Good stock photography photojournalism is about telling stories. For this reason a good photographer shouldn’t remove anything from the scene – at the scene or with photoshop – no matter how distracting it is. Good stock photography photojournalism strives to document reality.
You aren’t documenting reality if you photoshop parts of the scene of an otherwise great shot because the parts breaks up your composed shot. For example, you’re not documenting reality if you move a bicycle closer to the wreckage of an accident where a child was injured.
A good stock photojournalist works with what he has. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you cannot work around distractions. They can be eliminated by shooting from different angles. They can be minimized by using a zoom lens. A tight crop can also help reduce the distraction.
Tips for the Non-Stock Photography Journalist
The concept of working with the environment at hand can add an entire new dimension to your work. Rather than taking the standard smiling face on a plain background, photograph your subject in her natural environment. If you’re photographing craftsmen, photograph them in their workshops or at job sites. If you’re photographing a grandmother, pose her comfortably and, possibly, near the family photos. There really is no limit. Most environments contain a little “something” of themselves.
Keep a constantly composing eye. We’ve all seen photos with things like poles or trees in line with people’s heads and ruining an otherwise great photo. Before shooting, look for distractions by viewing your scene as though you’re eyes are a “viewfinder.”
Get close to your subject. Of course, this isn’t always desirable or possible. Usually, the closer you get to your subject, the easier it is to separate the background visually.
Shoot the angles. Try squatting down or getting up higher for a different perspective. Stools and chairs make excellent perches.