Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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I was wondering how regional and local (i.e. smaller papers without in-house photographers) newspapers get their images, for example of an event or award ceremony?

I have never seen a paper here in the UK advertise the need for a photographer. Do they use freelancers? How would one go about getting a foot in the door?

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4 Answers 4

For regional and national news, they get them from Reuters, AP, or other newswire services. (In fact, in the US, that's where local papers get most of their content.) For stock photography for illustration and editorials (as opposed to reporting), Getty is very common. But, most surviving local papers do have in-house photographers, either on staff or as contracted freelancers.

For example, from today in the paper of the midwestern town where I grew up, an AP story on the presidential inauguration AP photo, and a local story on budget cuts with a local staff photo.

This is a small paper (circulation around 30,000), but there's a whole photo department listed on the contact page, including a Chief Photographer, two Photographers, and a Photo Intern. The newspaper in a smaller neighboring town (circulation 12,000) still has one photographer on staff. I imagine the situation is similar over on your side of the Atlantic.

The first personnel listing gives you an idea of how to get a foot in the door, by the way — internships. That link goes to the New York Time's photo intern position, which is probably highly contested. I expect that the larger newspapers (and the newswire services) usually fill their ranks from photographers who started on the smaller ones.

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A lot of newspapers use up market stock photography sites that sell editorial images. The key word here being "Editorial", I am not talking about stock images but rather recent journalistic images.

For example there are a few sites that have editorial sections within there stock photography, Shutterstock being one of them. One of the leading editorial stock image sites it Getty Images and they tend to use high end photographers who have a good portfolio.

With most of these sites you can purchase an image to use based upon how you intend to use it. If it is a simple web page image to complete a story then you may pay less than an image that will be used in a magazine.

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Some have staff photographers and some buy images from freelancers.

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That seems a little light as an answer, do you have some information to substantiate your recommendation? –  John Cavan Jan 22 '13 at 16:41
    
Local papers typically don't have much in the way of budgets. But they all buy great news photos. They may not pay much, but it lets you say you are a professional with published work, and it will probably buy some pizza and beer. So go take photos. If there are any big construction projects, or art fairs or anything hyper local, go take photos. –  Pat Farrell Jan 22 '13 at 17:19
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Usually local contracted photographers or staffed photographers of their own. Sometimes they will use images sent to them by readers or ask for photographs by readers.

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