I am confused between citizen photojournalist and Press photojournalist. As people know, if you don't have any qualification in media or some awards in photography it is nearly impossible to become Press photojournalist as every news agency demand it. In other hand, citizen photojournalist who don't have qualification or skill, can become a Press photojournalist if he/she is in War torn country eg(Syria,Afghanistan..etc). So how can a citizen photojournalist in peaceful country (Australia,Norway etc..) can become a paid Press Photojournalist for freelance? And also most of the place are banned for citizen photojournalist and only allow the Press photojournalist with the press ID?

My clear point of question is "how can I earn money as a freelance photojournalist without qualification in media?" as freelance photojournalist need news agency for him/her to send photos.


Become an "Ambulance chaser". Both in real and in figurative sense. Follow ambulances, firetrucks, police cars. Take photos when suitable. Offer the photos to local newspapers. That's a long road, takes time and most cases are such that you can't get a photograph or if you can, nobody wants to buy and publish it. I would not actually sit and wait for them, but when I see one, I would follow it.

18-55mm lens @ 22mm - 1/15 sec - f/4.0 - ISO 6400
18-55mm lens @ 22mm - 1/15 sec - f/4.0 - ISO 6400
Try to capture what has happened rather than just a generic collection of rescue vehicles like in the above photo. You'd never guess what really too place in that one.

Ambulance chaser in figurative sense follows news and advertisements. When there's a school having a special occasion, like a school play or one of those parents evening at school, go and take photos. A local kennel club giving a dog show? Take photos of the winners and judges. Kids league football match? Take photos! Big newspapers are not interested in these photos, but the small local paper often is. There's no big money though, but every photo published in a newspaper is a merit for you. You can slowly build merit this way and some day it just might pay off.


The easiest way is to start by blogging or working with a smaller Internet based organization (which tend to have smaller staff). It often isn't paid or significantly paid work getting started, but that's the point of it is to build experience rather than get paid at first.

I spent a number of years working as the IT Director and Video Producer for WiiCafé (formerly GameCube Café) and while my only pay was some equipment and free web hosting for my personal sites (which worked out to about $100 a month in value for about 6 to 15 hours of work a month on average), it was a great experience that got me press credentials and got me in to the Electronic Entertainment Expo. I got experience directing production crews and running interviews in a real news context even if the entire shop was only about 15 people.

Another great option is to work as a publicity photographer for an events company. If you can't find a paid gig, this is another one that doesn't take much time to be able to do on the side. Working events like music festivals and other similar events is a great way to get your photos used for stuff and to get experience working in news like conditions.

The biggest thing I would say is don't go in to it assuming you will get a paid job in journalism photography. Do it because you love doing journalism photography and the jobs will become available as a result of your experience and skill (if sufficient).

  • Hmmm... Newspapers and other media outlets are laying off their photographers. I suspect this is a very dead-end career path for the vast majority of people interested in it.
    – Joanne C
    Nov 30 '13 at 4:57
  • 2
    JoanneC: Newspapers in general are going downhill. Media is moving towards the web. There is still a need for photographers, just the locations that use them are changing. Photography in general is a very hard career path though. That's why I'm a professional photographer as a side job and a software developer as a day job.
    – AJ Henderson
    Nov 30 '13 at 17:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.