Education and careers
A college degree is required.
What does journalism have to do with
• Studying journalism gives you a background in
the field and a ground-zero starting point.
• This experience will more likely be the source
of material for your first portfolio.
• Education also helps you learn to think
critically and analytically, as well as broaden
your perspective on people and the world.
Broaden your knowledge
• There is little room in this business for someone
who is nothing more than a button pusher.
• Beware of isolating yourself from classes that
broaden your overall background.
• As a photojournalist, you will run across all kinds
of people and situations.
• The best photos come from photographers who
have confidence and a broad perspective on the
• You must understand the issues of the day, the
subject and the audience. Use your technical
tools to capture the message.
• Explore some classes like
history, art, sociology, psychology, anthropology.
You must be a complete journalist. I believe there is
no better way to learn to organize thoughts and
information than by learning to write news.
BONUS: the skills you learn will make your
more valuable to employers.
Plan, too, for the future
• Right now, shooting might be the most
exciting thing in your life, but you cannot
guarantee where your career will take you.
• Put a variety of things in your educational
The PJ’s personality
• Give careful thought to your own traits.
• You must be intellectually aware, technically
skilled and physically strong.
• Most GOOD PJ’s are patient, stubborn,
imaginative, assertive yet not offensively
• PJ’s are good politicians and psychologists, have a
love of people and work, have a broad range of
interests, an ability to anticipate events and an
understanding of what readers want and need.
The PJ’s personality
• A good PJ is willing to take the risks and knows when
and how far to push.
• If you are uncomfortable approaching strangers and
making photos of them or, if you prefer photographing
scenery and objects, perhaps PJ is not for you.
• This business is intensely competitive.
• The slow or indecisive PJ will be left behind, pictures
made by the ignorant will be empty and the timid and
withdrawn will be in constant turmoil over dealing with
new people and situations on a daily basis.
Building your portfolio
• One of the greatest problems for beginning PJs is
the first portfolio – what to include and how to
• There is no magic formula: the content is king.
• Show what you do best. Edit carefully – go
through all of your work and select strong
• Have another PJ look over your first selects. (We
all have favorite images that have personal
meaning to us but aren’t strong enough for a
Building your portfolio
• What kind of photos should you include?
• Try to show your versatility. Traditional
categories are: news, feature, photo story,
sports, and illustration.
• But don’t try to fill these categories unless the
images are strong.
• If you are weak in sports, don’t include sports
just to show you were at a few games.
Building your portfolio
• Careful editing: Show only your best work – no
excuses, no exceptions!
• If you have to explain a photo, then it isn’t telling
its own story and should be eliminated.
• You can tailor your portfolio for each publication
you apply to: beware of presenting a false
impression of yourself.
• If you are hired because of a misleading portfolio,
you’ll soon be looking for another job.
• Employers want someone who is not just a
carbon copy of the pack. If you have an example
of a cliché that is the best ever made, use it. If
there is any doubt, toss it out.
– Kids playing sprinklers. Second-base slides. Levitated
football players. Basketball jumping under-the-basket
shots. Sunset, silhouettes, babies and flowers. Dogs
wearing sunglasses (most animal pictures), shots of
celebrities, rock musicians performing (most
performance photos), people holding protest signs,
photos from your vacation, any photo depends solely
on a special photographic technique (fish eye)
Feedback. Ask for it.
• The National Press Photographers Association
• Try to get at least 6 critiques before coming to
any conclusions about your work.
• Keep your portfolio up to date. There is an old
saying: you’re only as good as your last
• An old photo can still be a good photo, but
employers want to know what you can do today.
• #1 – You don’t promote yourself.
• #2 – You don’t hate your own stuff.
• Employers are looking for anything to get rid of you.
• The fact that the newspaper industry has tanked has
helped you. No one is arrogant anymore.
• I would encourage you: do not make the error of trying
to be too conservative because that will never really
get you a victory.
• I recommend having an online presence as
well as a tangible, hand-held portfolio.
• Print photos on 11x14-inch paper and mount
on a black board.
• All photos should be the same size and NEAT.
• Display your photos in a portfolio book.
• Include a caption (in AP style)
• Group similar types of shots together.
• Get one, or freelance, this summer. The time
to start looking is in the late fall or early
• Contact photo directors or managing editors
at places you’d like to work one day. Nat Geo?
• Follow the application instructions!
• Prepare a resume and cover letter.
• Apply for a number of them at a time.
Called for an interview?
• Look at the publication before the interview!
Get some back issues and examine its style.
• Dress like a pro. Try to anticipate some of the
interviewer’s questions. The easy ones will be
about your background. The hard ones will be
why you want the internship and what you
expect to get out of it.
Granted an internship?
• Learn as much as you can. Plan on putting in
many more hours than you are asked.
• Try to observe what happens in other
departments. Get staffers to critique your
work. Get a formal evaluation about halfway.
(You may have to ask for one)
Freelancing…a tough route.
• You must be a business person as well as PJ.
• Nat Geo is known for saying “We are up to our
neck with photographers but only up to our
ankles in ideas.”
