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What is Photojournalism?

Photojournalism has been popular for decades because of its effectiveness in portraying ideas and messages. Give this article a read if you are thinking about starting a career in it. Even if you just want to know what is photojournalism, this is the perfect spot for you.

Definition of Photojournalism

Photojournalism, as the name suggests, is the art of storytelling through the use of photos. Unlike traditional journalism, photojournalism can make use of both images and text to portray a story. Even before cameras were made, people used to hand-draw scenes to be printed in newspapers. However, paintings can never truly capture real emotions. That’s why photojournalism was adopted quickly when it was introduced.

Main Purpose

As we mentioned above, the main purpose of photojournalism is to portray a story. A lot of people think that associating their texts with photos will generate more buzz. Well, that is true but not actually the main goal. If the history of photojournalism has taught us anything, it is that if used correctly and effectively, it can leave long-lasting impacts on entire populations. There have been numerous cases where a single well-timed photo captured the true distress of people. This, as a result, made relevant authorities and governments pay attention to them when forced by the international backlash. In addition to that, it can also generate positive feedback when something good happens in society.

Photojournalism in war

Photo edited in Lightroom.

Role of a Photojournalist

Paintings do not capture emotions perfectly, yet another flaw in a painting is that it is heavily influenced by the painter. That is why using drawing and painting for journalism, mostly did not capture the true nature of the incident. This is where photojournalism comes in. It surely improves on that matter, yet that flaw remains up to some degree. This is why we must understand that the role of a photojournalist is not to portray his own emotions and feelings. Rather share the true depictions of an incident or an event to the world without any bias. 

Controversy surrounding Photojournalism

Photojournalism is the most effective way of sharing the news with the general population. News that is shared only using text will be limited to only those with a basic understanding of the language. Whereas, emotions are universal. Anyone can understand and relive the true essence of a scene captured in a photo. Yet, there is a controversy and an ethical issue that photojournalists face. You must be aware that for capturing powerful images, photojournalists often travel to conflicted war zones, famine, and even disease-riddled areas. When they share such distressful photos with the world, they do sympathize but also criticize the photographers for being heartless. People also sometimes accuse them of exploiting the suffering of others just to increase their following. So, if you are thinking of getting into this field, you must prepare to face such backlash. 

It might seem unfair to you; however, photojournalists serve a greater purpose. They do not only highlight individual poverty or problem but bring a bigger story in front of the world. They try to show what people in different areas of the world are facing so that others can unite to help them. 

Police Riot photojournalism

Advice on Image Creation

There are two styles of photojournalism that you should be aware of. Some use single photos to portray the whole message and story. Whereas, others use series of photos to share the whole story. It is not right or wrong in either style, it is just preference. 

The most fundamental rule of photojournalism is that you must have guts. Often the most powerful images are captured amidst all of the chaos and suffering. So you must prepare yourself not to give in to your feelings and emotions. The other thing is that your personal opinion should not direct your lens. 

Now comes the part about the literal image creation. Like all other photography types, photojournalists must have command over both equipment, factors such as aperture and different composition styles. You should be able to judge which angle and directions portray a powerful message to the viewers. Also, you should learn to identify the subject of your photos. In order to make your story more authentic, you should gather more information about the subjects to identify them. However, photographers must keep the photos candid for preserving genuine emotions and authenticity. 

Other than that, you should work on your editing skills. Although, the image should stay as much true as possible. Yet you can do tweaks such as adjusting shadows and blur. Photoshop is without a doubt the best software to use for adjustments. Learn to use Photoshop like a professional with our Photoshop Masterclass.

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Conclusion - What is Photojournalism?

After all, is said and done, we believe that this article extensively answers ‘what is photojournalism?’. For those of you who aspire to enter this field, remember to rise above petty politics and also try to share only the truth with the world.  

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