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What is Editorial Photography and How Can I Break Into the Industry?

Posted by Jacob Hawthorne on

Editorial photography can be best be described as photography used to tell a story. It may be published in a magazine as part of a journalistic piece, or it may be standalone.

Unfortunately, editorial budgets aren’t very big, so you won’t stand to make a lot of money if you go this route working for a magazine. However, the work could get your name out there and it may be enjoyable.

If the field sounds interesting to you, read on to find out how you can break into it.

How to Start on Your Editorial Photography Journey

If you are interested in being an editorial photographer, you should start by looking at the magazines you would like to work for. Take note of who their editor and art director are. Try to get their contact information and see if you can schedule an interview.

If you land an interview, the employer will want to see your work. Be ready with images that are in line with the styles they feature in their magazine.

How to Work in Editorial Photography

If you are hired for an editorial photography position, you will get a brief from your editor. It will explain what is required at the shoot. However, completing the work isn’t as simple as following directions.

For instance, if you are asked to take a picture of a tomato, well, obviously, you’re going to take a picture of a tomato, but you also must think about the statement the piece is making regarding the tomato. The photo you capture should express that sentiment.

Editorial photography is very detail oriented. As such, you must use what’s around you to convey a specific emotion.

It should also be noted that editorial photography is not always ‘for hire’ work. A photographer may get a great shot of a specific location, person or event and sell it for money. This could be more profitable than working for a boss.

Be Prepared

Before interviewing for editorial work, you should be prepared to shoot the next day. It’s a very hurry up and wait business with tight deadlines.

For example, you may go for an interview and not hear from anyone for months. Then you’ll get a call from someone who needs the work done tomorrow.

Here are some things to keep in mind to make sure you are prepared.

• Have the Right Camera: Most editorial photographers use a full frame DSLR due to the excellent image quality they provide.

• Be Prepared to Work with a Team or on Your Own: You may be doing editorial photography with a team or on your own. If you are working alone indoors, you will need the proper equipment including lighting, backdrops and more. If you are working outdoors, you may need gear like reflectors and a tripod.

• Use a Tripod: Speaking of a tripod, this is a type of equipment that will come in handy to minimize camera shake and get the right exposure.

Stick to Deadlines

Editorial photography may take a lot of hurry up and wait, but it’s important to stick to deadlines. If you miss a deadline, the employer you are working for may never hire you again. It may also get you a bad reputation in the industry.

If you want to get your name out as a photographer, editorial photography is the way to do it. It will help you hone your skills and get you established. The tips in this article will get you off to a great start.

Will you be trying your hand in the industry?


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