If you are interested in a career in photojournalism, chances are you are pursuing a passion. Many will supplement their income with commercial work, selling their photographs to stock agencies, or side work. For example, you may opt to do family or school portraits. It is important to begin building a strong portfolio or a blog to showcase your best work and use social media outlets to get the word out and link to your work.
According to payscale.com the beginning salary for an entry-level photojournalist is typically around $21,000 per year. You have the chance to increase that pay with hard work, diligence, education, and training. The Internet has opened up a whole new world for the photojournalist and a different approach to photojournalism careers in general.
With more than half of all adults getting their news online or from a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet, it’s critical that today’s photojournalist have the know-how and skills to publish in an online environment. Pursue a photojournalism degree and take courses in digital photography or web design, as well as courses in editing programs such as Photoshop. Courses on publishing your photographs and content to the Internet will also be helpful so that you’re sure you have what it takes to cut it in today’s world. Begin by requesting information from the journalism schools listed here.
Factors in Photojournalist Salary
Most publications will require a bachelor’s degree in photojournalism. The skills and training provided in such a program prepare you for the workforce in a way that experience alone sometimes can’t. A minor in journalism or related field is usually recommended. Self employed, or freelance, photojournalists should also consider business and entrepreneurship courses. A self-employed journalist also needs coursework to understand copyright laws and journalism law in order to protect themselves from libel.
It is critical for a budding photojournalist to build up a portfolio. Take pictures every day, everywhere you go, and publish them wherever possible. Volunteer to take pictures at local events or throughout your community and publish your photos on your website. Or consider offering them to your local newspaper. You may not get paid, but you’ll get published. You’ll also want to seek feedback from your audience regarding your photographs. You must be passionate about your work, and consider that a good photojournalist should always be looking for ways to improve.
Small or midsize markets tend to pay less, but are sometimes a required step for the photojournalist fresh out of college. It can be very difficult to get hired on at a major publication or in a large metropolitan area, but it you start out small, you can use the experience as a resume builder.
To be competitive in a highly sought after field, you must have the skill set necessary to set you apart from the rest. Pursue education not only in print and digital photography, but in audio and video as well. It is often not enough anymore for a good photojournalist to be able to take quality photographs. News publications need captions or copy to go with their photographs, and many now also include video clips on their websites. Cross train on every type of media. The ability to write, edit, and publish in a variety of media will only help in your search for employment.