Picture editing career?
April 5, 2005 9:48 AM   Subscribe

I'm interested in being a picture researcher and have done a fair bit of investigation into the career and what it entails. Does anyone work in the field? It would be great to hear any tips about highs and lows of the job, and ways to make myself stand out from the pack when looking for work.
posted by different to Work & Money (7 answers total)
I'm a bit confused since your title says editing but your question asks about researching. Which?
posted by scazza at 10:13 AM on April 5, 2005

For what purpose? For press, for TV, for web, internally in a picture agency, or other?
posted by bonaldi at 10:21 AM on April 5, 2005

And when you say "picture" you mean photography, right?
posted by scazza at 10:22 AM on April 5, 2005

scazza, let's say researcher for the sake of this discussion, as that's where I'll be beginning. When I say 'picture', I mean photographs and illustrations. Images, essentially.

bonaldi, basically, it depends. It depends on what comes up for me. Possibly freelance, or for a magazine, newspaper, publisher, website or agency.
posted by different at 11:48 AM on April 5, 2005

I would guess that only the very largest daily newspapers have dedicated photo researchers. When I worked at the Seattle Times it was a crapshoot/collaboration among the reporters, page designers and staff at the photo department.
posted by argybarg at 1:16 PM on April 5, 2005

It would likely be part of a larger set of responsibilities, but you could also work in the museum field. (Think conceptual museums with changing exhibitions, rather than fine arts museums.)
posted by desuetude at 2:14 PM on April 5, 2005

Our dedicated researchers work as a resource for the picture desks of the titles we publish. They operate basically the same service as the librarians provide for the reporters.

If a picture editor asks them to find a particular picture, they will search our online and paper archives, and search online and traditional phone-based photo agencies, stock archives etc. They're also responsible for ensuring photographs that we file electronically are correctly captioned, and maintaining the archives.

The work isn't well paid, and in day-to-day duties they have almost no visual input -- they provide pictures for the picture editors to choose from.

It seems a very strange job to choose as a goal in itself, as it is more commonly a route into becoming a picture editor, which is an entirely different kettle. Choosing to be a print picture researcher is somewhat like choosing to be the guy who fetches and files the books in the library.
posted by bonaldi at 2:56 PM on April 5, 2005

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