What is Editorial Photography?
Editorial photography is about creating an image that tells a story, documents an event or depicts a real-life issue. Editorial photographs can be used along with text to help illustrate the subject of the story. Editorial photographs often illustrate newsworthy subjects in the areas of business, politics, travel, culture, entertainment and sport.
Editorial photography is often compared with commercial photography – whilst the subjects in both can be similar, the difference is in the process, result and ultimate use of the images. The differences in editorial and commercial photography is further explored in my post Commercial vs Editorial Photography.
Editorial Photography Uses
Editorial photographs appear in newspapers and magazines, blogs and websites, textbooks, essays, documentaries, news reports and editorial feature articles.
Restrictions on Use
However, editorial photographs cannot be used in advertising unless a model release and/or a property release is obtained. If an editorial image contains copyrighted logos or recognizable branding it can only be used for editorial purposes.
Photographs taken at events or certain locations may also require a press pass or accreditation. This includes fashion shows, exhibitions at art galleries or museums, musical and theatrical performances, concerts and festivals, trade shows and conventions and sporting events.
Editorial Photography Copyright & Licencing
Usually the photographer retains copyright of an editorial photograph, and licences a client to use the image for a specific purpose and for a specific period.
Post Processing Editorial Photographs
Since they are meant to be documenting real-world events, editorial photographs should only have minor technical adjustments to exposure, contrast and colour, no creative processing such as HDR etc. Even some cropping can change the interpretation of an event.
Manipulating the image to remove elements of the scene are also
Editorial Title, Description and Keywords
The title, description and keywords on an editorial image should be truthful to what it is depicting, and give enough detail so that a writer using the image knows that it is relevant to the subject.
Working as an Editorial Photographer
Editorial photographers often submit their portfolio to potential clients, such as magazines, to be considered for future features, or may pitch a specific story. Editorial images such as those covering both hard and soft news events can also be submitted to picture agencies who specialise in editorial or news images.