Mastering Editorial Photography


Editorial photos depict a newsworthy subject or event, that are usually not appropriate for commercial use. For example, an image of a famous actor or sports player may be newsworthy. But it would not be allowable to use that image in an commercial advertisement without the person’s permission.

Accreditation and choosing your subject

Editorial01First of all, it is good to know that an editorial picture is not only a picture of a celebrity at a fancy event that would require an accreditation. It can also be around the corner, during a public event, a free public concert featuring an unknown person. It can be a national celebration, a commemoration, a demonstration, as long as it is public, there is not any accreditation required.

If an editorial image can be used to illustrate newsworthy and current events (documentary Images), it can also be used to illustrate subjects of human interest, including arts, business, culture, health, fitness, lifestyle, social events, technology and travel. So the photo you took in Asia of a farmer on a rice field or people hanging on Copacabana are good as ‘Editorial use’.

As mentioned, topics of human interest can be useful for documentary purposes. You may submit photos from a building or an object that would have been rejected as a commercial photo without a signed property release. Eg. a museum or a famous red and white can.

Use of  your photo may be different than expected

Editorial02Don’t underestimate the potential impact of your editorial photo. A photo that was taken at a specific event, may serve a different purpose to a magazine or blog editor on the other side of the world.

Keep in mind that the world is big and editorial pictures can be used for a variety of different purposes that you may not have thought about.


Keywording is how potential customers find your photos when searching on websites like Think broad! Describe what is on the photo. Include all different words associated with the feelings that the people or the photo itself is expressing. Additionally, it is important to follow the guidelines and submit the pictures as required to avoid frustration and extra work for buyers.


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