Photo editors work closely with photographers to provide just the right shots in magazines, newspapers and other publications that have photographs in them. They don't actually take the pictures. Instead, they just ensure that the right photographer is hired to produce the perfect photograph. If you're good at working with people and love photography, then the job of a photo editor might be perfect for you. This guide outlines what it takes to find success in a career as a photo editor.
Start with a good education. To get hired in the media industry - working for a magazine, newspaper or other publication - you need to have your college diploma or university degree. Ideally, someone with aspirations of being a photo editor would take courses in journalism, photography, art, media and marketing. While there isn't a set educational path for a photo editor to take, these courses are a good start.
Acquire the necessary skills. Once you're finished school, the next step to becoming a photo editor involves getting the right skills. First and foremost, a photo editor must have extensive knowledge about photography. A photo editor needs to have experience conceiving of a ‘look' or a ‘feel' for an article or a segment of a magazine. Photo editors are good at visualizing concepts, taking ideas from stories and articles and complimenting them with the perfect picture. Photo editors also know a lot of photographers who are skilled at taking different types of pictures. One can never have too many industry contacts as a photo editor.
To gain all of these skills, consider taking on an internship working in the art department of a magazine or newspaper. There will be experienced photo editors there who will mentor you, helping you to learn about the industry first-hand. An internship is an invaluable experience that will get your foot in the door at some very prestigious media companies.
If you're unable to find an internship, consider taking on any job that is available working in photography, editing and art. Ideally, you'd find an entry-level position working for a magazine, and work your way up the ladder.
Apply for jobs. Once you've got experience working in photography and publishing magazines, you should have a better chance of getting a job as a photo editor. Look within your company for any available positions. If you've worked hard, you shouldn't have any trouble snagging a photo editor job. If jobs are available outside of your company, hand in an up-to-date résumé and personalized cover letter that outlines your experience and passion in the industry. With any luck, you'll be offered a job as a photo editor, and get to work with some of the most talented photographers in the industry.