Photojournalism is a field which many photography students aspire to enter. Is it right for you? And if it is, how can you get started working on it? Here is a general guide with plenty of tips to help you get started on this career path, with everything you need to know about photojournalism.
How to become a Photojournalist?
Photojournalism jobs may be getting thinner on the ground, as the modern era means that more people have smartphones and are able to capture events themselves. It’s cheaper for a publication to accept reader images than to pay a salary to a photojournalist, but that doesn’t mean that it is impossible to get hired in this field.
It’s probable that photojournalism jobs will always be around. There’s a certain skill set which not everyone has the ability to capture and frame great images under pressure, optimizing the exposure and other settings, as well as standing your ground and taking the shots even in dangerous situations.
For this reason, civilians with smartphones will never replace photojournalists. It just takes a bit more tenacity to get into it. The first thing you need to do in order to start your career is to improve your skills. You can practice going to local events, like sports games, protests or community fairs. Take images at these sites with the eye for putting them alongside news stories. You should also study papers and magazines, both in print and online, to see what kind of work is getting published.
If you think you have something worth publishing, you can approach a publication to see if they will pick it up. It’s up to you whether you charge for your first image or try to get it placed for free in order to begin your portfolio of clips.
After that, it’s all about continuing to pitch. The more you pitch, the more chances you have of getting paid for your work. Start going to where things are happening, and build a network of contacts with people in publishing. Get the email addresses for picture editors and learn what kind of content they publish.
You can also keep an eye out for staff positions, though you will need a portfolio to demonstrate your skill if you want to win a permanent photojournalism job. These are few and far between, so competition will be high. You may also choose to stay freelancer if this suits you better.