What is Press Photography – A Guide stepping on the Press Ladder!
We’ve all heard the term Press Photography, but what does it really cover. Media Photography or Photojournalism is a professional photographer who captures images of current stories, events or newsworthy occurrences for news agencies, printed newspapers, magazines, and news websites. Fort longer term reportage or documentary style pieces, the term photojournalist is a wider used term, however, press photography and photojournalism often cross over during the course of work. As a full time professional photographer working in the commercial industry, Press Photography was a natural progression. Blanc Creative built a solid reputation in Norwich before moving into the world of media and corporate imagery and video throughout the UK.
Imagery by Lee Blanchflower of a Road Accident Incident captured at the scene
To succeed in the industry you will need a certain set of skills. Just because you can hold a camera and may have had the local newspaper print an image of sunset in their readers section, doesn’t mean that you will do well in the world of press photography It can be a demanding, fsst past role with long hours and have good technical knowledge of all camera equipment
Have visual composition and perspective skills to make for newsworthy images.
Have a good understanding of image-management software (photo Mechanic etc) and photo manipulation software (treat manipulation with caution and read this article for full clarification)
Know your camera inside out. You’ll need to work in all conditions on the fly
Look for situations that are developing into news images. It’s all about to capture ‘The moment’ when and as it happens
work quickly and don’t crumble under pressure.
Be prepared to wait for age for a very short timeframe of work.
Have excellent communication skills
Expect to work copious amounts of hours for very little in return. You won’t be getting the ‘Scoop’ every day or every week.
Blanc Creative Press Photography of Big Weekend
Norwich Press Photography
What Qualifications Do You Need?
It really depends on age, experience and reputation. If you’ve never worked in the industry, never been a professional photographer, just left school and have no solid experience, then you’re likely to need at least five GCSEs, including English, and/or two years’ experience in photography, or a further education qualification in photography. There are lots of College and University courses available that will provide a sound technical grounding, but whatever way you look at it, there is no experience… Like Experience!
Images are generally shot on location, using hand-held digital cameras with a portable flash and photographers tend to have their own wifi set up and fast laptops. The faster the images are uploaded to News Agencies, the faster the chances that your images will be purchased by Press or Newspapers. Picture desks like to have images so they have exclusive stories or breaking news. Press Photography is essentially about uploading a handful of high quality, new worthy images to accompany a news story. Many Newspaper and magazine Photography freelancers now work on commission only basis. The days of in house commissioned photographers are numbered, They are a dying breed. Images are generally bought ‘on spec’ (speculatively) if it is of a high standard or features a subject not covered by their own photographers.
PR and Press photography is often scheduled in advance, particularly for pre planned visits or events. Monthly diaries are released by prerss agencies to their freelancers where accreditation is required. Photographers will be scheduled in advance and independent agencies will brief freelance press photographers on the type of shots required.
NUJ (National Union of Journalists) is a good sign that a freelancer is a Professional Press Photojournalist. Membership is through proposal / seconding of accredited referees and providing a portfolio of press articles and publications where work has been used professionally. Being a member certainly isn’t the be all and end all, but it will give you some credibility within the industry and offers elements of legal advice and support for photographers when they require it. To read further articles about Photography and videography, why not head over to the Blanc Creative Blog. It’s right HERE If you are interested in looking further afield, we’ve done some of the work for you and added a few links below to the world of Press Photography.