Budding press photographers learn about careers and training

More than 50 budding press photographers and photojournalists gathered at Press Association in London yesterday to hear about training and career opportunities in the industry, at a seminar organised by the NCTJ and supported by FujiFilm UK.

Speaking at the event were: Martin Keene, group picture editor at Press Association; Peter Nicholls, photographer at The Times; Steve Phillips, picture editor at South Wales Evening Post; Paul Walters, picture editor at SWNS; Ben Birchall, photographer at Press Association; and Lewis Whyld, photographer at Press Association.

Martin opened the event by speaking about his career and how he progressed to his current position. He showed his very first cutting of a cricket match at Old Trafford as well as later shots of key events including the Queen visiting Nelson Mandela for the first time, the Duchess of York climbing Everest, Royal weddings, London 2012 and also a photograph taken from the top of Nelson’s column. He also spoke about the importance of training, particularly in law and understanding the PCC Code.

Following this introduction attendees were able to ask questions to a panel of industry figures chaired by Steve Phillips and made up of Ben Birchall, Paul Walters and Lewis Whyld. They spoke about the use of smartphones and video cameras and how video is increasingly being used so it’s very important to learn the skills for shooting film as well as stills.

They offered tips for breaking into the industry, including getting to know the local area and communities in order to pitch unique pictures and stories to publications. They also spoke about the importance of getting to know other photographers in the industry and making contact with local publications.

Times photographer Peter Nicholls closed the seminar with a talk about his career and experiences. He shared stories from his travels covering the Iraq war, American election, famine in Sudan and the tragedies of the Boxing Day tsunami and Haitian earthquake. He also answered questions about the technicalities of photography and the stories behind some of his pictures.

After the seminar, some of the students from the very first NCTJ Press Photography course in 1964 got together for a reunion and to share stories.

The NCTJ accredits two courses in press photography and photojournalism, one at The Sheffield College and the other at Up to Speed Journalism Training. More information about the NCTJ Diploma in Press Photography and Photojournalism can be found here.