If you have an artistic eye and are really good with a camera, a career as a photojournalist may be the perfect choice for you. Photojournalists use their knowledge and ability to compose quality photos and videos for news stories that will engage and educate their readers.
Photojournalism is the art of telling a story through the use of images. The images can be photographs or video. The field of photojournalism is very competitive and most photojournalists have a bachelor's degree in photojournalism, journalism, or photography. Although you can become a photojournalist without earning a formal degree, a degree program will expose you to a variety of technical skills, allow you to build a portfolio under the guidance of your instructor, and present numerous networking opportunities via internships, workshops, and school organizations.
Once you arrive at college, you will receive instruction in photo editing software and elements of photography and videography, such as composition, framing, rule of thirds, and lighting. You will also take courses in writing, ethics, and law as they relate to journalism. It goes without saying that creativity, some technical knowledge, and proficiency with digital software are needed to become a successful photojournalist. You must also know and respect the law as it relates to your profession.
Most colleges offer internships or capstone projects where seniors have the opportunity to work within the industry. Many of these internships and capstone projects result in permanent employment opportunities once a student graduates. Students should also consider joining the National Press Photographers Association, which offers workshops and job listings.
Many photojournalists work for news agencies where they focus on a specific area, while others work as freelancers. Photojournalists must be prepared to travel immediately and be willing to work in potentially dangerous environments. In addition, photojournalists must be capable of making good decisions quickly, dealing with tight deadlines, and less than ideal working conditions.