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What Is Photojournalism?
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What is photojournalism?

You might have heard of the term photojournalism but don't consider what is it really. It might be that you are not working in media and you find the word scary. Well, I can't blame you with that since the term "journalism" connected to the word "photo" makes it a bit technical.

But what is photojournalism anyway? In layman's term, it simply means photo documentation. It's the use of photographs to tell a story. A photograph is a visual medium and it can show a lot of things that written and spoken words can hardly say.

In reality, we do photojournalism almost every time. Whenever we go out for a summer trip or a family vacation, we usually bring with us our cameras. We take pictures of all the things that are happening. We photograph our preparation to riding a car to eating to the places we go and the things we do. Even without knowing, we are actually doing photojournalism already. That's why upon going home from a trip, we immediately download all the photos we took and review what happened during the day. The photos that we took can then tell the story to those jealous folks who did not make it to come with us.

But what is photojournalism in more technical terms? Okay let's dive in to that... Media photographers take photos that can be placed in the front page of newspapers. And when the next day come, people will be amazed with that front page photo and buy that newspaper immediately to read more about what happened. Photojournalists take photos that can tell a story that is interesting to the public.

What you do in taking family vacation pictures and photojournalists in taking photos for a news headline has the same goal, that is, to tell an interesting story. So what is photojournalism for you and for a professional photojournalist is technically the same. It's just that photojournalists have a wider audience. Therefore, they have to capture the drama of a news story for the public to be touched in their emotion and be interested in it. Well that's not a problem in your case since your only audience is your family. And as long as you are all happy with the photos taken, your photojournalism job is already good.

The reason why I wanted to discuss if what is photojournalism however is not just to give its meaning. I wanted to tell about it so that we can adopt the techniques being done in it and may apply it in our photo documentation works. That's "what is photojournalism" all about to me. It doesn't matter if you can memorize a very good definition of this term but you can't apply it in the real world anyway.

So the next time that your friend asked you, a photography-related friend, to take photos during his or her birthday, you know now what to do. Again, try to ask yourself, "what is photojournalism?"... Hmm I need to take photos that tell a good story of what is happening in this birthday celebration!" If you said that to yourself, that is really great.

In photo documentation, it is also important to give the complete story. Therefore, you need to take as many photos as you can in almost everything that is going on. If it's a birthday celebration, then you must be earlier to document first the place without the visitors. Photograph the place and the decorations and what not. Then when people are already coming, capture all those emotions - the laugh, the hugs, etc. When the celebration begins, place yourself in a proper angle to document the main subject - the birthday girl or boy (of course don't forget to take photos also of the extras). Then just be artistic but focus more on what's going on instead of taking artistic shots.

I bet you know now if what is photojournalism. The advantage of knowing this term is so that we can also apply the idea in our personal situations in photography. So go on, just continue to learn more and make money from it online.


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