke's picture

You and me both!

stir photos's picture

I agree, would be very interesting to hear insights and thoughts regarding both his documentary and the photos themselves... I mean, that's part of the love of photography is seeing the differences in generations. But at that security clearance level, both what was allowed to be shot as well as what was socially aware and/or important of the different eras I'd find interesting.

Jordan Powers's picture

I don't mean to shamelessly plug anything here, but I interviewed Pete on the Hashtagged Podcast (I interview Instagram community members - including's own Andy Griswold!). He talks, in depth, about these things and a lot about how he uses Instagram to document. It is fascinating. If you want to listen, you can at

Lloyd Grace's picture

I would consider that assignment as 'cruel and unusual punishment'

Reggie Hughey's picture

Which is why you'll NEVER have the privilege.

Lloyd Grace's picture

How is cruel and unusual punishment a 'privilege'?????

michael buehrle's picture

i'm not a obama fan but it would be a pretty sweet gig to get. i would love to do that for trump, what a adventure that would be.

minh insixiangmy's picture

Shooting everything for eight years and you cant delete photos; since they are a matter of public record. Yeah , I can see two million clicks.