A behind-the-scenes look at the CNN Republican debate

  • Rick Santorum departs from Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum after the CNN Republican Debate for lower-polling Republican presidential candidates concluded on Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. 
  • Debate staffers hold up signs for lower-polling Republican presidential candidates after their portion of the CNN Republican Debate concluded at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. 
  • Republican presidential candidates conclude a photo op before the CNN Republican Debate begins at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. 
  • Republican presidential candidates line up for a photo op before the CNN Republican Debate begins at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. 
  • Republican presidential candidates Dr. Ben Carson, Donald Trump and Jeb Bush line up for a photo op before the CNN Republican Debate begins at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif.
  • Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is seen on screen inside the CNN Republican Debate press filing room at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif.
  • Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson is surrounded by reporters after arriving at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif.
  • Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson smiles as he arrives at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. 
  • Carly Fiorina and Dr. Ben Carson greet as they arrive at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. 
  • Carly Fiorina waves to reporters as she arrives at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. 
  • Candidate Chris Christie arrives at the CNN Republican Presidential Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. 
  • Pollster Frank Luntz talks to reporters before the CNN Republican Presidential Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. 
  • Former Sen. Trent Lott talks to reporters at the CNN Republican Presidential Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. 
  • Former Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) talks to reporters at the CNN Republican Presidential Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. 
  • A portrait of Ronald Reagan hangs by an entrance to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. 
  • Reporters wait for candidates to arrive outside Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. 
  • Reporters are seen through an American flag before the 2015 CNN Republican Presidential Debate in Simi Valley, Calif. on Sept. 16, 2015.
  • A portrait of Ronald Reagan hangs in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. on Sept. 16, 2015.
  • An image of Franklin D. Roosevelt hangs on a light post in front of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. on Sept. 16, 2015.
  • A police officer leads a dog outside the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library ahead of the 2015 CNN Republican Presidential Debate in Simi Valley, Calif. on Sept. 16, 2015. 
  • An attendee takes a selfie at the 2015 CNN Republican Presidential Debate in Simi Valley, Calif. on Sept. 16, 2015.
  • Republican presidential hopeful Gov. John Kasich practices his golf swing before the 2015 CNN Republican Presidential Debate in Simi Valley, Calif. on Sept. 16, 2015.
  • A sign outside the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library welcomes the GOP candidates before the 2015 CNN Republican Presidential Debate in Simi Valley, Calif. on Sept. 16, 2015.

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Given just how much has changed in the GOP race after the first debate and given the upcoming end to the fundraising quarter (Sept. 30), the pressure is on for the 11 Republican candidates to perform Wednesday’s Republican primary debate in California. 

Moments like these, before debates, are crucial to the candidates, who must retain their confidence throughout the night, which is already built for tension. Until the candidates make their way toward the stage, members of the press exploit these brief moments and will often swarm any available candidate. 

We asked notable Redux photographer Mark Peterson to shoot the lively “photospray” that happened before the debates began. He watched the presidential hopefuls arrive with anticipation, ready to talk to journalists about any matter under the hot Californian sun. 

For more feature photography, go to msnbc.com/photography

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