How to take a photo at the Olympic Torch

The photo is the new souvenir. Throughout the park, people gather around and even stand in line to get a picture in front of the Olympic Rings, street performers, stadiums and Americans. But the most popular spot for pictures is the Olympic torch.

The Selfie

Without a doubt, we are in the decade of the selfie. MySpace, Facebook and Instagram have trained millennials in the art of taking pictures of themselves. At the torch however, it’s not just the millennials using the front-facing cameras on their iPhones.

A woman takes a selfie at the Olympic Torch. BSU at the Games/R. Floyd

A Russian woman holds up her phone to take a selfie with the Olympic caldron. BSU at the Games/Rebekah Floyd

Examples: a mom stretching arms in front of herself and smiling; a dad furrowing his brow in frustration that the button will not work; little sister sticking her tongue out and throwing up gang signs.

The iPad Photo

Maybe iPhones are too bulky or camera straps irritate neck skin, but the Olympic torch has seen more iPads than Steve Jobs did in his lifetime. The flat tablet can be easily stored in a briefcase or backpack, but mimicking Rafiki in the opening scene of “The Lion King” for a photo looks eerily similar to an attempt to contact aliens.

Olympic’s Next Top Model

Not everyone is Tyra Banks. Studying the reruns of “America’s Next Top Model” that play on Oxygen does not make every woman in the world an expert in fashion photography. Wearing high heels in the grass and contouring the body in awkward shapes may seem like a good idea until only two Facebook friends like your new profile photo. Stop smizing and start smiling.

Holding the flame

It’s been done a million times. Everyone wants a picture of the flame rising out of the palm of their hand, or them carrying the torch. It’s time to put the practice to bed. Start thinking outside the box and less like the Human Torch.

Examples: Tilt your head back, open your mouth and pretend to be Deanarys’s pet dragon; whip out a cigar and pretend to be lighting it; pour a bottle of water out over the top of the flame.

The Snapchat

Snapchat has taken the beauty of a selfie and turned it into a tragedy. A Snapchat can be spotted from a mile away. Unlike other people gathered in front of the torch, the snapchatters are contorting their faces, or making obscene gestures knowing the embarrassing photos will be lost in 10 seconds or less.

The Statue

Who doesn’t smile in a photo? Surprisingly, a lot of people don’t. The people walk up the torch smiling and excited, swivel around to face the camera, stick their hands in their pockets, drop the smile and switch to stoic face. They don’t say cheese, they don’t laugh, they do not pass go or collect $200. They stand without emotion.

The Senior Portrait

Olympic Park may be beautiful, but it is no place for a semi-professional photo. Laying stomach down in the grass with a cocked head resting on a fist may be cute in a studio or secluded daisy field. Not the Olympic Park. The torch may be a memento worth having in a senior picture but don’t forget the photobombers lurking in the background.

Examples: The duo of clowns using plungers to attack women; the drunk man passed out on the bench with half-full can of Baltsilva; the woman screaming through a megaphone, “Welcome to Olympic Park!”

National Pride

Grab the flags, scarfs, gloves, accordions, hats, jumpsuits, signs, athletes and even a mascot—it’s time to show everyone how much you love your country. Noisemakers and national anthems are a must in any photo. Actually, let’s stand in front of this other flag to show our dominance.


BSU at the Games is a freelance news agency operated by 41 student journalists reporting from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games through an immersive-learning program at Ball State University.



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