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Thread: Need Advice: Route to photojournalism

  1. #1
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    Default Need Advice: Route to photojournalism

    Hi all Snappers,

    I am currently a Junior College student who is dealing in the Arts faculty, namely geography, maths, economics.

    I have always been interested in the field of journalism, namely in sports,environment and local news.

    I am,however,getting growingly interested in the field of photojournalism ever since i got hitched with photography little more than a year ago. Though its a pretty short period, i would feel that it might provide me with a job i that i like in the future. I would like to evaluate my options as to aspire to be a photo/journalist for a newspaper.

    Seriously, i don't really see myself 9-5 type of worker when i am working in the socciety.

    I have also asked myself if i was just getting infatuated with the photography as a hobby, which i don't think so. I have always like to visualise subjects, but have never been able to keep them in solid memory until i discovered the might of photography. Of course, till now, my photographic techniques are far from acceptable.

    It took me great courage to post this thread as i hope more people and even professionals in the industry may give me some advice.

    My questions are,

    1) What kind of qualifications should i have?
    2) Where should i kick off? keep a portfolio?
    3) Do i have a choice of what kind of genres of jounalism (or photojournalism) i would like to do?

    As i am still schooling, i would like to get sound advice so as to step into the correct path as i continue with my education route.

    Please do give me advices.
    Do spare no mercy.
    Last edited by Wryer; 21st June 2003 at 02:36 PM.

  2. #2
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    Join your school photographic society abd maybe take up a course on photojournalism ... from PSS or Objectifs
    Last edited by eug; 21st June 2003 at 08:01 PM.

  3. #3

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    Just out of curiosity, what kind of life do you envision you would like to have in the future? e.g. a HDB apartment, a condominuim, a landed property, a van, a 1600cc car, a 2 odd litre european marque, a beautiful wife, a smart wife, a beautiful and smart wife, 1 child, 3 children, 5 children, live without your parents, live with your parents, support your parents etc etc etc

    When you look at what you plan to do in the future, and what you want in future, and if the two cannot coincide, then something has to give. So the question here is, can specialising in photojournalism or just journalism get you to what you want in life?

    I am sure that material things like money are not everything in life, but when you have mouths to feed, the material things tend to be become, well, much more material over interests in terms of importance.

    One other aspect would be to ask yourself, what you can do well.

  4. #4
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    Joining PSS for a course is a good idea. Thanks!

    Parchiao,
    i understand that many problem arise when we try to balance material wealth and the current income we earn.
    Its always money not enough. =/

    As for this time, the motive is something like...'i don't mind working hard for something i enjoy doing'

    As to what i can do well..seriously, im not sure what i can do well.

    Thank you bringing the point of material and income.

    Thanks!

  5. #5

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    Journalism is a profession. You may want to attain a degree or diploma in this field.

    I cite an example of a local education route on Communication Studies (journalism is a field in Comm Studies) in general.

    The School of Communication & Information of the Nanyang Technological University offers a 4-year programme leading to a Bachelor’s degree (with Honours) in Communication Studies. Its broad-based curriculum prepares students to design, manage and assess media and information systems to serve government, industry and the public in a rapidly changing communication environment.

    IT-related online and interactive components have been incorporated into the new curriculum to keep up with the ever-changing technological challenges. Students are required to complete a number of core subjects, prescribed electives and foundation subjects in the first and second years of study. In the third and fourth years, they specialise in one of the following four divisions:

    • Division of Journalism and Publishing
    • Division of Electronic and Broadcast Media
    • Division of Public and Promotional Communication
    • Division of Communication Research

    Click on the below link to find out more from the School's website:
    http://www.ntu.edu.sg/sci/main/welcome.htm

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    thanks mervlam!

    I tried searching for it in NUS website, but didnt know that it falls under Comm Studies.

    thanks!

  7. #7

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    PSS is probably the worst route to take if you really want to do photojournalism......

    I suggest you start on your own photo projects... and you'll slowly see yourself gravitate toward the group of people who do it for a living, or they will spot you and ask you to join them.

    it takes alot of self initiation.

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by rueyloon
    PSS is probably the worst route to take if you really want to do photojournalism......

    I suggest you start on your own photo projects... and you'll slowly see yourself gravitate toward the group of people who do it for a living, or they will spot you and ask you to join them.

    it takes alot of self initiation.
    Umm.
    What do you mean by doing my own photo projects? Like...writing an article based on my photos on a single theme? And how do i 'submit' to those people who do it for a living?

    Thanks rueyloon! your suggestion is very practical and direct, which got me very curious.

    Another qn,
    as Parchiao has pointed on the income and material part,
    no matter how i tell myself its not crucial, i believe its a part not to be belittled as it concerns my family.

    How much does a photojournalist/ journalist earn?
    How is it calculated? By the no. of works? hrs? monthly basis?

    Regards!

  9. #9
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    Originally posted by rueyloon
    PSS is probably the worst route to take if you really want to do photojournalism......
    Care to explain?

