Learn from your mistakes

The single most important thing you can do to improve as a photojournalist is to edit your own work, says KSDK-TV’s Eric Voss. “Learn from your mistakes and missed opportunities,” he wrote in the NPPA’s News Photographer magazine. “You will discover new avenues for creativity. Here are a few more of Voss’s tips:

  • Take full responsibility for making sure you have the pictures needed to tell the complete story…The reporter cannot write to video that is not there.
  • Treat every shot as if it is going to make air. Make every shot the best it can be.
  • Learn as much as you can about lighting. Use natural light whenever possible.
  • Remember, we do stories for television viewers, not for each other…Make decisions based on what best serves the viewer. Never compromise a story for style.

Voss is an award-winning photojournalist who routinely watches NPPA tapes, seeks advice from co-workers and attends seminars. “There is always room to grow and someone next to you to learn from,” he says. The implicit message: Don’t think you’ll learn all there is to know about journalism in the classroom or your first or second job. Make a life-long commitment to learning.