September 29, 2010

photojournalism as a career: 9 things you need? Besides A camera

You’d be wrong (and you will not be the only) if you think you just need X thousand dollars on some top professional camera equipment, and you’re on track to become a successful photojournalist. It takes a whole array of skills. So ok, what do you need? Here is a list of 9 things that are important to make it as a photojournalist – besides camera

1!. Flair for the visual

saying. You need to have some talent, be artistic and have creativity in the visual world. Some are born with a stunning visual consciousness, others need to develop it. We now live in a visually-saturated world, so it’s easy to find sources of inspiration. Go to shows, reading photography books, look in magazines, etc. Find out what style you like. Do not try to copy it but use it as inspiration to create your own visual style. Anyone can take a picture of something. Professional photojournalists have to do it with style!

second Technical know-how

You must know some basics about the technical side of photography. Not much, really, and not very difficult. You do not need an engineering degree the lens or something. But we live in a digital world and beyond camera / lens, it will be useful for you if you are handy with a computer and photo software. You must use it all the time! Knowing some basics about web design and multimedia production can also be of great benefit.

third Business savvy

Do not think that if you made a beautiful photo story, someone out there will automatically find it and pay you nicely for it. Someone, perhaps, but you can wait long for that to happen. This is where you have business savvy. Try to learn about the image industry and the market you are in. Develop negotiating skills. Be prepared to turn down a sale if you do not like the conditions. It pays in the long term! And have good business practices in general, so your customers will recommend you and get back to you again and again: Be professional. Show up prepared and on time. Deliver what you promise when you promise. There is no room for error in professional photography. Thinking ahead when it comes to business.

4th Money in the Bank

If you are just starting out as a freelance photographer / photojournalist, you will probably need to hang for a while until you have generated enough revenue sources to keep you afloat. This can be anything from 6 months to 6 years. Depending on your talent, savvy, commitment and happiness! Even if you work as a pretty established freelancer, next month’s income is not always safe. Photographic equipment is expensive, it must be maintained and replaced every now and then. So it takes a bit of capital to avoid going broke in the process of building your career.

5th A good physical shape

Oh yes, it is a physical work! You do not have to be an Olympian contestant, but you need to be prepared to stand or walk for long periods, sometimes carrying heavy equipment. In all weathers. At all times of day (and night). And sometimes in risky situations where you might have to run fast!

6th Nerves of steel

in these questionable situations or when the adrenaline kicks in for any reason, you should keep your calm, compose, and time your shots, get the right angle, focus and exposure. In less dodgy, more everyday situations, you must have nerves to break the ice, get intimate with strangers, steps away from the crowd and not to freeze when you finally face to face with the moment you’ve been waiting for.

7th Persistence

When pursuing a shot, a story or a sale, do not give up when someone says no. Look for other ways to achieve your goal. If it were easy, everyone would already have done it! Sometimes it’s just a matter of being patient. If something did not work the first time, so wait a bit and try again.

8th Know your history

work as a photojournalist, it is also important that you have something to say. Not just take boring pictures of beautiful or ugly things. Photography for the sake of photography called art photography. Not photojournalism. Make sure you have an idea or some intent with your work.

9th Passion

As I wrote in the beginning, it is not always easy being a photojournalist. So it’s important to enjoy your work. Have fun! If you are not happy and not worry about your motives, it will show up in your images. So enjoy your work!

Good luck!

The author, Morten Svenningsen, is working as a professional photojournalist in Nepaland is also the founder and CEO of Gaia Photos, an international forum for the global photojournalism online . With a team of top photojournalists from around the world, Gaia Photos your ability to follow and comment photojournalistic work since it is produced and published! Click the link above to visit!

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