I am very pleased with the images that are showing up daily under the new editorial license. It snows in Athens and BOOM, Dreamstime displays images of the Roman Forum covered in snow. Barack Obama appears at a rally and we see him quickly in the news section. (We have a terrific collection of the candidates for the US Presidential nomination now.) Paris Hilton steps out on the street and a Dreamstime contributor with the best vantage point photographs her while the paparazzi look on from behind police lines.
Many Dreamstime photographers have unique access to news items where ever they may occur due to the over 200 countries where you reside. Because many DT contributors are not full time photographers, we have images that could only be taken by people with unique access due to their professions or jobs. So be certain to take advantage of your particular opportunities when you think of images for the editorial section.
What makes a terrific news photo? Sometimes it is simply being at the right place at the right time. In the days before affordable digital cameras put them in the hands of millions and millions, it was a fortunate amateur who was able to photograph a disaster or other unexpected event. Always keep a camera with you. The key photo of the London subway bombing was taken with a cell phone camera, as I recall.
Secondly arrange to get in early to events that will have editorial significance to get the best position. Obviously if the working press is there and you don’t have a press pass, you will be at a disadvantage for the ‘classic’ images. Keep your eyes open as you never know what might happen as the event proceeds. Often the press are all grouped together in one vantage point and thus will all have similar images but different from yours. Perhaps the most significant photo of the assassination of Robert Kennedy may have been taken by a high school student who followed Kennedy into the kitchen where he was shot. The press photographers had mostly left the scene after his speech as I learned when I was an expert witness in one of the most fascinating cases in which I have been involved.
News photos often get published when the quality is less than optimum if the image is the only one available. I remember a shot of Michael Jackson with his hair on fire that happened on a stage in LA while he was rehearsing for a soft drink commercial. The resulting image sold for thousands of dollars, as it was the only image available. And it was difficult to tell not only that it was Michael Jackson but also that it was even a person. Try to remember in the heat of the moment to pay attention to the light and the composition of the image. The key is a combination of patience and quick thinking. Try to anticipate what will happen next and be in a position to capture it. Otherwise the best image might just be like the big fish that got away.
John Harrington's blog has an interesting video
Notice as you watch the video that the photographers covering the US State of the Union Address had an idea of what key image that they were looking for from the location that they had been assigned. Don't be a passive observer: plan ahead by thinking of what the key images might be.
Suggestion: if you aren’t trained to be a war photographer, stay away from conflicts even if you can drive to them. This may sound silly—drive to a war? However, amateur photographers are wounded or killed each year trying to shoot armed conflicts close to where they live. Leave this work to those who understand it. I remember Magnum photographer, Giles Peres, telling me about how he fixed his camera when he was shooting the troubles in Ireland years ago so that he didn’t have to look away from the action to adjust the manual lens. He fixed projections out from each setting on the lens so that he could adjust the settings without taking his eyes off what was going on. That was his way of watching out both for his safety and for the most important pictures.
More links to information
about Peres and his work in Bosnia and Iran. He continues to work today documenting world conflicts.