  10. #10

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    do a project means "do a personal project".

    since you said you like this field, you can start now, just start taking photos and writting about stuff that concerns you, things that move you, things that you have to bring out to the public. You can always publish it on the web, the get ppl to see it.

    Attend function or exhibitions and talk to the photograpers there, bring you work along and show it to them.

    and.... there is a website which is more concerned about photojournalism, that is www.offstone.com

    and off course, some good websites to give you inspiration.

    http://www.musarium.com/stories.html
    http://www.journale.com/aidsdecade/menu.html

    most important is your portfolio, and alot of self initiation, meaning do it and show it to people. Don't wait for people to tell you what to shoot and what to go after.

  11. #11

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    Originally posted by eug
    Care to explain?
    I'm sure there are courses there for journalism, but look at the output of PSS, there are more of a saloon photography club, or photo art.

    there is a course by objectifs on journalism, taught by brian van de breek, ST photographer.

    you can check out his website and see his photos.

    no spoon feeding, very easy find using a search engine

  12. #12

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    Just remember that interest and ability goes hand in hand. If you want to excel, you have to be both. Having interest alone will get you nowhere, but having the ability gets you further.

    I think what rueyloon said is excellent, try it and see if you can cultivate the interest into an ability.

    Am I getting confusing?

  13. #13
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    Originally posted by rueyloon
    do a project means "do a personal project".

    since you said you like this field, you can start now, just start taking photos and writting about stuff that concerns you, things that move you, things that you have to bring out to the public. You can always publish it on the web, the get ppl to see it.

    Attend function or exhibitions and talk to the photograpers there, bring you work along and show it to them.

    and.... there is a website which is more concerned about photojournalism, that is www.offstone.com

    and off course, some good websites to give you inspiration.

    http://www.musarium.com/stories.html
    http://www.journale.com/aidsdecade/menu.html

    most important is your portfolio, and alot of self initiation, meaning do it and show it to people. Don't wait for people to tell you what to shoot and what to go after.
    Roger that.

    Thanks!

  14. #14

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    This is how I would do it if I were 18 again and raring to go.

    1. Forget about wife and kids, condo and car. Sorry, art = sacrifice.

    2. Build up a portfolio - shots that show my technical as well as creative abilities, and my ability to establish rapport with my subjects.

    3. Use the portfolio to work for a local rag (Straits Times, New Paper, Her World, Young Parents, whatever) as a photographer, part time, free lance or otherwise. The important thing is to get published. Of course, the work must have quality. Keep copies.

    4. Once a decent body of work has been built up, start approaching international agencies for assignments, or free-lance and sell your pictures to stock agencies.

    5. Promote myself. Publish photojournalistic books (even at a loss!) and get them well-publicized. Contacts with the local press people will pay off at this time. So remember to make friends, not enemies. In Singapore, sleazy subjects like sex, prostitution, AIDS etc will be commercially successful. Forget pictorials of the Esplanade or National Day.

    Once you're successful, remember that you heard it here first. Then go marry a celebrity and live happily ever after.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Need Advice: Route to photojournalism

    [
    Do spare no mercy. [/B]

    in case some ppl are wondering about my credentials and of course, my 'classics' posting, rest assured that this is a SERIOUS REPLY.


    here's my route to photojournalism.

    this post is very 'layman'... easy to understand for most people!

    but surely this thread and forum isn't for the elitist and the 'already there' photographers?




    here goes.....

    it is very important to know wat u want to do with your life firstly.

    fashion fotographer(GOOD $$ and gets to do some really good travelling)?
    sports fotographer(not so sure)?

    nature fotographer(not very clear...but guess its about patience)?

    since photojournalism is ur cup of tea.....
    firstly, u must do well in ur A'levels.

    then...
    go to a university and take up journalism(is it NTU MASS COMMS?)
    get that degree. it is beneficial to haf a DEGREE in any industry.

    take up photography in the meanwhile...
    start from scratch.
    i learnt how to mix chemicals and develop my own B&W photos and how to actually use a lens, the meaning and usageof aperture, the function... the shutter speed controls... so on and so for. started from Manual Camera too!

    then moving onto coloured films...

    i was a photographer's assistant while pursuing my studies. i learnt preofessional studio lighting set-up and most importantly on-site photography(COMMERCIAL kind). i would suggest u get attached to a photographer and work as his/her assistant and learn the trade from him/her.

    but most fotographer would prefer their assistant to have some prior knowledge of how to set up lightings...and such.

    we all have to start somewhere, don't we?

    then, build up on ur PORTFOLIO.
    very important.

    now, the industry emphasizes alot on digital photography.
    a good skill/ hand in photography softwares is a plus(Adobe's Photoshop etc.).

    u should also know Adobe's Pagemaker, Macromedia's Freehand...
    in short, knowing more softwares is good... oh ya... THAT microsoft office, of cos.

    then u mux wait and hope that SPH or other magazine companies advertising for a photojournalist or even a photographer...

    alternatively, u can EMAIL them and MAIL them and notify them of ur availability. send ur CV. sometimes u have to be more pro-active!


