The State of News Photography

The Lives and Livelihoods of Photojournalists in the Digital Age

The image is a central and vital component in modern communication. Yet the photographers who are responsible for making, processing, and disseminating professional pictures on a daily basis have rarely been studied. Who are they, where and how do they work, what rewards do they receive, and what problems and risks do they face?

The State of News Photography presents information about the world’s professional photographic community, with a special focus on photojournalists. Released on 23 September 2015, it is the outcome of a research project conducted by the University of Stirling, the World Press Photo Foundation, and the University of Oxford’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

The study investigates the identities, working conditions, practices, technology use, and ethics of a large number of photographers across the world. The report is based on an online survey of professional photographers who entered the 2015 World Press Photo Contest. A total of 1,556 photographers from more than 100 countries completed the 63-question survey.

This is the first large-scale international survey of its kind. It is hoped to be repeated annually to track the changes and circumstances of professional photojournalists and to examine the impact of the digital era on their lives and livelihoods. You can download the report here.

Below are three of the 20 key findings listed in the executive summary, found on pages 6-8 of the report.

75% of photographers make less than $40,000 per year from photography.
The majority of photographers use Facebook as their social media of choice.
66% of photographers we surveyed are happy with their choice of livelihood.