A Beginner's Guide to Editorial Photography in 2023
Editorial photographers are experts who specialize in an exceptional and particular field of photography. Their objective is to create compelling and unique photos that are often spontaneous and candid in nature, with the ultimate goal of being published. In this occupation, they are bestowed with a considerable amount of creative freedom, which allows them to explore and experiment in their respective careers.
For aspiring photographers, it is crucial to familiarize oneself with the intricacies of this niche. By doing so, individuals can glean a better understanding of what editorial photography is, as well as how it sets itself apart from commercial photography. Additionally, one can learn about the necessary qualifications that are typically required in this profession, salary expectations, and the essential steps required to become an editorial photographer.
In this article, we discuss what editorial photography is, how it differs from commercial photography, the educational requirements for this profession, salary information, and the steps to becoming an editorial photographer.
What is editorial photography?
Editorial photography is a distinct form of photography in which skilled practitioners capture images that are intended to support and enhance informational content for both online and print publications. These photographs often serve to tell a story or provide readers with educational insight into a particular subject matter. For instance, an article about the opening of a new hotel in a city may include images of the hotel's entrance, rooms, and lobby.
In a similar vein, a fashion magazine may display editorial photographs showcasing models wearing the latest clothing trends. The subjects of editorial photography can vary widely, encompassing topics such as sports, celebrities, fashion, food, and political events. These photographs can be found in a diverse range of media, including journalism, periodicals, textbooks, essays, documentaries, and websites.
Editorial photographer education and training requirements
If you have an interest in pursuing a career in editorial photography, it would be advantageous for you to gain an understanding of the training and education most professionals in this field acquire. The majority of editorial photographers pursue at least a bachelor's degree in an art or photography-related field, although there are some employers who hire photographers based on their portfolios and skill set.
While some editorial photographers receive on-the-job training in their respective workplaces, many choose to participate in internships to gain experience prior to starting their careers. Others may start as assistant photographers to work their way up in the field.
On-the-job training can encompass a wide range of skills, such as learning how to operate different photo editing software, using various equipment, arranging photo shoots, and creating a portfolio. In addition, some photographers who use traditional processes may also train interns in film processing techniques. The specifics of the training often depend on the employer and the role's requirements.
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Editorial Photographers Salary
The average salary for a general photographer is $39,697 per year, although this can vary based on factors such as location, education, experience, and skill. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top 10% of photographers made $83,520 in May 2022, while the lowest 10% made $21,560 in the same period.
How to become an editorial photographer
Here are some steps that may help you start pursuing a career in editorial photography:
1. Get an education
There are many editorial photographer jobs that do not require a college education, although it may be beneficial to pursue a bachelor's degree in an art-related field. These programs often offer specialized training and knowledge that aspiring photographers may not receive outside of college.
For instance, photography departments in colleges typically teach students how to use specialized equipment such as lighting, various camera models, and photo editing software. Professors often have expertise and experience in the field, which can help students gain a deeper understanding of the industry.
In addition to formal education, aspiring editorial photographers can also gain experience and build their portfolios through internships, on-the-job training, or working as assistant photographers. These opportunities can help photographers develop their skills and network with industry professionals.
2. Develop your skills
If you are interested in learning photography without attending college or if you have recently graduated, you can start developing your skills to gain experience in the field. One approach is to practice using different photo editing programs, experiment with various photo techniques, take pictures of friends and family or make your own props and costumes.
Another approach is to set up photo shoots to practice posing people and use different lighting techniques. You may also try taking photos at events such as concerts or community events to gain experience in various settings. It can also be helpful to research various photographers who interest you and learn about their techniques or the type of equipment they use. You could also watch documentaries or online videos to learn more about photography.
3. Create a portfolio
Having a professional-looking and engaging portfolio is essential for showcasing your photography skills to potential employers or clients. A good portfolio should include a diverse selection of your best work that showcases your creativity and technical ability.
When building your portfolio, consider the type of work you want to pursue and tailor your selection of photos accordingly. For example, if you want to specialize in editorial photography, include photos that demonstrate your ability to tell a story or convey a message through images.
It's also important to present your work in a visually appealing way. Whether you choose a physical or online portfolio, make sure it's well-organized, easy to navigate, and showcases your work in the best possible light.
Finally, don't be afraid to ask for feedback on your portfolio from other photographers, industry professionals, or even friends and family. Constructive criticism can help you improve your portfolio and make you a more competitive candidate in the job market.
4. Get an internship or apprenticeship
Internships and apprenticeships can be great ways for aspiring editorial photographers to gain industry experience and practice using top-quality equipment. During these programs, mentors and supervisors provide support and guidance to participants.
In some cases, internships may even lead to full-time positions with the company or client. To find potential internship opportunities, consider reaching out to your college career department or looking at job boards online.
5. Network with other industry professionals
Networking with other professionals is an effective way to find job opportunities in the field of photography. By connecting with other photographers, you can learn about potential clients and companies that may have job openings. You may also be approached for smaller projects or to assist with photoshoots or other assignments.
Joining social media groups and forums is a great way to meet local photographers and connect with others in your community. Through networking, you can also stay up-to-date on industry practices and learn about new techniques and equipment used by other photographers.
6. Consider freelancing
Taking on freelance jobs on UpMyChain is a great way to build your portfolio and gain experience working with different clients. To find such opportunities, you can contact local organizations such as churches, clubs, community centers, or magazines and inquire about their photo needs. When reaching out, consider presenting your ideas for a photo shoot by crafting a pitch. Sharing your portfolio will also help showcase your skills.
To craft a pitch, start by brainstorming story ideas and creating visual examples. You can plan to cover an event in your town, such as a concert or fair. Research other publications or photographers who have photographed similar events to see if you can capture a different angle or perspective.
Once you have your idea, approach organizations whose viewers or readers may be interested in your work. You can prepare your portfolio and draft a budget for the photo shoot, and then directly contact an editor at the organization to present your idea. Networking and building relationships with editors and other professionals in the industry can also help you find and secure freelance opportunities.
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In conclusion, editorial photography is an exciting and dynamic field that offers endless opportunities for creative expression and storytelling. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting out, there are many resources available to help you hone your craft and build your portfolio. By mastering the technical aspects of photography, staying up-to-date on industry trends and best practices, and developing your unique style and voice, you can make a name for yourself in the world of editorial photography. So grab your camera, get out there, and start capturing the world through your lens!
- What is editorial photography?
- Editorial photographer education and training requirements
- Editorial Photographers Salary
- How to become an editorial photographer
- 1. Get an education
- 2. Develop your skills
- 3. Create a portfolio
- 4. Get an internship or apprenticeship
- 5. Network with other industry professionals
- 6. Consider freelancing
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