Beginner's photojournalism can help you learn to capture the world's events through images.
About Beginner's Photojournalism
Just like regular journalists, a photojournalist needs to tell a story. Instead of using the written word, however, a photojournalist uses photographic images. In this case, the primary purpose of images is to add something special and concrete to media articles, breathing life into all methods of communication by creating a visual element that captivates the viewer.
There are many types of photojournalism. Sports photographers, newspaper photographers, and magazine photographers are just a few examples. Basically, if you're using your images to tell a story for the media, you are acting in a photojournalistic capacity.
If you want to become a photojournalist, the first thing you've got to do is gain the technical skills necessary in the field. You'll need a working knowledge of basic photographic skills, such as:
- Camera and lens mechanics
- Shot composition
- Depth of field
- Color science
- Film science and development
- Photo printing
If you're serious about this line of work, you should consider going to a school that will specifically train you in photojournalism. Editors and media outlets like to see classical training in a journalist's background before bringing them on full time. Here are a few schools you might consider attending:
- The Academy of Art in San Francisco has an extensive photography department that includes training in photojournalism.
- The New York Institute of Photography has both residential and online programs for those wanting to learn the craft of photojournalism.
Getting Out There
The main responsibility of a photojournalist is to capture current events and share what's going on in a way that only a visual image can. How do you get started? By taking lots of photos, of course. Once you've got the technical skills, you'll want to get as much practice shooting as possible. Even once you've become a seasoned photographer, you will still want to shoot constantly to keep your edge. Part of being a photojournalist is being ready to capture an image the second it happens, which means that you'll need your camera on you at all times.
Earth-changing events happen in a split second. If you're not ready to go on a moment's notice, you'll miss a lot of opportunities to share a story with the world - and your portfolio will suffer for it.
Learning from the Masters
A second, equally important way to move your photojournalist skills forward is to analyze the images of other photojournalists. Pour over photos that speak to you and tell a story in a compelling way. Look at all of the elements in the photo: How is the image framed? What part of the photo speaks to you? What does the image make you feel? Imagine how the photographer captured image, and what he or she had to do to be in that exact place, at that exact time. Then go out and make your own images, keeping in mind all that you've observed from your predecessors. Every event has an opportunity for a story-telling photo; you just need to know how to extract it from the situation. This is why you must practice as much as you can.
Here are some very famous photojournalists whose work has made a major impact in the world:
If you want to learn more, here are some valuable links to aid you in your research: