Photojournalism Definition, Tips, Types and Qualities

Thu, 10/08/2015 - 03:46 -- Umar Farooq

Definition of Photojournalism

Journalism is based on the medium of words. Photography is based on the medium of pictures. Photojournalism is the combination of verbal and visual mediums of communication. Some experts compare photographic journalism to the oriental concept on unity in which the "yin" and the “yang” the two indivisible elements which make the whole.

Photojournalism Tips and Techniques While Taking Photographs

The need for professional training in the art of photography cannot be over emphasized. If a photojournalist wants to succeed as a news photographer he should learn the working of the camera and its exposure meter. In news photography, there is hardly any scope for subtle shading and lighting. A news photographer should, therefore, remember that in news photography the features have to be sharp and light effects strong. He should know how filters can be used with advantage to exaggerate definition and create cloud effects. Following are some photojournalism tips for photographers.

  1. Wake up and you are already on assignment
  2. Adopt a unique style and vision and concentrate on learning
  3. Embrace photojournalism as a full time profession
  4. Promote yourself in positive way
  5. Think about your photos copy right
  6. Keep in touch with the photographic communities
  7. Consider yourself always on assign 24/7
  8. Dress according, depending on the nature assignment
  9. Keep blogging, which will illustrate you work
  10. Make Facebook, Google plus and Linkden profile and get you work seen

Types of Photojournalism

There are different aspects in photojournalism. Photojournalist cover latest news, accidents, politics, terrorism news events, social injustice issues and many more.  

  1. Feature photojournalism involves in human interest activities like art exhibitions, movies, business news, science and technology etc. It is a creative job for photographers they can use diffident photographic technique to connect audience.
  2. Sports Photojournalism is very interesting field which is all about losses and wins. The sport photojournalist attend different games, leagues, event where sports personalities are presented. 
  3. Environmental portraits capture the essence of subject. It portraits a newsworthy figure like construction workers soldiers etc. in their natural setting. Through a portrait it is easy to understand about the subject matter of the photo.   

Qualities of a Photojournalist

According to the well-known photo journalist, it should have four essential qualities. First, he should be a journalist. Secondly, he should have imagination. Thirdly he should be proficient in the technique of photography. Fourthly, he should have a human feeling.  According to another expert five inseparable elements which are creativity. Individualism, intuition, craftsmanship and love of subject and medium.

Preparation for the Crucial Moment

It is not an easy job as it looks like. A new reporter can see an event, think over it for some time and then write his news story. In photojournalism photographer on the other hand, has to keep himself ready for the crucial movement, position his camera at a vantage point and press the button at the right moment. If a news photographer misses the crucial moment once, he misses it forever. He cannot hope to recapture it again in future. He cannot put the click back

Unique and Inspiring Photography

If a photojournalist thinks that he can like an ordinary photographer, just move out and shoot a scene, he is sadly mistaken. Prime face a photographic assignment may look to be a simple and routine job. But the fact is that it calls for a thorough home work. What the newspapers look forward to is not just any picture of an incident or a situation but a picture which is unique and inspiring. A news photographer should have some inkling of what his picture is going to be, whether it should be a portrait or a landscape

Background Information

A photojournalist would do well to consult the relevant press clippings or reference books and have some background information. If he has not seen the person whom he is going to photograph, he should chick up with the picture library of his newspaper and if there is none around, he should see any old books or magazines containing his picture or avail interne search like Wikipedia, Google or Yahoo search. It is also helpful to check his social media profile like facebook, Linkden etc.

Selection of a Vantage Point before Photo Shoot

In photojournalism photographers should leave nothing to chance. He should reach the place and study. The setting beforehand. He should then select a vantage point from where he can get a clear view. He should also keep in view one or two possible alternative points because sometimes the setting might undergo a sudden change. Quite often police authorities might review the arrangements and assign a different place to the press photographers. Sometimes, even if the original setting remains the same, a policeman might emerge from somewhere and stand in front of the camera. In such an eventuality, a photographer must move fast to another vantage point

Use Appropriate Camera

In the past, photographers used plate cameras with magnesium flash, which was a time consuming process. Now a days single lens reflex cameras are used by most of the photographers. These cameras are fitted with wide angle and standard lens. A number of other sophisticated cameras like DSLR Cameras are also available in the market to answer to the needs and specifications of photojournalism photographers.

What matter more to a news photographers is not the type of camera that he has but the ease with which he is able to operate it. He should be able to regulate the controls of his camera efficiency and smoothly so that when the key moment occurs, the camera obeys the command of his fingers. A good news photographer should be able to anticipate the crucial moment. Only then, luck will favour him

Photojournalism Captions and Cutline

Writing a caption and cutline for a photograph is itself as art. It is a creative work. There are some tips for wiring a good caption

  1. Focus on the main idea of photo taken, use short sentence to sum up all information you want to share
  2. It is not bad to add a little details like facts and figures, when, why and where
  3. Check grammar and spilling mistakes are very important.
  4. Never ever don’t be factious

Element of Luck

Some times news photoghraphers belonging to many newspapers and magazines converge to take photographs of the same event but only a lucky one is able to anticipate the key moment of a situation and produce a photograph when will captivate the hearts of the viewers and will be remembered for a long time

Final Choice of Photographs for Printing

Photojournalist provide finished glossy prints developed from the negatives they consider best. The editor has no choice. He has to accept what is given to him. This method vests too much discretion in the photographer. Other newspaper have a more scientific method. In photojournalism photographers take several shots and provides “contact prints” leaving it to the editor or (picture editor) to make a final choice. By proper cropping of a picture an editor can even enhance the picture’s effect or message