Newspaper Photography Careers: Job Options and Information

Sep 27, 2019

Newspaper photography careers require no formal education. Learn about the job options, duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

Those interested in working in the field of photography can work as a newspaper photographer or as a photo editor. Photographers capture images of people and events that are newsworthy. Photo editors review content to select photos for publication and determine how the images will be presented.

Essential Information

Newspaper photography careers include working as a staff photographer or photo editor. Staff photographers, also known as photojournalists, photograph news events, while photo editors oversee photographers and make final photo content and layout decisions for the publication. Both jobs require photography knowledge, as well as a variety of multi-media skills, such as video production and slideshow presentation for online media. Both positions typically require a bachelor's degree; potential photojournalists may complete a program in photography or photojournalism while editors may also consider a degree in journalism or communications.

News Photographer Photo Editor
Required Education Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 6% decline (for all photographers ) -3% (for all editors)
Median Pay (2018)* $49,680 (for photographers in the newspaper, periodical and book industries) $59,480 (for all editors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Jobs within the photography department of a newspaper include both staff photographers and editors. Many editors start out as photographers and move up into the management-level position.

Newspaper Photographers

Newspaper photographers are photojournalists who record newsworthy events, people and places within the newspaper's readership area, as well as select national and international events. Newspaper photographers need to have technical knowledge about using digital cameras and accessories and professional experience about photography, including exposure, composition and lighting. They also need to know how to use computer editing software to upload and prepare digital images for publication.

Also, newspaper photographers are responsible for obtaining accurate information for photo captions. This includes the name of the subject, location of the picture, and the reason why the photograph was taken. Generally, newspaper photographers have flexible office hours that allow them to cover scheduled news events as well as breaking news whenever they occur.

Newspaper Photo Editors

Newspaper photo editors work with other editorial editors to determine how photographs and stories will be displayed in the newspaper. They decide how much space is needed for photos and which photographs will be used on the front page or on the newspaper's website. Also, photo editors oversee newspaper photographers in newsroom operations.

Job Options

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were about 49,560 photographers in 2018, not including a large number of self-employed workers. Salaried photographers, which include news photographers, mostly worked for professional, scientific or technical services, broadcasting and newspapers. The BLS stated that employment of photographers is expected to decline 6% between 2018 and 2028. There will be an increased demand for digital images due to expanding online versions of newspapers, magazines and journals.

The industries that employed the most photographers in 2018 were other professional, scientific and technical services, radio and television broadcasting and newspapers, according to the BLS. The top paying industries were aerospace product and parts manufacturing, followed by local government. The states with the highest employment of photographers in May 2018 were California, Florida, New York, Texas and Illinois, according to the BLS.


As the Internet becomes the main source for news, photographers must keep up with advancing technology, multimedia tools and platforms. News photographers and photo editors must have video skills to stream live footage onto a newspaper's website. Photo galleries and slideshows with audio are also being added to online newspapers, requiring good computer skills for newspaper photographers and photo editors.

A career as a newspaper photographer or a photo editor typically requires a bachelor's degree in photography. Courses in journalism and training on computers may be an asset as more newspapers switch to online platforms to reach their audience.

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