    PASSION WILL TAKE YOU FURTHER.

    ok brother! hope u're clear!

    u can PM me for more info.

    yeah babe yeah!!!
    Last edited by sadness; 22nd June 2003 at 12:56 AM.

  16. #16
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    Originally posted by Wryer
    thanks mervlam!

    I tried searching for it in NUS website, but didnt know that it falls under Comm Studies.

    thanks!
    cos Comm Studies is NTU, not NUS...

    anyway, Wryer, if you're serious about becoming a photojournalist, there's only one real path in SG - go find out how to be a photog intern @ SPH. they're the only ones who maintain a respectable stable of photographers.

    magazines and other publications are another matter altogether. can PM if you need more advice in this, i've some experience in this area.

  17. #17
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    Adapted from sadnes... YEAh babY YeaH!

    Very happy to hear from so many of you, as my initial fears were uncalled for. I wanted to know more about it as i know im still young, i don't wish to grow old and regret why i didnt take the route.

    I really thank SS, sadness and Larry for your inputs.

    I realise and agree with SS and sadness that i must be able to produce a portfolio of gd photos, first and foremost.

    I think i really need to brush up my photography eye within this 3 years!

    As brought up by sadness and Larry, i agree that bring an assistant or intern to a professional is truly very helpful. It really lets me know the scope of work, and know how life is with it at full stretch, in case i grow sick of it even at internship, i can still call quits and venture into other areas.

    Lastly, i am really touched by the love of CS, many of you have approached me directly with advices and offers, and people who offered to help me....

    SS, i will always its CS who helped me, no matter if i will be successful. CS started my photography in many ways.


    Thanks!
    Last edited by Wryer; 22nd June 2003 at 01:37 AM.

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    In all of this discussion on photojournalism, I would have to agree with Rueyloon the most. The reason is that irregardless of whatever educational background you have, for example earning a photojournalism degree from the University of Missouri (reputation for being the best photojournalism school in the US) would not get you a job with the Straits Times or any newspaper in the world (not wanting to insult anyone, but maybe in 3rd world countries).

    Most photo editors of newspapers would be only be interested in one thing. How and what is your portfolio like? Are you able to do a job of a photojournalists? The most important one being are you able to take shots that really tell a story by itself and I do not mean photo essays (no doubt that sometimes it is applicable, but so far not really in the Singapore context).

    That is what I have learnt from a 20 minute session with the deputy photo editor of the Straits Times. Even if you do not have a degree, but you can produce the kind of work that Straits Times requires, they will offer you a position with them.

  19. #19
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    Default by the way...

    hello brother!

    getting an intership...with SPH is very very hard.
    Point and Shoot is also...a very much revered skill.

    however,
    they are offering scholarship for students keen to do Art Diploma courses in NYP, TP, LASALLE-SIA, College of the Arts and NAFA. u'll haf a job with them upon graduation.

    u might want to find out more...

    (A levels' holders + completed NS liability are of course...on a higher chance than compared to an O'levels'holder who completed his NS too.)

    SPH is also offering scholarships for journalism...

    u can check it out from SPH webbie...


    here...


    here's wishing u...

    BEST of HEALTH and Luck.
    take care!

    yeah babe yeah!!!!

  20. #20
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    Firstly you need to develop a good solid (print) portfolio demonstrating the following key competencies.

    Compositional skill
    Understanding of lighting, in partcular working in adverse light.
    Effective communication of emotions, an idea, concept or event
    Competency is thinking laterally and constructively
    Competency in the black and white medium.

    If shooting on film the following needs to be addressed.

    High 'keeper' ratio relative to the number of frames expended.

    Prints should be 10x8", 10x12" or 11x14"

    Qualifications
    Qualifications are less important than ability, however this doesn't mean that they can be disregarded. Positions for Juniors or Cadets are often subject to high numbers of applicants, particularly magazine and newspaper positions. You may well find yourself up against highly talented and tertiary qualified graduates not only of Photojournalism but also Journalism courses.

    General
    Most editors I've worked with also appreciate someone who knows more than just the photographic side of Photojournalism, they also appreciate a good understanding of social issues, poltics and quick wits coupled with the tennacity to see an assignment through.

    A cool head, patience and the ability to work under extreme pressure and to tight deadlines is also required in most 'staff' PJ positions. Also there are other factors such as being able to work long hours on little or no sleep if covering a major event or on call, having sufficient socialising ability to talk your way out of trouble and the ability to get on with people.

    Finally the hardest quality of all to quantify is the ability to be dispassionate and professional, even when shooting material that makes you sick to the stomach eg: Horrific murder scenes, accidents, injured kids and animal cruelty etc, arsehole celebrities and worse yet their goons.

    There's a lot more to being a good PJ than most folks realise
    The Ang Moh from Hell
    Professional Photography - many are called, few are chosen!

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