This section is from the book "Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography", by J. B. Schriever. Also available from Amazon: Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography.
440. Newspaper photography is one of the newest arts, yet within the past few years it has become one of the most important. Few papers of large circulation and good standing can afford to ignore illustrations, and in this fact lies the opportunity of the photographer-correspondent, wherever he may be. The demand in nearly every newspaper office is for pictures, pictures, and, again, pictures. A good striking picture is often worth more than a column of reading matter.
The Record. One fact must always be borne in mind by photographers who would make money by selling pictures for publication. The camera is an absolutely faithful witness to what it sees. The reporter who gathers facts and weaves them into an article may draw upon his imagination, to a certain extent, for "local color" or "atmosphere;" such additions, while often not strictly correct, lend an added interest to the "story" - make it more readable and do no harm.
Striking, Sensational Scenes. The camera cannot go outside the range of its vision to gather color romance. The good newspaper photographer always remembers this, so his constant endeavor is to train his camera upon the most striking, dramatic, sensational scenes of any happening he may wish to picture.
Real News Value. It is because of his instinctive recognition of (his "nose" for) news and the news value of pictures that the newspaper photographer forges to the front and commands a good salary. Two photographers may take pictures of the same scene or subject; one will make a perfunctory albeit a good picture, the other will get real news value on his plate. It is the second man who will sell his stuff, while the goods of the other go begging.
Action In Picture. For instance: There is a fire; an important building - although in a small town - may be going up in smoke. Most newspapers illustrating their news would like to have a picture of the actual fire scene. The experienced photographer will not be content to take a snap-shot of the burning building; he will plant his camera in position and wait until he can picture firemen climbing up ladders, or some thrilling scene of rescue. This is getting
"life" or "action" into a picture. The photograph that has "life" in it, although of a comparatively insignificant subject, will sell, when one without "life" or "action" - although seemingly of much greater importance - will be turned down by the news-editor.
445. The photographer, therefore, should always endeavor to get "action" into his picture. He should aim at accessories to the main fact. If he is photographing a street parade it is not enough to picture the parade; he should always endeavor to show some portion of the crowds on the sidewalks, and some of the decorations of the buildings should form a background.
446. If the photographer, then, will always bear in mind that his pictures should have a definite news value, he will have far less trouble in selling them. There is always a demand for such pictures. A snap-shot, however good, of President Roosevelt standing alone would not command a dollar in any newspaper office in the country; every paper has such pictures of the President in stock, without number. But a picture of the President accepting flowers from a little girl, or shaking hands with a cripple on the street, would sell readily.