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What is a Photojournalist?

By Garry Crystal
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A photojournalist uses pictures instead of words to tell a story. This type of journalist has a skilled professional eye that is able to interpret an event or subject and communicate meaning through photographs. A photojournalist may also use words to help narrate the pictures he or she has taken.

Magazines, newspapers, and books can all make use of the work of a photojournalist. Sometimes, an entire book is dedicated to the work of a particular photographer. It is also not unusual for a photojournalist to hold exhibitions of his or her work. A lot of photojournalists specialize in a particular field, such as portraits, war, celebrities, or world events. The photographs themselves should be newsworthy, as that is how the majority of photojournalists make their living.

There are a large number of employment areas available to the photojournalist, including print, television, and the Internet. If one is talented enough, one can command huge fees for his or her work. Hard to get photographs, such as those taken in dangerous war zones, are much in demand.

The photojournalist is usually passionate about his or her work. Photojournalism is considered by many to be an art. These photographers are highly trained and able to see a picture that the untrained or untalented eye may simply pass over. They should also have a good sense of timing and a great eye for detail.

Much of the work undertaken by the photojournalist is freelance. The competition in this field is intense, so training is usually essential. Many photojournalists have some form of photography or media degree. They may move on to working in photo agencies or working as photographers for local newspapers or magazines.

The technical aspects of photojournalism have changed in recent years. Digital photography has become more popular, although die hards still maintain that 35mm photography is superior. With digital photography, the picture can be taken and then sent via email to be published almost instantly.

Photojournalism is seen by some as very exciting career. Traveling to exotic locations in order to take the perfect picture sounds very glamorous. However, photojournalism can be extremely hard work, and the person who chooses it as career should be dedicated. There is no guarantee for the beginner that his or her work will be bought. The hours can be long and irregular, and the entry-level salary is only around 15,000 US dollars (USD).

Whether an established or trainee photojournalist, one has the chance to change the way people see the world. There is also the opportunity to show images and pictures that have never been shown before. As with many artistic careers, the rewards of photographic journalism may not all be monetary.

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Discussion Comments
By anon87745 — On Jun 01, 2010

i want to be a freelance photojournalist. give me some more info.

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