Careers in Photojournalism: News Photographer

Institute for Career Research

Careers in Photojournalism: News Photographer
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Careers in Photojournalism: News Photographer

Institute for Career Research

FOR PHOTOJOURNALISTS, A PICTURE really is worth a thousand words and if the image is good enough it can be worth a nice payday as well. In this very visual world, photojournalism is the new frontier in news gathering and reporting. Photojournalism tells a story in photos or video that makes people feel as though they are right in the middle of the action. The public’s demand for visuals from the scene of a major news story is greater now than it has ever been before in the history of journalism. Breaking news with visuals rules the day. This is not a business for a shrinking violet. A news reporter writing a story may be able to stay a relatively safe distance from the fray. Photojournalists, on the other hand, rarely have that luxury, and when debris or bullets fly through the air, those recording the visuals of the events taking place are often in harm’s way. It is an exciting but, at times, a dangerous way to make a living. Photojournalists need all the talents associated with great news reporting, plus the creative flair of an artist, an eye for the visual that says it all. These journalists with cameras have to understand what news is and find that special visual that expresses the emotion of the story that goes way beyond words. Photojournalists are always looking for the wow factor, a visual jaw dropper. Like a reporter who makes a living with words, photojournalists must always be on the hunt for the exclusive - the photo and story nobody else can get. So no story can be too small or too big. As a photojournalist, you have to be able to handle all the stories that come your way and present them in a manner that sets your work apart from that of others in the field. You need a different angle, a different take, an individual style. Elite photojournalists preserve the moment the way others only wish they could. This takes years of practice, developing your technique, sharpening your skills, studying the work of great photojournalists and taking photo after photo after photo, or hours of video and editing it down to exactly what you want. Great photojournalists do get lucky at times, but more often than not experience guides them to the right place at the right time. They see within an emerging story that moment developing for a moving, telling, even rare visual, and position themselves to get it. This is a business that affords few second chances. The images you capture may become iconic and may be seen by generations to come. One day you may be taking pictures of the rich and famous, drinking champagne at a charity opening. The next day your subject might be a homeless child on the street. Everything you do has to ring with originality. Your work has to be fresh, exciting, and push the envelope, challenging the next generation of photojournalists to try to eclipse it.

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