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I'm interested in photography and photojournalism. Which one should I major in or minor?

I'm thinking about a career in photojournalism. I want to be a photojournalist. I'm just wondering, what should I major in in order to become a photojournalist? What is it like to be a photojournalist? #journalism #photography #photojournalism


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Savannah’s Answer

I suggest looking at New England School of Photography. You can major in photojournalism there. You can also minor in another photography area. I went to this school and it is fantastic. You learn much more about photography then you can at a university.


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Michael’s Answer

Photojournalism is a very exciting career choice but, as one other responder noted, it's a tough way to make a living. There are thousands of really good photogs out there and you can become one of them.


I would suggest that you major in something like history or political science or... anything... and while doing that, shoot pictures every chance you get. Shoot everything -- sports, portraits, still lifes, landscapes, macro -- everything. Get a part-time job as a photographer's assistant or selling cameras or working in a print lab or working for the tiniest weekly newspaper in your area (for free, if necessary) -- anything -- but get a liberal arts degree while you practice your photography. You'll want as much knowledge about as many things as you can get. A foreign language will help, too.


I majored in chemistry in college, with photography as a hobby. When I discovered I really didn't like chemistry I got a job in a portrait studio in their darkroom. I was drafted into the army and was a combat photographer for two years there. I sold cameras in a discount store until I could find a job in photography. But every step of the way, what I learned in college and what I knew from endless hours with my camera has paid off. I'm retired now but still have a photography business because it's what I love to do.


Helpful, thanks for your input Gibson S.

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Eric’s Answer

Photojournalists are a special breed of photographer, Isaiah.
First thing to do is become a very good writer. An English degree and a minor in photojournalism will serve you well. Develop a good eye by framing the world; like in the movies, hands flat, arms outstretched and two thumbs connected. All good photographs start with the photographers eye. Learning to operate a camera comes to those who want it badly enough. Options include: schools (my local JC had a two year course of study), libraries are a good resource with 'how-to books.' You are very fortunate to have the internet which is something I use everyday - even my smartphone brings me information and instructions. It also finds people like you, who have similar interests, join those groups out there. On the subject of the internet; I suggest you start a blog where you keep a journal illustrated with your photographs. (The very definition of photojournalism.) Do it everyday like working out. Go with a subject you know and love and use the blog to sharpen your skills, and, create a following of people who will give you feedback on how well you are doing. When you go job hunting, your blog will become a sales tool to sell yourself.
Good luck,
Eric Feathers


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David’s Answer

Thoughtful question. In my opinion, I would get a liberal arts degree which provides you with a well-rounded education. During those years at school, I would suggest writing and photography classes so you can communicate and understand how to operate a camera. I'm not opposed to a photojournalism degree, but I am not convinced it's necessary to succeed as a photojournalist. My question for you is: do you have the passion to be a photojournalist? Are you curious about our world? Does our world visually fascinate you?


What's it like being a photojournalist? As with any of the arts, it's a tough way to make a buck. But, when you capture a great image, that moment erases all the hassles.There are days when it's boring and days when it's rewarding. You are telling a story with one, or several pictures, that you created. I find that process very satisfying. And, some days, very frustrating. A photojournalist freezes a moment so the viewer will see something in that image that educates him, informs him, amuses him and annoys him. What could be better than that.


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David’s Answer

Like Savannah, I also went to NESOP in Boston, but after 4 years as an English major and just for a year. I didn't do the extensive photography courses - just more practical ones in the second year. Whether you're going into photography or PJ, you'll need skills that you can't get at a technical school. Basically, you'll need to know how to write and communicate in an engaging way. You'll need to understand history so you can put events in perspective. What I'm suggesting is starting with a broad education and not a technical education out of HS. A liberal arts education helps you become well-rounded and opens your eyes to all sorts of things that become part of you and what you offer as your perspective of the world, which is really what photography is about - sharing how you see the world. So don't get too narrowly educated on technique and ignore the bigger picture. Good luck!


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Perry’s Answer

Photojournalism is an exciting career. I spent more than 20 years at a medium-sized daily and have meet countless amazing people and have witnessed exciting and heart-breaking events. My degree is in Journalism with a photo concentration and is a Bachelor of Science. Beyond your degree you'll need an excellent portfolio that includes stories as well as singles. And, you'll need to be able to do video too! I can't lie, newspapers and print magazines are cutting back and dying at an alarming rate. It's a tough field to break into and to thrive in. But, it's a great adventure! Midwestern schools I'd recommend: Western Kentucky, University of Missouri, Indiana University, Ohio University and Ohio State. Good luck.


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