Inside Information from an Editorial Photographer

Jaime Murcia

I recently spent some time with one of Australia’s most talented Editorial Photographers – he’s taken photos for The Australian Financial Review, BRW, Inside Sport, New Woman and Melbourne Weekly (just to name a few) as well as newspapers and their magazines such as Herald Sun, Sunday Life and Good Weekend.

Our illustrious Editorial Photographer is the superb Mr Jaime Murcia and you can visit his website at www.jaimemurcia.com.

PQ Why did you want to become an Editorial Photographer?
Jaime  I was inspired by a photographer in the 1980s who’d been to Iran and had taken some amazingly powerful shots of the country post-war.  The shots were published in the The Age and National Geographic and when I saw them, they were my motivation for getting into photography.  I was working as a Doorman at Parliament House at the time and had a young family to support so I couldn’t afford the time or money for formal qualifications.  What I used to do, was take my young son out in the pram and wander about the streets of Prahran taking photos, experimenting with lighting and composition. Over time, I built-up the technical knowledge and confidence on how to take a good shot.

PQ What was your first experience in working for the media?
Jaime When I was learning, I took a photo of an electricity substation with a hole in the fence and it got a run in the local newspaper.  While I didn’t get paid for it, I was rapt and on my way!

PQ So how did you break into the media?
Jaime My first paying job was with the Herald Sun where I got a couple of freelance days.  From there I did some photo essays that got published in QANTAS’s The Australian Way and Inside Sport.  I then was able to secure some freelance work with The Australian Financial Review and from there I was offered a position with Melbourne Weekly.

PQ How are photos worked into the production of a print publication?
Jaime At Melbourne Weekly for example, we’d have a weekly meeting to talk about the contents of the next issue.  We’d discuss the possible cover story and photo ideas and from there I’d start booking the people I needed and go and take the shot.

There’s lots of people involved in the selection of photographs in a newspaper or magazine – firstly there’s people like me, the photographers and we report to the Picture Editor who works closely with the Art Director who works closely with the Editor.  So sometimes, each of these four professionals will have an opinion on how to make the most of the photo for the story – it can become quite a complex decision at times!

What I always try to do is get information about the story that the photo is to accompany and develop ways that I can take the shot that adds strength and power to the words.  I also like to compose a few different shots of the subject, even if I’m using the same elements and this way I can offer the Picture Editor, Art Director and Editor a few different options.

But in the end it’s the Editor who has the responsibility to make the final decision on the cover and then it’s up to the Art Director to make the photo work.

In the next entry, I’ll show you an example of Jaime’s work and he’s going to tell us how important photographs are when trying to get publicity, so make sure you keep tuned in…

Publicity Queen  Yours in publicity

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1 Comment »

  1. Ben Gebo Said:

    Great blog and tips on the Editorial market. I’ve never heard of Jaime Murcia, but I just looked at his site. His work is amazing!


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