How to become a professional photo editor


A photo editor employs designers and other editors and they create a rich experience for the readers or customers. They provide top quality licensed imagery and music to businesses. Their primary duty is to conduct photo shoots, research, and edit the incoming photos to choose the best images to describe the story. A photo editor needs to be creative and well-trained and must have a solid foundation in photography and art history. A professional photo editor should have basic knowledge about color balance, lighting, and even some film techniques and whose job involves determining millions of images best represent a project. A photo editor needs to perform the various task which includes:

  • Collaborating with the editor and team to recognize photography needs
  • Assign projects to the photographers and keep track of the deadlines
  • Review the photos, edit and perform necessary changes
  • Create and manage the calendar
  • Plan, organize, and manage production and events
  • Assign projects to other photographers
  • Select best photos for publishing
  • Ensure the resources and equipment are used efficiently
  • Communicate with the editors, photographers, and advertising representatives
  • Stay up to date with the latest practices and editing technologies

Why choose career as a photo editor?

Many people become professional photo editor after several years of experience and they pursue their career working in various sectors. As a photo editor, you don’t have to spend time in a photo studio taking pictures. Instead, they would be accountable for managing various aspects of the photo studio. They analyze what kind of photos are needed to be taken for the assignment and they provide those assignments to the photographers. They arrange travel for photographers and negotiate contracts. They need to book studio time and get permission for the shoot. They spend most of their time editing photos, picking up the best one, and deciding which one to be used.

How to become a professional photo editor?

The photo editor needs to perform various tasks and select pictures for publication. They may assign projects to photographers, assist photoshoots, and write captions. The professional must have a strong understanding of photography. The career allows the individual to express his creativity. Here are given few steps to become a photo editor.

Step 1: Complete a degree program or diploma

Many people have a great passion for photography. It is great if they take their talent to the next level. Photo editing job requires candidates to know about matching images to the text in magazines. A degree program in photography or photojournalism will educate students on how to capture the subject on film and use the photo editing software.

The photojournalism program includes various courses like reporting, multimedia, and staff management. The photography program covers the technical aspects of photography and will teach how to shoot different subjects. There are many community colleges and art schools that offer programs in visual art and other art programs.

At these schools, students will be instructed about the basics of photography, learn to use professional software to edit photography, take vision classes, shooting labs, and analyze the work of master photographers. The programs will make you learn advanced cameras, lighting, and filming techniques.

Students will learn using professional editing equipment and how to digitally manipulate the images to create an amazing effect.

Step 2: Gain practical experience

Students can remain aware of the magazine industry through an internship at locals, national or online publications. The intern will help students to work with photographers and writers, assist shoots, and revise images. They may work as a photographer apprentice and allow capturing photos directly and editing them. College newspaper will be having an opening for photo editors where students can apply for it. Even before you seek your first client, it is important to make sure your skills are marketable and ready to go. Students need to master their photo editing skills through practice and this can make difference in your future success. Students must develop web skills. They may be expected to work on both the print and online magazine sites. Students must spend time to build skills in online publishing and social media.

Step 3: Design a portfolio

Photographers need to create portfolios to showcase their strongest work and provide prospective employers with an idea about skills and their ability. Photo editors employing for the magazine may be assigned tasks in the various field for understanding different types of photography like news and sports. Candidate should also show their proficiency in image editing and layout. Clients will ask for samples before hiring you to do paid work. Students can also build an online portfolio to showcase photo editing skills.

Step 4: Gain work experience

To become a professional in this field, it is a must for every student to gain enough work experience. Aspiring photo editors can start working as a photographer or assistant in newspapers or magazines. The duty of editors will include scheduling photographers, finding apt stock, manage photo libraries, and pitching story ideas. They may work freelance or part-time before joining a full-time role. Students may also join a professional organization providing mentorship and while continuing education and job listing. Prospective photo editors can use these organizations to strengthen their knowledge and build contact.

Top skills required for a photo editor

Let’s find out what skills a photo editor should possess to remain successful in the workplace.

  • Photoshop – clean and color corrected photos to be used in the publication using photoshop and Adobe Creative Suite. Must be able to perform color correction with digital photos of individual and group sports photos using color balance.
  • Product photography – editing product photography from still life to models in clothing.
  • Art direction – work along with photographers providing art direction and creative production support
  • Editorial style – develop and maintain a house editorial style. Determine areas of research and licensed photographs according to prescribed editorial style and format standards.
  • Online publication – edit tone and direct 20 to 30 photos a day for print and online publication.

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