Category: Careers & Work
Free Photojournalism Crash Course
Step One: Get a camera. What camera? Any digital camera will serve you well. Do not go buying the best camera. Start from down under. Use your phone camera, use your grandfathers camera, or use the cheapest camera you can get on the streets. Why? If you can take good images with cheap cameras, you can take images with anything.
Step Two: Take Images. Take your camera everywhere you go. Take images every day and every night. There is no talent in photojournalism. There is practice and practice… and then there is experience.
Step three: Once you have taken enough images, select an assignment and complete it. For example for an entire month take images of Buildings and of nothing else. Get into your assignment. Study it. Read about it. Take images under the rain and thunder. Take images in the cold and under the sun. Just get those buildings. Why? For many reasons. If you do get to work in photojournalism, you might get assignments and be stuck with them for a long time. So learn to love any assignment you get.
Step Four: Choose another theme. Now choose an assignment that requires taking images of things that move. But do not do this assignment for a month. For example, the first week take images of moving horses, the next week take images of racing cars, the next week take images of sports and athletes and the next take image of airplanes, helicopters or speeding trains. When this month is over, you should be able to capture speed and objects in motion.
Step Five: Choose another assignment. If you can not take assignments and you want to free-style your camera, you should consider studying art photography. Photojournalism is about assignments. So choose another assignment. You need some people practice. Get your strength to survive a month on people photography. The first week take images of Homeless. The second week take images of Glamour Women and fashion. The third week take image of street demonstrations (watch it there, be always safe), and the next week take images of senior citizens, or politicians. After that month you should have your people’s skills in tuned in.
Step Six: If you got this far in this guide then you might just have what it takes to be a photographer. You should now choose the best images you have and put together a portfolio. Upload it online and print it. This will be your presentation so give it your best.
Step Seven, Contacts: Photojournalism like journalism is all about contacts. A good contact “book” takes years to build. You might be lucky and get a job right away but that mostly happens in the movies. In real life you will have to work 24-7 to get work. Send emails, your portfolio and your web page is your Curriculum. No matter where you studied, when editors look for photographers, they look at the images, not at the CV.
Step Eight: Continue working on your portfolio. Keep it clean and be ethical. Take a course if you feel like it. Once you have about 100,000 images you like, you can change your camera. You can also save some money to travel. You can travel to paradise locations and cover the elegant beat of Travel, or you can take to conflicts of the world, and get your mind blown away by the moving light. Whatever way you go, it is your decision. Only you are responsible for your decisions. Do not take assignments you do not feel safe with. Take a short course on covering risk photojournalism if you are into that.
This is not the only way to start your career. You can also start it in more classical ways. This is a free way to start. Not everybody can afford courses, equipment and cameras. Hopefully the suggestions in this guide will take you one step closer to what photojournalists constantly seek… not the truth, but a documentation of value.