How to Become a Photojournalist

Photojournalists are professionals who use their skills to capture images of interesting and newsworthy people, issues, or events.

These professionals can specialize in documenting a specific theme such as celebrity news or can focus on international issues such as famine or war stricken countries.

Some professionals go out searching for newsworthy clippings of what’s going out in the world.

Their work is important in capturing memorable moments that will be remembered in the future.

These professionals don’t work the typical office job and are always on the lookout for capturing exciting new images for the world to see.

Because of frequent technological advances, a photojournalist may use several types of video cameras or multimedia computer tools to capture images and to share their work with the world.

Their work can appear in a myriad of journalistic outlets including television, newspapers, magazines, news websites and even social media platforms.

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People who want to become a Photojournalist and are interested in this kind of field may want to know that advancing in this field also requires investing time and money.

Photojournalists must have the means to invest money into buying their own equipment.

Some cameras can be quite expensive and can cost upwards of $5000.

Education Requirements to Become a Photojournalist

In addition to having natural talent, students who want to become a Photojournalist must seek an advanced degree in order to have a competitive background.

Candidates should have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree or similar background and training as well as have a portfolio of their best work.

Candidates who want to become a Photojournalist need training or a Bachelor’s degree in order to show employers that they have a technical background in photojournalism.

Many colleges and universities have a Photography program in which students learn a variety of information regarding the technical aspects of taking pictures.

They will also have the opportunity to work on their craft and expand their professional portfolio that will eventually help them secure employment.

Photography programs require students to take courses in photography equipment and techniques and the processes photographs take to get developed if being used in print media.

In addition, students may learn photography design and arrangement.

Because most photojournalists end up working as freelancers, students should learn some basic marketing and business skills to manage their contracting work.

Photojournalist Job Description

Photojournalists use their technical skills, creativity and photographic equipment to take high quality pictures that create a story in one snap.

Photojournalists can use many techniques including using different types of cameras, changing lighting, using different lenses or even trying a new position to capture the best looking photograph.

Photojournalists can position themselves in ways that produce the best picture, even if it means getting on all fours and snapping away from the ground in order to capture their subject.

If using a traditional camera, Photojournalists will develop their film in order to create a finalized image of their subject.

Pictures taken on a digital camera can be uploaded onto a computer and edited for final presentation.

One major component to a Photojournalist’s career advancement is the creation of a professional portfolio.

Photojournalists typically created a physical portfolio of their work, but with the advancement of technology, professionals are now able to create their own website to present their work to the world.

Portfolios are a great way for Photojournalists to find clients and book their schedules with work.

Photojournalist Salary and Career Path

The majority of Photojournalists work independently as freelancers and their income depends on the quantity of work they can find in a given year; exact wages will vary amongst freelance Photojournalists.
However, according to the bureau of labor statistics, the national median wage for professionals who are employed full time and are salaried is approximately $35,980 per year.

The salary range for these professionals is approximately $17,350 to $63,400 per year.

One factor that affects a freelance photojournalist’s take home income is the amount they have to pay for their own equipment.

Salaried Photojournalists are typically provided with borrowed materials and equipment.

This is a huge benefit over a freelance Photojournalist who spends their own money to acquire their own equipment and supplies.

Beginning a career as a Photojournalist may require some patience on the part of an aspiring professional.

Because this career sounds very lucrative to many individuals, competition is strong and many Photojournalists have to prove their skills and talent in order to build a strong career.

For those who are passionate about entering this field, all the work, portfolio building and passion might pay off in the long run.

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