* There are 30 staff photographers at The Washington Post. The Post sends photographers to wherever news is happening. For instance, photographer Michael Robinson-Chavez is now in Iraq.

* Every day Post photographers receive photo assignments, written instructions telling them what pictures are needed and where they need to go to take them.

* Five photo assignment editors work with word editors and reporters to decide what photos are needed. After the photos are shot and developed, photo editors go through the film to pick the best ones.

* Each photographer has $10,000 in camera equipment. About 60,000 rolls of film are shot at The Post each year. That's 34 miles of film, enough to stretch halfway around the Beltway.

* About 80 percent of the photos are shot on film that is developed at The Post. It's easier to look through film negatives than to look at digital thumbnails. But when deadlines are tight, like at a nighttime sporting event, digital cameras are used and the images transmitted electronically. Soon, about half the photos will be shot digitally.

* Post staff photographers each have about 450 photos published each year. If you see a credit line under a photo that reads "FILE PHOTO," that means it's an older one from The Post files. It wasn't taken especially for the story it accompanies.

* Most photographers keep their cameras nearby, even if they're not scheduled to work. They never know when something important might happen.

Washington Post

photographer

John McDonnell.