• There’s the key: if you can come up with good
ideas and pitch it to the editors, then you can sell
those ideas with pictures.
• Start by researching the publication you want to
work for and see what stories they cover. Look
back at least a year. Then something they haven’t
covered and suggest it.
• A query letter is one that catches the
attention of the editor so he or she will call
• Briefly outline the story or consider writing
the first paragraph. Send a couple of photos if
you already have them available.
• Be sure to provide a SASE for reply if you are
Freelancing is like fishing
• You’ll have to throw a lot of bait into the water
and you’ll get only a few nibbles.
• But don’t throw one hook in at a time and then
sit in the boat waiting while the line floats
downstream. Treat ideas as a bulk commodity.
Try to come up with a few story ideas every day.
• Consider all markets for photo: greeting
cards, posters, product packaging, books and
audiovisual productions. The list is almost
endless. Consult freelancing market guides.
Payment and rights
• Most pubs pay freelancers when the material
is published but EVERYTHING IS NEGOTIABLE
and you may work out a different
• Be sure you have a written arrangement about
payment and rights to the material before
agreeing to the assignment.
Payment and rights
• You should agree on the day/space rate and
the photographer should agree with the
editor on the rates.
• The photographer should be paid by
whichever method is higher.
• If the day rate is $500 per day and the space
rate is $500 page, and you worked one day
but the editor wants to use two pages of
Payment and rights
• You should never sell photos as a freelancer.
Rent the rights to use them. Photographs have
lives far beyond their original use and can
continue to earn money for you over the
• The common rights granted are “one time
rights” which means the pub can use themm
once in a particular issue.
• Federal copyright law protects your work from
being used without your permission. Under
copyright law, you retain control of your work
and collect the profits you deserve. (Unless
you are on staff with a publication.)
• You work is automatically copyright as soon as
you produce it.
• If your Facebook is private, employers can and
WILL hack into it and find you, so everything
online should be professional if you’re going
into this field.
• If people share your name, it’s even more
important to have a presence online that you
can be proud of.
• Likewise, if your name is not common, you
STILL need a presence.
• The most expensive part of your online
portfolio is purchasing your domain name =
– Micheleboyet.com; micheleboyetjournalist.com
• NOT micheleboyet123.com
• Try.com first, then .net
• Make sure it matches the name you put on your
resume! Go with what you go by! Just be consistent
• Pick a free webhost: Google.com/sites or
Wordpress are the big shots
• There’s cuttings.me and pressfolios.com for
• Find the time – spend an hour before you go
to bed instead of creeping on Instagram.
• Get a headshot, your best clips, your resume,
multimedia materials, photos, social
networking sites, blog and contact info.
– You’re going to be updating your resume for the next
eternity, so get used to it and get good at it.
– One page
– Kill the objective - instead put words to describe
yourself and your capabilities.
– Your name should be in the biggest font possible. It’s
the most important thing on your resume!
– Get the year you are going to graduate off of your
resume! – Editors and hiring people are looking at
your resume as a way to eliminate you. Eliminate the
reasons for them to do that.
What not to do:
• A resume isn’t a memoir.
– “Played/raised money for Broward Women’s Adult
League for basketball.”
– “Founder of the Delray Monkeys climbing club.”
– “Spent a month last summer biking the east coast of
the United States from Daytona Beach, FL to Atlantic
– Put yourself in perspective:
• Student filmmaker, 2013-present: Covered feature stories
including XYZ in TV Production at Seminole State College of
Florida, a state school with 28,000 students.
What not to do: continued
• Don’t lead with education. You’re just one of millions
right now and you’re supposed to have an education,
so no one’s impressed by what you’re supposed to do
• Don’t include references without ASKING them first.
“Do you feel comfortable if I list you as a reference?
(Note: If you’ve ever impressed some media
professors, listing them as references is an objective
way to say you’re worthy of an interview.
• Little errors add up
• Don’t: Brag about high school. Go into detail about
• Dear Dave: I call you that because I feel I’ve
known you for years
• Dear Mr. Todd: I would like to aply for the
position of editoral asistent
• Dear Mr. Todd: My mother told me I should …
• Dear Mr. Todd: You don’t know me, but …
• Dr. Mr. Todd: Your company appears to be
violating the Equal Opportunities Amendment
and to help you rectify the situation, I would like
What to do: some advice
• Playing it safe guarantees you, at best, last
place. Not taking the risk never impresses
• Design matters. If there’s no uniform use of
typography, you’re not even going to get more
than a 3-second look.
What to do: continued
• Type your resume and print it on quality bond paper
• Do not include irrelevant personal information (e.g. age,
weight, height, marital status, etc.)
• Do not include everything you’ve done ─ be selective! Its
best practice to include skills and experiences that
contributes or relates to the company you are applying.
• Be positive. Identify and quantify accomplishments. Sell it!
Dont tell it! Use concise sentences (keep it short, sweet,
and to the point)
• Make sure your résumé looks attractive, neat and
• Proofread your résumé. Print or email your résumé and
have someone else provide feedback
• Use white space, CAPITALS, underlining, indentations, and
bold to make your résumé stand out
• Use bullet statements to emphasize a point