Yannis Behrakis was born in 1960 in Athens, Greece. He studied photography in the Athens School of Arts and Technology and received his BA (Honours) from Middlesex University. He worked as a studio photographer in Athens in 1985-86. In 1987 he started a working relation as a contractor for Reuters and in late 1988 he was offered a staff job with the agency based in Athens. His first foreign assignment was in Libya on January 1989. Since then he documented a variety of events including the funeral of Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran, the changes in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, the wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo, Chechnya, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Afghanistan, Lebanon the first and second Gulf wars the Arab Spring in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. He has also covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for many years, earthquakes in Kashmir, Turkey, Greece and Iran and major news events around the world. He has also covered four Summer Olympics, the 1994 World Cup in the US and many international sports events. He has moved with Reuters in Jerusalem as the chief photographer for Israel and the Palestinian Territories in 2008/9. in 2010 he moved back in Greece to cover the financial crisis. He has taken part in group exhibitions in Athens, Thessaloniki, London, Edinburgh, New York, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid and Dubai while he has presented solo exhibitions as well.
In 2000, Yannis Behrakis has survived an ambush in Sierra Leone where the American reporter Kurt Schork and Spanish cameraman Miguel Gil Moreno de Mora of Associated Press Television were killed. He and South African cameraman Mark Chisholm managed to get away from the attackers. In 2016, he led A Thomson Reuters team to win the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography.
Pulitzer prize winner for breaking news photography in 2015
European News Photographer of the Year three times, by the European Fuji Awards (in 1998, 2002 and 2003)
News Photographer of the year 7 times by the Greek Fuji Awards Overseas Press Club of America photography award (1999)  1st prize in the General News Stories category, by the World Press Photo Foundation for his work on Kosovo (2000) 
- Botsis Foundation Award (2000) 
- The "Prix de Public", Bayeux-Calvados Awards for war correspondents for war correspondents, for his pictures of the liberation of Kabul (2002) also the jury and the Prix de Public in 2016 for the refugee crisis 
2004, 2009, 2013, 2014 and 2015 awards in the China International Press Photo Contest. 2012 award of excellence in Best of Photojournalism (BOP) in General news stories
- 2013 and 2015 awards in General news category of Pictures of the Year international (POYi) by the Missouri School of Journalism
- 2015-Photographer of the year by Guardian
2015-Photojournalist of the year by REUTERS
- 2015- Day's in Japan first prize.
- "Two journalists killed by RUF gunmen; two others wounded". CPJ. IFEX. 2000-05-25. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
- Ricchiardi, Sherry (2002). "Preparing for Battle". American Journalism Review. ajr.org (July/August 2002). Retrieved 2009-05-20.
- "Pulitzer prize 2016 for Breaking news Photography". Pulitzer Prize. The Pulitzer Prize.
- "Reuters photographer..." Kathimerini. ekathimerini.com. 2004-04-27. Archived from the original on 2015-11-25. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
- "1999, Yannis Behrakis, 1st prize, General News stories". archive.worldpressphoto.org. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
- "Prize-winners of the Bayeux-Calvados award since 1994". Bayeux-Calvados War Correspondents Prize. prixbayeux.org. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
- Biography note Yannis Behrakis's website