What is a Photojournalist?

A photojournalist photographs, edits, and displays images in order to tell a visual story. They are journalistic professionals that are skilled at interpreting and communicating an event through photographs. The subject matter can vary greatly, all the way from social unrest in a foreign country, to issues and events happening at a local level.

Photojournalists can work as freelance photographers, or can be employed by photo agencies, magazines, or local newspapers. Employment areas include the internet, print, and television.

What does a Photojournalist do?

A photojournalist carrying his camera while walking outside.

Photojournalism is different than other areas of photography; the main difference being that the photojournalist has to comply to a rigid ethical framework. Since their work contributes to the news media, it must be impartial and honest, and the story being told has to be strictly journalistic.

Photojournalists have to often make instant decisions, and always need to have their photographic equipment with them, ready to use at a moments notice. Often, the conditions are not optimal and are full of obstacles, such as crowds of people, poor weather, or the threat of physical danger. Photos that are hard to capture due to difficult situations, such as dangerous war zones, are very much in demand and garner more money.

Photojournalists have trained, artistic, and talented vision, and are able to see a 'photographic opportunity' that an untrained eye might easily overlook. They have the opportunity to change the way people view the world through their photographs, and can show people things they've never been shown before.

They are very passionate about their work, have an amazing eye for detail, and have an innate ability to 'see' the world around them differently than others. There are entire books, and even exhibitions, dedicated to the work done by incredibly talented photojournalists.

Are you suited to be a photojournalist?

Photojournalists have distinct personalities. They tend to be artistic individuals, which means they’re creative, intuitive, sensitive, articulate, and expressive. They are unstructured, original, nonconforming, and innovative. Some of them are also investigative, meaning they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive.

Does this sound like you? Take our free career test to find out if photojournalist is one of your top career matches.

Take the free test now Learn more about the career test

What is the workplace of a Photojournalist like?

A photojournalist does not have a typical nine-to-five desk job. When a news story breaks, they must be ready to go immediately; they are always on call 24/7, and often work long hours. Working conditions may not always be optimal, as severe weather could be a factor, and some situations may be dangerous.

Some photojournalists travel extensively, and yet others stay closer to home, working for local newspapers and magazines.

Photojournalists are also known as:
News Photographer