The photo with the caption, "The President reacts as John Brennan briefs him on the details of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.," is part of a new collection of White House photos released.
The poignant photo snapped by White House staff photographer Pete Souza on December 14, shows Obama, solemn and grim-faced, his arms and legs crossed, head lowered mournfully, while leaning back on a couch.
The president would later say that the Newtown shooting was the "worst day" of his presidency. Twenty first-graders were killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School when Adam Lanza, 20, broke into the school building and shot 26 people, including six adult staff members.
He is believed to have turned the gun on himself after the police arrived.
In televised remarks later in the day, Obama said: "The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own."
The Sandy Hook shooting re-ignited a national debate about the contribution of lax gun control laws to gun violence in the US, with many gun owners resisting with arguments most Americans advocating for stricter gun control laws consider specious.