13 Photo Journalism Tips To Take Better Photos

Photojournalism is a type of photography that uses images to document and convey events, issues, and people. It involves shooting candid photos in situations where the photographer is not controlling the situation or people being photographed. 

Photojournalism requires you to capture your subject in an interesting way while also showing the story behind the image. Here are some tips for taking better photographs:

Breaking into photojournalism: pros give their advice – YouTube
1. Master the art of composition
2. Understand the story you want to tell
3. Embrace natural lighting
4. Capture candid moments
5. Be patient and observant
6. Get close to your subjects
7. Pay attention to details
8. Use different angles and perspectives
9. Utilize leading lines
10. Know when to use black and white
11. Tell a narrative through a series of images
12. Keep your equipment ready and accessible
13. Practice, learn, and improve

1. Understand The Concept Of Photojournalism

The term “photojournalism” has several meanings, but a good place to start is the Poynter Institute’s definition:

Photojournalism uses still photographs to document events and issues in news stories. The pictures may be taken by professional photojournalists or by amateurs who have been drawn into the story by chance.

Photojournalism refers to all forms of journalism that use photography as their primary medium. 

While newspapers and magazines are still the main outlets for this type of work, many newspapers now use electronic links on their websites to publish photos taken during breaking news events.

In recent years, however, some photographers have begun using digital cameras and editing software like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom to create images that look more like paintings than snapshots

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2. Learn About Composition

Composition is the way you arrange the elements in your photo. There are many different ways to compose a photo, and they can be formal or informal, symmetrical or asymmetrical, balanced or unbalanced, and static or dynamic.

The rule of thirds is one example of a formal composition that often works well for photos with multiple people sitting around a table. The rule states that you should divide up your frame into 3 equal squares and place important elements where those lines intersect:

3. Understand What It Means To Be Candid

It’s important to understand the difference between candid and posed shots. Candid photos capture something that is naturally happening, while posed photos are taken in front of the camera. 

Knowing the difference between these two types of photography is crucial when it comes to understanding what it means to be a photojournalist.

A photojournalist captures moments as they happen, capturing life in real-time and allowing viewers to feel like they’re right there with them. 

A wedding photographer might take candid photos during the ceremony or reception, but those shots wouldn’t count as journalism because they were staged for a specific purpose (in this case: documenting a couple’s special day). 

A fashion photographer may also use this style of shooting for commercial purposes or editorial content (such as in magazines), but their work isn’t considered to be journalism because it doesn’t show us anything from real life it’s just another form of advertising or entertainment

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4. Always Have Your Camera Ready

It’s important to always have your camera ready. You never know when a good photo opportunity might present itself, so it’s best to be prepared for it by having your camera on you at all times. 

If you aren’t constantly carrying around a DSLR with a professional lens attached and ready for use at any time, then you could miss out on great shots forever!

The best way to ensure that this doesn’t happen is by keeping your camera ready at all times. 

This means that if you’re walking down the street or sitting in an airplane or even just hanging out at home watching TV, try taking photos with whatever device(s) are available to make sure they’re accessible whenever inspiration strikes.*

5. Practice Anticipating Photos

Anticipating photos is a bit of an art form. It’s difficult to do, especially when you’re just starting. But there are ways to train yourself and hone your skills in this area.

First, find a place with lots of people and activity a busy street corner or city park would be ideal. Then, pick one person in the crowd who seems like they’d make an interesting subject for a photo. 

Focus on that person and zoom out until they are no longer visible; this will help you get used to looking at things from different perspectives so you aren’t always focused on whatever is directly in front of you (and therefore more likely to miss something).

Once zoomed out, start taking pictures! Be sure to look around for interesting angles there may be more than one good way from which to shoot the scene before it changes too much or someone moves out of position! 

Anticipating how things will change over time allows photographers like myself who might not have enough time for perfect lighting conditions (or expensive equipment) to become better able to flourish despite these constraints

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6. Learn How To Best Use Your Equipment

Get familiar with manual mode on your camera. If you’re not sure what this means, don’t worry: it simply means that you’re in charge of all aspects of the image-making process. 

You decide which settings are used and when they are changed, and thus have full control over what happens in each photo. 

This is often a good way to learn how your particular camera works best since some adjustments will be made automatically on automatic modes (such as exposure), but most can be done manually by you in manual mode if needed or desired. 

Many cameras come with an instruction booklet that explains these different options; read through it so you know where everything is located on your camera!

7. The Basics Of Lighting And Exposure Are Important

It’s important to understand how light works and how your camera’s meter works. You need to know how to use your camera’s light meter and know how to change its settings for different lighting situations. 

If you aren’t sure about this, I recommend learning more about it before shooting any photos!

