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Free Preview: Introduction to News and Editorial Assignment Photography

Welcome to the World of News and Editorial Photography

  • Overview
  • Transcript

Do you want to start shooting assignments professionally? Not sure where to start? Amateur photographers are often ready to work professionally but get stuck navigating the murky world of professional photojournalism. In this course you will learn how to work in news and editorial photography. We’ll cover everything from getting your first assignment to picture-making in the field, prepping your files final delivery and keeping your photo editors happy.

1. Introduction

1.1 Welcome to the World of News and Editorial Photography

Editorial Assignment Photography can be a lot of different things. Portraits of personalities to illustrate a story, sports and news coverage, food and architecture photography for restaurant reviews or, my personal favorite, photo stories. All assignments require a unique skill-set and approach. For news and sports photography, we need to work quickly under time deadlines, often in less than ideal situations. We are often sending our photos from the basement of the stadium, or from our car parked in a parking garage somewhere. For news and sports photography, we're using very fast cameras and lenses. You'll often see news photographers with two cameras, so they don't have to switch lenses back and forth. Standard equipment for this types of photography is a fast camera with a high frame per second rate and a 7200 2.8 zoom lens and a 16-35 wide angle zoom lens. My preferred computer program for this type of work is Photo Mechanic. It allows me to quickly ingest, sort, caption, and FTP my photos directly to my client. But I'm doing my photo manipulation in Photoshop and sometimes Light Year. We'll be getting deeper into these programs in following videos. For food and architecture photography assignments, we have a little bit more time to pay attention to details like lighting and composition. We're a little bit more refined. These details are sometimes overlooked in the middle of a pressroom. And back to my favorite photo stories, taking multiple photos of a certain subject, idea or theme. Done right, these photos could stand on their own without text. They can cover multiple pages in a news paper or magazine. They can also be used in a book or even a gallery show. But next, editorial clients, who are they, and how can you get your first assignment?

1.2 The News and Editorial Market

Editorial clients. In this section, I'm gonna be talking about a variety of the clients that I've had experience with, including magazines, newspapers, PR companies, wire services, and recently, online newspapers. A short background on me, I began working for newspapers directly after graduating photography school about eight years ago. I've been working for newspapers, magazines, and all other various clients since then. To get a little bit into the language that I'm using here, a staff photographer is someone who's employed full-time by a newspaper. Newspaper photography is a nine to five job. They wake up every morning, check their assignments, and head out on the road. These jobs, though, are drastically shrinking in the industry. Three years ago, I struck out on my own as a freelance photographer, leaving my staff photography job. The economic security isn't as good, but I'm willing to trade it for the amount of freedom that I have with my photography. As a freelance photographer, I'm always approaching new editors and explaining my work. Editors have a list of freelance photographers that they know and trust. When an assignment comes up in a specific region, they consult this list. And that's how it's done. Magazine editors work quite similar to newspaper editors. But they generally have a little bit more resources, and longer timelines to invest in photography. Magazines generally are less constricted by budgets and timelines. And they're more generally focused on the type of photography they're commissioning. Wire services are organizations that provide photos to subscribing editorial and commercial clients. Wire services, such as Getty, Associated Press, Reuters, all work similar to newspapers. They have a staff of photo editors and staff photographers, but also work with freelance photographers who they like to call stringers. Online editorial sites have been popping up over the last few years, and are a new, emerging market in editorial photography. Everyone, from local blogs to international news organizations, are looking for content and have assignments. PR companies love the skills of editorial photography. Whether it's a portrait of an executive, photo or video coverage of some of their recent projects or events, there's a lot of work for these companies. It is important to have a wide variety of skill sets as an editorial photographer, but it's also important to identify your strengths and present them first. We are gonna get deeper into this in the next section, Building Your Editorial Portfolio.