One of the most enriching fields of photography has to be photojournalism. Some of the most iconic pieces of photography come from the greatest minds of photojournalism. Alfred Eisenstaedt, photojournalism legend, may not be a popular name for most, but his image of an American sailor kissing a young woman in white will forever be etched in American history. An image of a woman weathered by life and her struggle remains one of the purest displays of emotion, and its photographer Margaret Bourke-White is considered one of the bravest photojournalists of our time.
Photojournalism is a field that any photographer must consider when entering a career in photography.
The idea is simple. Photojournalists tell stories with their images. They take a moment and capture it completely with the snap of a camera. They are as much journalists as the writers who bring together the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. In some cases, photojournalists have a harder job.
Photojournalists can make anywhere from $20,000 to $60,000 a year depending on the market they work in (bls.gov puts the annual salary of any given photographer at $29,130). Usually, photojournalists are tied to a writer. They collaborate with the writer to come up with the visual aspect of the story and are expected to take appropriate photos to work alongside the text of a story. Some photojournalists are given the freedom to create a photo collage to tell a story with only a few bits of text added on. Photojournalists also work with video shooting and editing to help tell the stories as well.
Writing is a big part of photojournalism. While a photojournalist is not expected to write 600 words about the subject matter of their photos, most photojournalists are tasked with writing captions for each photo. Photojournalists are also expected to follow the basic rules of journalism in their photography and caption writing. These tools become useful for photographers looking to expand their range in the photojournalism world.
A career jumping point for photojournalists appears in college, while they are learning their craft. Working for the college newspaper or small local independent newspapers and magazines are both steps into the industry. Photojournalists live and die by their credits in respected publications and the more you gather, the more reputable you become.
This blend of photography and writing is a unique and interesting field for young photographers. Photojournalism represents a method of publication for photography students, an opportunity for collaboration, and a mix of talents between the visual and textual worlds.
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