Creative Careers: Photojournalism

Creative Careers: Photojournalism

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

In your house, you probably have a lot of family pictures. You might have formal school or graduation pictures and your parents might have their wedding picture up on the wall. Maybe there are pictures of your relatives, of places that you have visited, and maybe pictures of your pets. These pictures tell the story of your life and the lives of your family members. Photojournalists are professional photographers who do the same kind of thing. Instead of telling their own stories, however, they tell other people’s stories through pictures. Whether they are telling the story of pleasant or unpleasant occasions, photojournalists help to let other people know about the events that are taking place around the world.

If you take pictures with your phone or camera, you are helping to record what has happened throughout your day. You might record ordinary events, such as a rabbit running across your path, or major events such as your brother or sister’s graduation. Photojournalists take pictures of all kinds of things, including cultural festivals, political events and even wars. Sometimes photojournalists work in very dangerous situations where they have to be very careful to keep safe, but at other times they work in very quiet places.

Working locations can also vary a lot for photojournalists. They might travel overseas to take pictures of a royal wedding. During that time, they would probably stay in a nice hotel and be well dressed to fit in with the crowd. They might also record a canoe trip across the country, spending their nights in tents and wearing jeans or shorts. Some people do photojournalism as a full-time career, but many of them are freelancers and might work at another job to earn money for their photography work.

Being able to take good pictures of various places and events is the most important requirement for photojournalists, but they also need much more. Depending on what kinds of pictures they take, they might need to be quite physically fit so that they can walk long distances and carry everything they need for their work. They need to be able to use different cameras and other equipment and to have the technical knowledge to set everything up for taking pictures. Most photojournalists need to know about darkrooms and different techniques for developing film. Although there is no standard educational requirement for photojournalists, some courses or a degree in photojournalism or in the fine arts could be useful.

Photojournalists work in many different places, but the most common employers are newspapers or magazines. Salaries vary between about $20,000 and $52,000 per year. Experience is the most important factor in becoming a photojournalist. If you like the idea of this type of work, you can already start taking pictures that you can put in your portfolio of samples that show your best work. You can start experimenting with different cameras and type of equipment. If you love telling stories through pictures, you can already start now on a future career as a photojournalist.

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