Lauren Steel is a Managing Editor at Reportage by Getty Images and is responsible for a group of renowned photographers (Such as Columbia grad Katie Orlinsky who’s photos are featured above). She started at Getty Images in 2003 as an entertainment assignment editor for the newswire, and she has been a part of the Eddie Adams Workshop faculty for the last 8 years. We spoke to Lauren about being a photo editor and what it takes to make it in the field. (Also check out our interview with Lauren on what she looks for on photographers.)
CV: How did you get into the business?
LS: I went to Boston University and received my degree in photojournalism at a time when digital photography was very slowly being introduced into the professional world. I was fully trained on film and had a choice to either go back to school and learn the ins and outs of digital or find a new avenue with my skills and passion. I had an informational interview with a family friend at LIFE magazine and 2 days later got a call asking if I would like to be their art and photo intern. I couldn’t have imagined a better opportunity than working there. It opened so many doors for me and introduced me to the most incredible photographers, journalists and editors.
CV: How did you end up at Getty?
LS: I had a friend that I had met through other photo editors that was looking for an Entertainment Assignment Editor for the Getty Images new entertainment wire service offering. I knew that it would be a great opportunity to work for a new growing company.
CV: What exactly do you do as Managing Editor? What does your average day look like?
LS: I oversee the North American photo editors for Reportage by Getty Images as well the photographers they look after – all of the editors for Reportage are assigned to photographers and own those relationships. I also have a group of photographers that I look after and manage their careers including help with assignments, personal projects and marketing them correctly. My average day is answering a lot of emails and hopefully looking at new work. I also am helping put together custom portfolio’s for our reps to properly pitch them to appropriate clients.
CV: What do you love most about your job?
LS: The incredible photographers and editors/reps that I get to work with on a daily basis. We have built an incredible team and we all bring something unique to the table. The industry is constantly changing so it is great to collaborate with colleagues on new and innovative ways to promote our photographers and get them work.
CV: What’s your least favorite part about the job?
LS: The admin work but we all have to do it so in the end it’s not that bad and it insures that we have a proper workflow set up in place.
CV: Who are some of the photo editors you look up to?
LS: My mentor Bobbi Baker Burrows who I worked for at LIFE Magazine. She is a walking encyclopedia of photography and has taught me so much and introduced me to such incredible people. She has seen it all and has always had such passion.
CV: What do you look for in potential photo editors?
LS: A person who is passionate about photography and backs up their edits. Photo Editing is very subjective and can result in very interesting conversations as long as there is solid reasoning for their choices.
CV: What advice/tips would you give to those wanting to become photo editors?
LS: Find a mentor and shadow them through the editing processes for different photographers and projects. Have conversations about what you think is great photography and why. Know that editing for a published story will be different than editing for a portfolio.
For more from Lauren Steel check out this Q & A on what she looks for in photographers.