find tough times on the Web
online journalism continues to develop,
camera-toting reporters are finding new photo
opportunities on the Internet.
leveled the playing field," said Mark
Milstein, a Budapest-based photographer with Atlantic News Service, which includes Knight-Ridder as a client.
"Freelance photographers or journalists,
with little or no support, can compete on a
story-to-story basis with the biggest and the
best news agencies, using the power of the
has covered conflicts from Kosovo to the Middle East, no longer has
to primitively develop film in hotel bathrooms
and then hope to find a wire office or a good
phone line. Last summer, for example, he spent
nearly a week photographing the deadly
after-effects of earthquakes in Turkey, and
though almost all local infrastructure was badly
damaged, Milstein was able to file daily using a
digital camera and a GSM cell phone.
New digital technology
and the Internet's possibilities are transforming
photojournalism, as most newspapers move away
completely from film, and as freelancers find
better ways to market themselves.
photography Web sites and magazines now focus
on new filmless cameras, software, and how to use
the best new photo tools and toys. Trade
magazines like Photo District News are heavy on consumer
reports about digital cameras and photo Web site
to post any photos on their Web sites shoot all
their print photos with digital cameras.
are using the unlimited space on the Internet to
present the news day in pictures and to praise
and spotlight their photo staffs.
offers pictures from each of a paper's
sections--business to sports--as well as special
features like a gallery of Pulitzer-winner Carol
The New York Times online gives its cyber
readership access to "slide
of special news events -- like Communist China's
50th birthday, the fall of the Berlin Wall 10
years later, and the millennial New Year's Eve in
every time zone.
provides video clips of lead stories and breaking
news, as does CNN.com, the BBC News Web site and scores of
others. Washingtonpost.com even has staff video
shooters covering news events like the clashes
with police during the anti-IMF
in DC this spring.
may be the Internet's most threatening impact on
the traditional still-news photographer.
going to be more and more common on the
Internet," says New York-based freelance
photojournalist Tyler Hicks who has worked in the
Balkans for the Associated Press and the New York Times.
"Get someone to shoot a few minutes of video
of a news event and run it, or simply take single
images from the video and post them as
less talent to shoot for the Web, because of
video," says Hicks, who still shoots with
classic Leica cameras. "It will be harder to
stand out as a photographer. ... It takes away
from a photographer's ability and eye in many
While many of
Hicks' photos have been published on the Web, he
has never dealt directly with an online editor.
If his or any other photographer's pictures end
up online, they probably get there through a huge
photo agency, such as Corbis or Liaison.
Stock and news
photo agencies are part of the overall Internet
marketing toolkit that is helping photographers
sell more work.
Newsmakers, a two-year-old
"e-wire service," has a straightforward
Web site for news photographers to post and sell
their images. An approved buyer can easily view
thumbnail images and check a price list at a
The price list
highlights another difference of online
photojournalism: Web sites pay less for photos.
photographer is on an assignment for The New York
Times in Europe, a typical day rate is $250 for
shooting, $150 for transmitting the images, plus
related expenses. If all goes well the picture
runs in the print edition, and is posted on the
Times' Web site.
If the same
photographer sees some news event -- say a
violent protest in Vienna -- and sends images to
Newsmakers, he has to wait for some news outfit
to buy it before seeing any money. (This has
always been the case with agencies.) If a Web
site buys one of his images, he gets 50% of the
$75 buying price. The photographer gets the same
cut on each additional sale, unlike at
traditional wire services.
doesn't just deal with Web sites, even though its
entire operation is electronic; it also sells to
newspapers and magazines, and charges them higher
rates. And after all, submitting photos to an
agency is far easier than getting a NYT
photographer has the chance of hundreds of
newspapers running his photo," says Richard
Ellis, CEO of Liaison-Newsmakers.
Ellis says that
the agency has 800 clients; 50% are newspapers,
25% Web sites, 20% magazines and the other five
includes publications like college papers.
Besides the big
agencies, photographers' personal Web sites and
online publications are also prime marketing
"It is a
wonderful opportunity for exposure," said
Genevieve Field, co-founder of the tasteful arty
erotic site Nerve.com.
creating a virtual gallery," she said.
"It gives photographers the opportunity to
be seen around the world."
doesn't pay for the nude photos it posts; it's
more of a content- for-exposure trade, where
photographers have a chance to sell prints to
Nerve's 750,000 monthly readers, Field says.
the Internet "is not is a great way to make
money," Field said, but nerve.com's
photographers boast strong reprint sales, she
said. Nerve features a new photographer each
week, and their portfolios remain on the site.
business Web sites are offering some photography
jobs. Scanner techs, photo editors and
researchers are needed, and there are even some
slim chances to work directly for online news
freelancers from time to time," says latimes.com Photo Editor Jerome
Adamstein. "Ninety-five percent of our
pictures come from the Times photo staff, but we
often do original features for calender.com and
that's when we work with freelancers."
There may be few
full-time staff online photographer jobs right
now, but they're out there. And they probably
won't be advertised at old-school newspaper job
sites like Editor & Publisher's. The National Press
Photographer's Association job information bank or journalismjobs.com would be better bets.
But non-news Internet companies focusing on
entertainment, sports, business and goods will be
leading the way. For example Broadbandsports.com, a site for
"hard-core sports fans," has its own
staff of people shooting both video and
still-photography be able to survive and even
co-exist peacefully with video on the Internet?
Newsmakers' Ellis isn't worried.
video as a major force," he said, "but
there will always be a market for stills."
Lowney es un
fotoperiodista y escritor freelance, radicado
actualmente en Los Angeles. Sus textos y fotos
han sido publicados en periódicos y revistas de
Estados Unidos y Europa, así como en
publicaciones en línea. Este texto fue publicado
Journalism Review y se
reproduce en Sala de Prensa con la autorización expresa de su