What does a picture editor do?

Posted by:
Caroline Morley

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© Caroline Morley

© Caroline Morley


Despite being a keen photographer, I had never heard of the role of picture researcher or photo editor until I was in my first job as a journalist.

Our small title did not have a picture editor but designer and the news editor had both worked on bigger publications in the past and it was a casual conversation between them one press day about picture researchers that made me realise that it was the job I wanted.

Having studied zoology rather than photography or media at university my route into picture research was not typical but I got a lucky break at the Wellcome Collection image library where my science background was considered desirable.

Since then I have worked at charities, picture libraries and magazines.

For those of you who don’t know what a picture editor does, here are some links.

This blog post from an art director in the fashion sector shows how mush she depends on picture editors: In Praise of Picture Editors

This video gets some influential Photo Editors together to discuss how they find new photographers:

Here is a basic Photo Editor job description.

And some interviews with picture editors working at iconic organisations:

The Smithsonian Magazine – Molly Roberts

The Observer and the Telegraph (freelance) – Joe Plimmer

Bloomberg News – Gem Atkinson

National Geographic – Sarah Leen

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