For the past century, photojournalists have captured the emotions of our times. We were able to feel the joy of the end of WWII when we saw the now infamous photo of the sailor stealing a kiss in Times Square. We felt the pride of a nation when the soldiers raised the flag at Iwo Jima. Images of devastation flooded our senses as we witnessed the destruction of the Japanese tsunami through photographs.
If you love telling stories through pictures, then pursuing a photojournalism career may be for you. Photojournalism will put you in the heart of protests, disasters, wars, and a rapidly changing political environment. Famous photographs published by such prestigious institutions as National Geographic, Life, or the New York Times have helped to put an emotional framework around the events that have shaped our times.
News photos must be timely, unbiased, and an accurate representation of the news story. To be an impactful visual storyteller, you must be able work in a variety of media, as well as be able to meet deadlines and work in a fast-paced environment.
— Getty Images (@GettyImages) December 1, 2014
Pursuing a photojournalism degree will help give you the necessary skill set to secure a job in this rewarding field. Instructors who act as coaches can provide you the necessary feedback and direction to take your photography to a whole new level.
Request information from several journalism schools to ensure a right fit for you.
Photojournalism Jobs Outlook
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for photojournalists is said to be about average, with a 7-13% increase between now and 2018. The median annual salary as of 2008 was $29,440.00. While there may be stiff competition for jobs, the use of the Internet has made it easier for freelance photographers to market their photos.
Photojournalism and the New Media
The digital era has revolutionalized the way photographs are taken and published. No longer does a photojournalist have to wait until their photograph goes to print. Technological savvy is critical for today’s journalists to stay in front of the story. Here, freelance photojournalists may have the edge in being able to market their photographs immediately after any given event. Courses in photography, new media, web design, graphic arts, and visual communications can help you get the education you need to gain the edge on the competition in a constantly evolving work environment.
Jobs in Photojournalism
There are a variety of photojournalism careers available. All require a creative eye and technical savvy, and you will benefit from a basic liberal arts education available from the schools listed on our site. Assess your skills and interest, and check out the curriculum at a variety of schools to see which you may be best suited for. Career options include:
- newspaper photographer
- magazine photographer
- layout editor
- documentary filmmaker
- web designer
- graphic artist
- video editor
- multimedia journalist
- freelance photojournalist
Photojournalism Career FAQ’s
How do I get Started?
Take lots and lots of pictures! Become familiar and comfortable with your camera and the software available to you, then submit your photographs wherever possible. Try entering photography contests, or take a job photographing your cousin’s wedding. Seek feedback for your photographs. Host your own website to display them. License the use of your photographs through stock photo agencies. Internships are also available to photojournalists, and help get you away from a desk and into the outside world.
What Equipment Will I Need?
To get started, a digital camera and a computer are a must. There are numerous programs available for beginners, some of which may come standard with your computer or camera. Some photojournalists will work in print, in which case the equipment and knowledge to develop your own photos can be helpful. Other photographers will work in both film and digital. Software is widely available to use in editing and publishing photos. With the emergence of smart phones, the ability to take quality photographs is even more widely available to the novice photographer.
What Courses Should I Take to Pursue a Photojournalism Career?
Since technical knowledge is a must, take a variety of computer courses as well as photography classes. Web design, videography, editing, creative design, and digital photography are some of the classes that could benefit you. It may also be beneficial to take some business courses, as more than half of photojournalists are self-employed.