Freelance illustrators and photographers often submit their artwork to picture editors for consideration for future publication. For these individuals and those wanting to fulfill the occupation of picture editor, understanding how the job is performed is important.
A picture editor can be employed by any number of various agencies or publications. Some of the more prominent places where picture editors can be found include magazines, newspapers, books, television stations, advertising agencies, websites, multimedia companies and public relations firms.
Picture editors are generally entrusted with the task of finding the appropriate image to be used in whatever situation that is needed. This might include finding a color landscape for a nature magazine, choosing a graphic layout for a newspaper add or making the final picture selections for a yearly calendar. In most publishing and advertising scenarios, the ability of this editor to create a visually challenging, final product is crucial to the overall success of the project.
Another area, where a picture editor might demonstrate some expertise is in the combination of text and images in the same space. With the development of offline graphic designs by computer software programs such as Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and Fireworks, the art of placing pictures of words together has taken a giant step forward. For not only can the computer be used to send complex graphics around the world in a matter of seconds, but it has also developed into a powerful tool that create compelling posters, prints, flyers and handbills.
There are many places from where a picture editor can find the appropriate artwork. Most commonly, the needed picture will be culled from large picture marketplaces, such as picture agencies, government libraries, art galleries, museums, ad agencies, graphic designers and in-house files. On occasion, images from fellow employees or freelance artists will be used.
Picture editors also need to deal with editing pictures, handling copyright issues, obtaining a model release, labeling and storing images, commissioning new work and negotiating contracts and fees.
And finally for those wishing to enter the field of publishing, as a picture editor, it should be noted that there are very few entry level jobs that go by that title. Instead perspective editors can acquire knowledge and gain experience by taking on related jobs such as editorial assistant, graphics technician, layout artist or photographer’s aid. Then over time they might find an opportunity to advance to the role of a picture editor at a magazine or book publisher.