Photojournalist: Career and Salary Facts

Photojournalists commonly work for newspapers or magazines. Read on to learn more about the field, including specialization options, education requirements and salary figures. Schools offering Journalism degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Photojournalist?

Photojournalism is a specific branch of the photography field. As a photojournalist, you'll be responsible for capturing images that correspond to news articles. You need to be on the scene of breaking news stories, and you'll often work hand-in-hand with reporters who are gathering news. You take pictures of political events, accidents and other newsworthy incidents. You might choose to specialize in a particular aspect of photojournalism. For example, you could become a sports photojournalist and only take images of sporting events, or you could become a foreign correspondent photojournalist and travel abroad to capture images of world events.

Where Will I Work?

As a photojournalist, you might start out working for daily newspapers in small towns and then work your way up to larger news publications. You might also find work on the staffs of magazines or journals. If you work for these publications, you'll often work on assignment, and you'll shoot for specific images that are requested by an editor. Alternatively, you might choose to work as a freelance photojournalist, by taking yourself to where the stories are breaking and then selling your photos to the highest bidder.

What Education Will I Need?

You'll most likely need at least a bachelor's degree in photography before you can find entry-level work as a staff photojournalist at a news publication or outlet. A Bachelor of Arts in Photography and a Master of Arts in Photography are two options well-suited to the career. Some schools also offer graduate programs specifically focused on photojournalism or new media photojournalism.

While you're enrolled in a degree program in photography or photojournalism, you'll gain the technical proficiency necessary to work with state-of-the-art camera equipment. You'll also hone your creative skills and develop a portfolio of work to show future employers. To build your resume, you'll likely wish to work as a photojournalist for your university's college newspaper or gain an unpaid internship in photography before seeking out a professional job in the field.

What Will My Salary Be?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't have specific data for photojournalists, but it did report that photographers in general held nearly 50,070 jobs in 2015 and made a median annual salary of about $31,710 (www.bls.gov). Slightly more than 3,000 of those individuals worked for newspaper, periodical, book and directory publishers in that year. According to PayScale.com, the median pay photojournalists earned was $39,353 per year, as of October 2016.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Industrial designers, fashion designers and architects are a few related jobs that require a bachelor's degree. Industrial designers design a wide range of everyday products, such as toys and cars. To do this, they combine their knowledge of business, engineering and art. Fashion designers create clothing designs and oversee the making of their products. They may also design accessories and/or footwear. Architects design different kinds of buildings, like houses or office buildings, using their skills in art and engineering. Someone more interested in reporting the news than capturing images of it may want to become a reporter, broadcast analyst or correspondent; this job also requires a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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