The primary role of the photojournalist is to be a visual storyteller. By photographing, editing, and presenting images, they tell a story in a way that no other media can. Some photojournalists will work for a local publication, while others will travel nationally or abroad, sometimes putting themselves in constantly changing or even dangerous situations. The subject matter can vary greatly, from local civic issues, national political races to social unrest in a foreign country. Many photojournalists are freelance photographers and sell their photos to various organizations around the world. The photographs serve the purpose of enhancing the story for the reader or viewer.
Photojournalists must be knowledgeable about the tools of the trade. They need to be able to use digital as well as print photography equipment, editing tools, and publication software. Because more than half of all photojournalists are self-employed, there is often no photo editor in the middle of the process. Therefore, a photojournalist must be able to set up the photo for top quality, edit it without changing the actual photograph or content, and upload it to the Internet for publication. Familiar with lighting, setting up for best exposure, and picture quality is critical for professional level photos. Timing is everything for a photojournalist, and they must have an eye for set up and the reflexes to grab that split-second opportunity.
Photojournalist Job Duties
The photojournalist is above all a story teller. Within that job description, the following duties can be expected:
- Take photographs or film video segments
- Process and print negatives or film
- Capture images in an authentic and ethical manner
- Write copy, captions or headlines to accompany photos
- Use image-editing software such as Photoshop to edit images
- Prepare audio to accompany video segments
- Pitch ideas and photographs to editorial staff
- Travel to photo shoot locations
- Edit photographs or video for publication specific to Internet