Understanding Photojournalism: What It Is and How to Begin


Among a bunch of various photography categories, Photojournalism is a popular and powerful genre. In terms of its characteristics, it’s also a challenging journey to become a professional photojournalist compared with other areas of photography. It tells the untold story of an incident to explore the real news to the world. Photojournalists take photographs and educate people about their captured events. They do it in a creative and artistic way to represent the scenario. After all, it’s an art that motivates us to see things differently.

Table of Contents

What is Photojournalism?

Ethics of Photojournalism

How To Become A Photojournalist

Famous Photojournalists and Their Iconic Works

To Wrap Up

What is Photojournalism?

While it’s about expressing Photojournalism definition, it refers to the art of photography that focuses on presenting real-life stories through images. In other words, it’s a kind of journalism where the outcome is gained with the help of a camera and thinking capability of the photographer rather than using pen and paper likely news and investigative journalists. In terms of technical and artistic characteristics of this genre, it’s far more than the photographic representation of reality. Not only for showing the views of social injustices, but it has also some ethical values that help to change the world.

Ethics of Photojournalism

No doubt, photojournalism has a great impact on society. So, the ethical elements should be strictly maintained before publishing on media. Let’s learn the code of ethics in short.

  • Don’t forget to verify the sources.
  • Publish the truth without staging and tempting.
  • Let the editors know the information to avoid wrongful use.
  • Don’t make manipulation of images before publishing.
  • Avoid removing elements of the picture.
  • Never focus on a one-sided story that might have something else behind this.

How To Become A Photojournalist

So, how to be a photojournalist? Well! It’s essential to follow a set of guidelines if you want to build a career as a photojournalist. Let’s go through the points below so that you get a clear idea about this.

  • Learn the Fundamentals First

Your photographs will tell the story and have the ability to make some changes in society. So, it needs a lot of preparation and hard work before starting professionally. You must have the knowledge of photography gear, safety kits, lighting, ethics, and many more. Apart from the technical skills, photographers should know the place along with the people around it. As a photojournalist, you may have to work in different conditions and times. Also, learn about the legal issues in utilizing the photos in different publications. Furthermore, you may have to take any project to hand it without the help of others. So, a strong mind setup to work alone is also important.

  • Build A Strong Portfolio

In every profession, the portfolio creates an extra value. It defines how much professional you are and the way you present your best works. Do upload your iconic captions rather than hundreds of photos that are less important to you. You can summarize them into several categories to let the editors understand your talents in different sectors. Always ensure the quality over quantity to showcase professionalism, especially when you are a beginner in the field. In this case, create a personal site with a brandable name or by your name and give detailed information about you. State your journey to become a photojournalist and achievements. Don’t forget to put multiple ways to contact so that clients can offer for a project or job.

  • Try for Internships

To gain experience professionally from the industry experts, internships have no alternatives to strengthen your resume. Although you won’t be paid enough at this time, it will add great value in the near future to build up your career. It also increases the opportunity to prove yourself. The best way is to apply in multiple places, including magazines, newspapers, and other media through any job portal or professional network. You can also try to get recommendations from your professors.

  • Protect Yourself

As a professional photojournalist, you may often face some tough and dangerous situations in your journey. In many cases, you might need to capture the war, protest, or pandemic scenes. Don’t forget to follow the safety precautions to continue your tasks smoothly. Like now in the COVID-19 situation, the photo artists are doing jobs keeping their lives at high risk. So, it’s truly essential to keep yourself protected with the necessary accessories for ensuring maximum safety.

  • Don’t Be Afraid To Talk & Capture People

Everyone has their stories and you have to find out those through verbal communication. The more you relate to people, the more you will create opportunities to capture new stories to describe. As a beginner, you may face obstacles and feel uncomfortable. But, it can bring something amazing that you might not think of. And, don’t forget that people are great subjects in any photography and it creates quick attention to the audience.

  • Communicate With Journalists and Photographers

While learning, building strong communication with industry professionals helps to start a successful career. In modern times, it’s been easier to connect with famous photographers or editors through social media or other applications. To get the pro tips in the regarding field and inspiration as well, it really works well. Besides these, it’s also a great thing to be a part of the community where you belong.

  • Keep Patience and Do Hard Work

Being a successful photojournalist, it takes time, passion, and dedication. And, it doesn’t come in a day. You must be a hard worker and learner. In many cases, editors may not give any impression or inspiration. Don’t lose hope and stay determined. Keep an eye on the great captions by industry professionals. It helps to learn and discover some new things. Also, focus on writing eye-catchy captions for the image. It creates a huge difference between you and other photographers. Not necessarily, you have to go far always to capture stories. Sometimes, you will find the elements around you to make history.

  • Pick the Right Gear

photography gear

As we mentioned Photojournalism as a challenging profession, you must bring basic equipment to carry on your activities in different environments. The essential gear includes the best lenses, image storage cards, flash modifiers, external hard drives, gadget bags, microphones, etc. Also, you will require a tripod while capturing photos at low-light and tough conditions.

  • Explore Your Projects

Not only preparing a strong portfolio is enough nowadays to survive in the industry. It needs to explore your projects in various platforms and social media to get attention from clients. So, find out the sources like websites, magazines, and news media and send your best projects. Also, try to attend some photo contests. It can be a great medium to focus your talent globally.

  • Stay Away of Unethical Photojournalism

Being ethical is a must thing in the way of Photojournalism. Countless unethical activities are seen in the present times only for fame and money. Misrepresentation of any incident or news has been a common and regular fact through various media. Don’t involve in unethical photojournalism and try to stay ethical from the beginning of your career in this genre. Treat the subjects with respect while shooting them. Always try to maintain the code of ethics and focus on providing the real scenario to the world without staging.

Famous Photojournalists and Their Iconic Works

Here, we’ve come to let you introduce some of the well-known photojournalists who have a lot of achievements for their iconic images. Their stories have been placed in various international media and got huge attention. Let’s discover some of them below with examples.

  • Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson- Photojournalism

Henri Chartier-Bresson, recognized as a master of candid photography and also in other categories of photojournalism. He captured a lot of great stories in different corners of the world, including the US, Canada, China, Japan, and many more.

  • Albert Eisenstaedt

Albert Eisenstaedt

Albert Eisenstaedt was a famous German photojournalist and achieved prominence in the genre for his great works, especially for the war captions. Some of his notable pictures are likely V-J day in Times Square, Ice Skating Waiter, Mother and child in an Atomic Wasteland, etc.

  • Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange was a famous American photojournalist and documentary photographer. She earned a Photography degree at Columbia University and worked in several studios at the beginning of her career. She captured many pictures of social awareness, rural poverty, and relationships of humanity.

  • Nora Lorek

Nora Lorek

Nora Lorek is one of the talented and youngest faces in the area of photography. She was born in Germany and holds a BA degree in Photojournalism. Lorek worked on several documentary projects and explored the many heart-touching stories.

 To Wrap Up

The online and offline world- both have been changed a lot and they are being discovered in creative ways with the help of media. The ways photojournalists are showing the reality and stories behind an incident are beyond the thinking in many cases. Thus, Photojournalism has a great impact on society, and its increasing day by day. The only thing to remember is that the artists who work in this genre must be sincere in taking care of the ethical values with professionalism. Then, we may dream of a true and beautiful world in the near future.