Design With Reason: Things to Never Say to a Photographer!

Things Never to Say
To or About a Photojournalist


Do you have other suggestions of things not to say to a photojournalist, that might help enlighten our colleagues about how to make the best use of photographers' talent? If so, please feel free to email me here

Thanks to Brenda Shoun and the staff of the Orange County Register, whose list of "22 Things Never to Say to a Designer" was part of the inspiration for this list!

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(more tips on newspaper design, graphics and editing).

Following are some things that photojournalists would wish people would not say to them, or about them, in the course of daily newspapering. Thanks to more than a dozen correspondents who shared these real-life sayings in hopes of creating a kinder, gentler collaborative journalism environment!

Compiled by Ron Reason

1. "Are you just a photographer, or do you write, too?"
2. "And this is my photographer, Bob Smith." (Said by reporter introducing himself to the person he is about to interview.)
3. "We need to fill this page, get one of the photographers and tell them to go find something."
4. "All we need is a head shot."
5. "Is there anything else?" or "You got anything better than this?" (to which one possible answer might be: "Yes, but today we only edited the third best.")
6. "Is that person in the story?"
7. "Don't you have a picture of the person in the lede?"
8. Any reference making distinction between "the photographers and the content people."
9. "At the baseball game tonight shoot me a vertical, I already have the page laid out."
10. "The story's written. We just need somebody to snap a picture of this guy."
11. "Here is what we'd like you to shoot for the lead photo. Now, for the secondary..."
12. "No, you can't come on the interview. The subject will never open up with a photographer around."
13. "Try to get a good picture. We need a centerpiece."

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Updated January 2006.