14th March 2023
Photojournalism may appear to be a ubiquitous commodity these days. Almost everyone has a phone and most phones have cameras. Also, modern phone cameras are highly effective in composing great photographs, which are worthy to publish in leading newspapers or even the home page of your website.
But a true photojournalist differs in many ways from a casual photographer. Photojournalism implies more than being in the right place at the right time. Basically, photojournalism is part of serious journalism. Its focus is on creating visual impact of a news story. If you are serious about this genre of photography, specialize in this field in photography school.
As a photojournalist, you must shoot every day. Don’t just shoot for an assignment, but be industrious in taking random shots.
You must take up classes in visual arts. Visit museums to get a direct glimpse of how artists catch and present aspects like depth of field, composition and lighting.
The time of serving as only a staff photographer attached to a news agency is over. You must set up multiple revenue streams, which include commercial and editorial work like fashion shoots and wedding photography.
A good photojournalist always plans ahead. You must know what you need in the future, so you have the right equipment or will look in the right direction, when something crucial happens. Rarely is photojournalism about catching unexpected events, but it is about portraying and seizing unexpected moments at planned events.
Even if you are not working for official assignments, you can plan ahead for any event in your city, which you think might have newsworthy opportunities. Pay attention to such events and consider who will offer you the most exciting visual opportunities.
A major part of photojournalism consists of waiting. When you are at a scene where you think something will happen, consider what and when is it to happen. You must pay constant attention. Search for visual details relevant to the viewer and capture photos at the critical moment. Never fear if you are not able to capture the single most critical moment. You can be satisfied with the second most opportune shot which is often equally attractive.
When you arrive at a newsworthy scene, set up your camera with care, for the exposure you require to correctly capture the light, such that viewers can perceive the subject of your photo. When the important moment happens, you must not be fiddling with the exposure meter. Nor must you settle for automatic exposure of your camera. The latter can obscure important details of the photos. A good photographer will like to adjust manual settings early on to capture the crucial moment when something happens.
A main benefit of using a high-resolution camera is to do cropping at the end, after shooting. The cropping helps to drive attention to critical details of the photo. Thus, you need to crop images around the subject that is critical. But do not use cropping that violates ethics of journalism. People trust journalists for the truth, so do not break that trust by excessive photo editing or cropping of photos.
These are some of the tips for being a good photojournalist.