The Role of Photography in Documentary and Photojournalism

Photojournalism and documentary may have the same role, but the presentation may differ. Many are interested in working in both areas, but knowing the difference between them is important. Photography plays a major role in both areas. If you are working on a documentary, your photos may be in use, but in photojournalism, images are important.

What is Photojournalism?

The method of utilizing pictures to tell a story is known as photojournalism. Unlike conventional journalists, photojournalists utilize a camera as their medium and often disseminate their knowledge using pen and paper. The entire tale will be told by a photojournalist using only photographs, from beginning to end. The reader doesn’t have to read about the image if done well.

To be a photographer, you don’t need to be an expert. Does this imply that photojournalism is extinct? No, but today’s photojournalists must do much more than shoot pictures. It ultimately comes down to giving the viewer as much information as possible as it happens. The main distinction between documentaries and other media is this.

If something occurs today, it must be in the newspaper or online by tomorrow. One of the most crucial things for a photojournalist is to act honestly. What media firms display to the public affects their reputations. They only accept images that convey the truth regardless of the subject.

Purpose of Photojournalism

One of the crucial things for a photojournalist is to act honestly and with integrity. Photojournalism comes with a purpose, and you should be able to fulfill the purpose. What media firms display to the public affects their reputations.

They only accept images that convey the truth regardless of the subject. A photographer documents incidents as they transpired. There is no place for agendas or personal touches. Although everyone may take a photo, not anyone can call themselves a photojournalist. The two fundamental tenets of photojournalism are the search for impartial truth and high ethical standards. Photojournalism aims to report, even though photography in its many forms, may be a medium of self-expression or artistically exhibit, facts about the human condition. It tries to employ imagery to tell a tale and instruct the audience.

What is Documentary Photography?

Numerous photo documentaries aim to expand on photojournalism and spread awareness. A concept first emerges from the photographer’s interest. Using documentary as the medium, the photographer tries to address certain issues. A documentary photographer frequently spends more time with their subject. To be able to convey a true account, respond to all inquiries, and view things from all perspectives, this is required.

Important Aspects of Documentary Photography-
  • Research

Documentaries frequently portray dark tales. For this reason, extensive study is always conducted before capturing images. Depending on the subject, this research step may take months to complete. It’s one of the causes behind the longer production times for documentaries.

  • Personal Project

The independence of documentary photographers is greater. A project frequently begins due to a personal passion. Compared to a photojournalist, the photographer is more involved with his subject.


In both mediums, photography plays an important role. If you are good at capturing and describing things well, photojournalism and documentary are your fields. However, if you are new to this industry, start with the course. CAP Academy offers photography courses where you are trained in photojournalism and documentary.


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