The explorer photographer milestone, that’s the name we like to give to those adventurer people who travel around telling stories. One of the most ancient forms of experiencing photography and yet trendy to our days to inspire many photographers to pursue this lifestyle.
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Before we dive into all the perks of becoming or being a photojournalist, we have to first understand what it is this career entails or what it is that a photojournalist does. The term photojournalist is actually not used very often and is often substituted with just the term photographer.
A photojournalist is a photographer who captures images of current events that typically accompany a news story in a local newspapers or in a major publication like National Geographic. So for example, during the time of the United States Civil War, photojournalism and war photography was at its peak as people were wanting to see first-hand what exactly was happening during the United States Civil War, even if they weren’t anywhere near where it was actually happening.
So, in essence, it’s safe to say that the job of a photojournalist is to photograph significant current events that tell a compelling story to make viewers feel as if they’re experiencing or apart of the moment. These events are not always morbid or violent in nature, but can also be political and more as well.
A career in journalism photography in this day and age can be very enlightening, difficult, rewarding, and so much more. A huge chunk of your career will be about visual storytelling through the images you take as well. Street photographers are considered storytellers or even journalists in their own respect.
You don’t necessarily need to start out as a photojournalism student studying mass communication at a prestigious university to become a professional photojournalist. While the training can certainly help train your eye and build connections, sometimes all it takes is a bit of natural talent and hustle to break your way into the industry.
In addition to practicing and honing in on your craft, you’ll want to look into professional organizations to join, such as the National Press Photographers Association. Joining professional organizations not only helps with networking, but they also provide ample learning opportunities through workshops and seminars.
Now that we have an understanding of what photojournalism actually is, let’s dive into some of the perks of pursuing a visual communication career in the 21st century.
The first perk of being a photojournalist in this day and age is the opportunity to travel the world. Thousands of significant events happen around the world on a daily basis, which you could then be hired by a national or local newspapers to capture them. This gives you a chance not only to capture different people in new geographic places, like New York City or San Francisco, but it also gives you the chance to learn more as well. The things you learn as a traveling photojournalist might not always be something great, but nonetheless becoming knowledgeable about these things is always beneficial in the long run.
These days, something around the world is always changing, and something is always happening for the first time. Some of these historical events can be filled with joy. For example, the Toronto Raptors winning their first-ever NBA Championship in 2019; since they were established in 1995. The streets in the city of Toronto was flooded with over 2 million people of all races and ethnicities celebrating a historic achievement.
As a photojournalist, capturing images of these moments will withstand the test of time, as it will be a significant day or event to remember not only in Toronto, but around the world as well. The potential for your work to makes its contribution to history as a photojournalist is highly possible with every image you take.
Connecting with people around the world becomes pretty easy when you’re a photojournalist. You will find yourself meeting new people very often as you attend different events and interact with those around you. Meeting some of these new people can be enlightening in different ways.
Meeting a local gives you the opportunity to understand a little more of what’s happening around you, as these people have been living what you are now there to capture. You might also meet another journalist or even a public relations professional who can benefit your photojournalism career by offering tips on how to improve your work or even recommending you to news and media outlets as a reliable photojournalist to hire—you never know when The Washington Post or Associated Press are looking for visual journalists to work with. The possibilities are endless, and you never know what might just happen.
Phenomena like the globalization and the internet opened the gates to brand new ways of experiencing the outer world, of getting to know what happens in far regions through printed medias as magazines or newspapers, like the New York Times. Even though the amount of information we can gather from a place these days seems unbelievable, not so long ago the only way to experience other cultures was through traveling or books; knowledge that was mostly courtesy of these explorer photographers.
So, what’s left of this character in the present-day? Truthfully, not much, except for the fact we still use images for visual storytelling.
We could start talking about the gear to be used, which unlike the analog photography era, digital mediums have brought the possibility of immediately reviewing the produced content, plus editing the material if needed – a brand new arc of possibilities for creative photographers who always strive for new challenges.
Technology also closed the bridge in the weigh-to-carry question, as high-end cameras are considerably lighter than their analog counterparts, not to mention the added value of environmental protection which also proves to be a must-have for travel photography. If we sum this with the possibility of checking our work at the very moment we capture it, we are talking that documentary photographers are entirely capable of sharing a compelling story and photo in real-time without worrying far too much about damaging their gear in the process. Of course, backpacks and lighter accessories also take an important role on his behalf.
I often find it amazing how the art of documentary photography can open so many doors for any individual who’s experienced in the field or looking to become more knowledgeable of it. One of the most important things needed by any individual when making that first step to become a professional photographer is to first have imagination.
As creators, our main power or skill is our imagination and how we carry out what we envision. The limits of your imagination are determined only by you, and can never be limited by someone else. More and more as years go by, we are introduced to new professional journalists who bring forth a new style of editing and capturing their subjects.
So, if you’re looking for a career that is both challenging and rewarding, consider photojournalism. The skills you learn will stay with you for a lifetime, and you’ll be able to share stories that touch people’s hearts and change the world. Are you ready to tell powerful visual stories?