The basics of lighting are also important to make sure you understand them so that you can set up the best possible situation for yourself during an interview or shoot. 

It may seem obvious, but using natural daylight is always best! It’s cheap (free!), easy on your battery life, and you won’t have to worry about any other kind of artificial light interfering with what makes up the photo itself.

In terms of setting up lights if necessary…one thing I’ve found helpful is placing two reflectors on either side of me while photographing someone else; 

This way they reflect some extra light toward my subject while not interfering with their image too much at all–it looks nice in pictures because they look like they’re lit from both sides rather than just one direction.”

8. Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

You can learn a lot about a place by looking at it. Pay attention to the light, shadows, and lines in your photos. Look for patterns in the buildings or people around you. 

If there’s an interesting structure nearby, get up close and personal with it and take a few steps back to see how it changes depending on your perspective. Look for things that are out of place or not showing up as expected (like color-changing lights).

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9. Work On Your Framing Skills

Framing is a way of deciding what to include and what to exclude.

As a photojournalist, you’re in charge of picking the angle that best tells the story you want to tell about an event or person. It’s your job to decide what is important in the photograph, so it’s also up to you whether or not something should be included in your frame.

Think about how much detail you want viewers’ eyes to see: do they need their attention directed towards something specific? Or would it be better if they were left with more open-ended questions at the end of the viewing?

10. Tell A Story With Your Photos

The most important thing to keep in mind when taking photos is that you are telling a story. It’s important to know what that story is, who your audience is and what they want to see, and how they want to see it.

You should also know the subject matter you are photographing and the location that best suits your needs. 

If it’s an outdoor event, maybe taking pictures inside a tent would be better than outside in direct sunlight. If it’s an indoor event with low light levels, using flash could ruin an otherwise good shot.

Unless you’re using a point-and-shoot camera (which I don’t recommend), knowing how much manual control over shutter speed and aperture settings will help you determine if there is enough light or not

11. Capture Emotion Through Your Photos

To capture emotion in your photo, there are several options. You can capture the emotion in the subject’s face, eyes, body language, and expression. You can also capture their posture if they’re sitting or standing.

Here are some examples of how you might do this:

  • Headshot that shows a person looking directly at the camera with a neutral expression on his/her face (face shot)
  • Close-up on eyes to show sadness or fear (eyes shot)
  • A close-up of the mouth showing tension (mouth shot)
  • Body angle showing fear or apprehension (body angle shot)

12. You Don’t Have To Capture The Whole Scene In One Photo

A good photojournalist will know that you don’t have to capture the whole scene in one photo. 

It’s often better to take multiple photos of the same scene and create a composite image from the best parts of each photo. You can also use different photos to create a panorama or time-lapse video.

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13. Be Patient When Taking A Photo

The worst thing that can happen is to take a picture without patience and without waiting for the right moment. Don’t forget it’s better to take one good photo than several bad ones!

Don’t be afraid of the light: It’s important to know where and when there will be good lighting conditions so that you can plan your shooting accordingly. 

This will allow you to capture your subject in all its glory, at their best angle and expression, thereby ensuring that you get an excellent shot every time. It would also help if you had access to or knowledge about different outdoor lighting scenarios like sunrise/sunset, twilight, etc…


Photojournalism is a great way to document life and make a difference in the world. It’s also an exciting hobby that can be enjoyed by anyone with a camera. Whatever your reason for wanting to take better photos, these tips will help you get started on your journey!

Further Reading

Principles of Photojournalism: Explore the essential principles that underpin photojournalism and learn how to tell impactful visual stories through powerful imagery.

Photography Tips for Journalists: Journalists can enhance their storytelling with compelling visuals. This article offers valuable photography tips to help journalists create more engaging and informative stories.

Photojournalism Tips, Techniques, and Tutorials: Dive deeper into the world of photojournalism with a collection of tips, techniques, and tutorials that will elevate your photojournalistic skills.


What are the fundamental principles of photojournalism?

Photojournalism relies on principles like truth, accuracy, objectivity, and impartiality to document events and tell stories through photographs.

How can journalists use photography to enhance their storytelling?

Photography is a powerful storytelling tool that can add depth and emotion to journalistic pieces, capturing the essence of a story and resonating with readers.

What are some essential tips for aspiring photojournalists?

Aspiring photojournalists can benefit from learning about composition, visual storytelling techniques, ethical considerations, and building strong connections with subjects.

How can photojournalists ensure authenticity and credibility in their work?

Maintaining ethical standards, providing context, and avoiding manipulative editing are crucial for photojournalists to uphold the authenticity and credibility of their images.

What resources are available to improve photojournalism skills?

Various tutorials, workshops, and online platforms offer valuable resources and opportunities for photojournalists to enhance their skills and stay up-to-date with industry trends.