A photojournalist is simply a visual storyteller who can creatively tell us a story or give news not through a text but through using photographs that are sometimes accompanied by headlines or captions for more illustration. It may seem easy for you to become a photojournalist thinking that you just need to know how to capture photographs, but this is completely wrong. As a photojournalist, you need to be in the right place at the right moment, know how to professionally take photos and edit them, use publication software for uploading your photos to the internet, use digital and print photography equipment and you may also need to travel to other places inside and outside the country.
There are photojournalists who work for local publications, while there are others who need to travel to other places around the world to find themselves in different or completely dangerous situations for the sake of capturing the right moment and covering political races, civic issues, social unrest in different foreign countries and more. If you are new to the world of photojournalism and want to discover more about it, take a look at the following top 10 tips to become a successful photojournalist.
1 Choose a good photojournalism school
Having a degree in photojournalism or at least taking a few courses is a necessity to discover more about photojournalism. So, the first thing that you have to do to become a photojournalist is to look for a good photojournalism school. There are too many great schools from which you can choose what suits you such as SPÉOS, Boston University, Central Michigan University, Ohio University, Randolph Community College and Western Kentucky University, just to name a few.
2 Try to be curious
Curiosity is hated and believed to be a bad thing since it causes many problems and harms us, but for you, it will be highly essential. Walking in the streets, talking to people and asking questions will inspire you and help you discover numerous unique story ideas that are really different from others and will allow you to quickly impress editors.
3 Photograph people & actions
As previously mentioned, a photojournalist is a visual storyteller who documents what is happening around us and the best way to do this is to focus on photographing people and actions. Focusing on how people are affected by different events and how they react to what is happening around them is more important than photographing other things which do not have the ability to explain what is happening.
4 Learn how to write good captions
Photojournalism is not just about capturing photographs for documenting different events and telling stories, you also need to learn how to write good captions. In order to write accurate and clear captions, you have to collect all the possible information about your photographs and get the facts that can make your work unique.
5 Imitate professional photojournalists
In order to become a successful photojournalist, you have to look at what is done by those professional photojournalists who managed to achieve great success and are well-known for their impressive work. You can learn too many things by following professional photo and art journalists, looking at their published work and imitating them. You have to pay attention to all what they do starting from the simplest things such as carrying a pen and notebook for writing names and notes to the way they capture their photographs.
6 Remain unnoticed
If you want to capture natural scenes that are really impressive, then you have to remain unnoticed for all of those people whom you photograph. Capturing natural scenes requires learning how to use natural light for shooting pictures without resorting to using other sources of light or even flashes.
7 Prepare yourself to travel
There are many photojournalists who work for local newspapers and magazines but this does not mean that all the photojournalists are the same. You may need to travel to other places around the world to capture your photographs, cover different events and look for unique story ideas especially if you are still a beginner and want to impress editors.
8 Try to get your work published
In order to get your work seen by others and to be noticed as a photojournalist, you have to try to get your work published. There are many ways through which you can publish your work such as creating your own website or blog, resorting to other websites that display the work of amateur photographers, asking someone in a position to help you publish your work or emailing photo editors directly to show your work to them.
9 Copyright your work to protect it
It is highly important to protect your work and prevent others from copying or redistributing it without prior written permission from you. For protecting your work, you must copyright it and you should not also forget your old photographs that you captured in the past even if they are not as good as the ones which you capture now.
10 Do not give up
It is not easy to quickly become a successful photojournalist and get your work published in newspapers and magazines since it takes time and requires exerting a huge effort to finally get what you want and achieve great success. For this reason, you should not think of giving up early and try to improve your skills, take your photography to a higher level, continue calling or emailing editors from time to time, present unique story ideas and choose the best of your photographs to impress editors.