What is Editorial Photography- A Complete Guide

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Editorial photography represents photographs that supplement the text in an editorial or an article that aims to educate people about a certain topic. It may tell a story in the visual form without the use of words too. Editorial photography may include street photography, photography of people in parades, events, or politics. It may include photographs of buildings or compositions of places reflecting a definite mood.

1. Aim

Editorial photography is done to represent a story in books, editorial features, articles, and documentaries. The art is given more importance over the commercial part. It aims to tell a story and the photographer plays the part of a storyteller.

2. Legality

The photographer generally has ownership of the photographs. The company may own the photographs for a limited amount of time. After this, the photographer may also sell his photographs to a stock photography website if the editorial license allows. However, before you buy editorial pictures from stock photography, check with the company in terms of how you can use them. You can not use images with copyright logos. The pictures shouldn’t have recognizable people or copyrighted material.

Use Of Editorial Images

Editorial Image is only meant to be used in newspapers, magazine articles, websites, textbooks, and essays. A professional photographer can not use them for commercial uses like advertising or promoting a product.

There are two kinds of licenses that a professional photographer can get- an editorial license and a commercial license.

An editorial license enables the use of photographs only to illustrate a certain article or story.

A commercial license, as we said, enables pictures for use in the promotion of products for commercial use.

Now that we have briefed you on what is editorial photography, here are some tips on how you can get into editorial photography.

How Can You Get Into Editorial Photography

To be an editorial photographer, you have to churn out good quality photos with proper lighting and exposure. Post-processing helps quite a bit if your photography skills are at an advanced level. The most important thing in editorial photography is that your photographs should be able to tell a story. Here are the top 10 tips that you can follow to create great editorial photographs.-

1. Create A Top Quality Portfolio

Your portfolio should have pictures that channel your inner creativity. The main purpose of editorial photography is to illustrate a story or tell a visual story. So, learn more about narrative photography and build a great portfolio on social media platforms.

2. Select A Genre Or Mix It Up

Editorial photography lets you click pictures of people, important events, various topics, and themes. You can click a picture to portray different viewpoints. Delve into the topic, learn more about it. For instance, if you are clicking a picture on any news topic, collect information on it from a variety of sources.

3. Know Your Subject

If you click people’s photographs, communicate with them to make them more comfortable.
You can get to know your subjects by interviewing them. This will help you weave a story through your photographs. If you aim to create meaningful portraits, a little communication goes a long way.

4. Identify Your Audience

Ask yourself the following questions

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What is the story you are trying to tell and how it will impact your target audience?
  • Why is it important for your target audience?
  • What are the tools you need for capturing the story?

5. Hone Your Photography Skills

If you are an amateur venturing into the world of editorial photography, it is important to get your basics right. Apart from mastering the correct exposure and contrast, you need to master other techniques. Practice a lot and improve on your aperture and shutter speed.

If you are creating an editorial portrait, make sure the subject is in focus. A background blur may help to center the focus on the subject.

Learn techniques like motion blur and changing apertures for clicking different depth of fields. Vary your focal length to take wide, medium, and close up shots.

6. Get The Right Tools

A good camera helps to create great photography. Don’t misinterpret this- a good camera will not help you create good photographs, but good skills with a quality camera, lenses for portraits, and tripod seal the deal. If you are a beginner in the genre of editorial photography, you may not want to invest in overly expensive gears.

You should choose your lenses carefully. A wide-angle lens will help to include more background in your photograph.

While going out for clicking photographs, it is wise to have extra batteries and a charger in your backpack. Don’t forget to set the focus of your camera correctly and carry your camera and lenses everywhere you go.

7. Get The Right Mood

If you are capturing the story of a devastating earthquake, you would not like your picture to give off positive vibes. So when you know the topic of the shoot beforehand, work on the type of feeling you want to generate from the photograph.

8. Plan The Shoot

Research the location well or the people whom you are taking a picture of. If you are taking a portrait of a public figure, get to know about the person. Apart from that, be consistent in generating concepts for your photographs. However, if your plan is difficult to execute, don’t be afraid to improvise!

Also, if you have a deadline, make sure you adhere to it. This way, the editor can incorporate the photographs in the story that you are illustrating.

9. Practice Till You Are Perfect

Learn all the techniques that you need to. Take multiple shots of people, places, and objects and attempt to bring out a story. Apart from getting the perfect shot, it will be helpful if you can learn to edit your pictures to improve the photo and make it publishable.

10. Post Processing

Make sure that your editing doesn’t tamper with the story you are trying to tell. You can use Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom for tweaking the exposure, clarity of pictures, spot reduction, and cropping out undesired elements out of the frame.

Convert a colored photo into black and white if there is a pattern that you want. Sepia-toned pictures work great for creating a classic or vintage look. You want your pictures to express an emotion. If slight editing helps you do that, go for it.

These are the tips that will help you master the art of editorial photography. Hone your skills and get the right equipment to click with quality publishable photographs. If you practice and do not give up, no one will be able to stop you from mastering this art!

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Marco Downs

Marco Downs

Marco Downs is our second founder and he is the creative head of this website. Marco stumbled upon photography only in college when he joined the photography club. His parents could never afford a camera for him as a child and it was in college that he saved up and bought his first camera. He now writes in-depth buyer guides and informational articles to assist the buyers. 
Marco Downs

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