Thanks for your questions! I really enjoyed answering them and I hope my answers were helpful. You can always DM on IG and I will try to answer as many questions as I can; @CristinaMittermeier

I’m CRISTINA MITTERMEIER. I am a National Geographic Photographer, Adventurer, Explorer and Speaker. I strive to create beautiful, iconic and inspiring images that invite people to participate in solutions for a sustainable planet. I am also the co-founder and vision lead for Sealegacy. Check out my work for Nat Geo here.

To everyone who sent us questions, maraming salamat. Echoing Cristina - would love to hear more from you on IG too! -Hannah Reyes Morales

I’m HANNAH REYES MORALES, a Filipina photojournalist and National Geographic Explorer. I mostly tell stories on diaspora, displacement, and the idea of home. Check out my work for Nat Geo here.

Thank you so much for all your questions - I hope you continue to find inspiration in the natural world and continue to share your stories. - Michaela

I’m MICHAELA SKOVRANOVA, a Slovakian born Australian photographer, based in Byron Bay Australia. I specialise in documenting nature focusing on underwater capture using breath hold and natural light. My work explores the relationship between wildlife and us as humans. Through exploring intimate moments of the giants of the ocean to the dragons of the sea we can truly see how complex their lives are with a common thread: they talk to each other, they love, they dance and sometimes sing, just like we do. Check out my work for Nat Geo here.

We’re excited to celebrate World Photography Day with you all today! Ask us anything and we’ll be signing off each answer with our initials.


Comments: 600 • Responses: 81  • Date: 

the_original_Retro424 karma

Hey, thanks for what promises to be a very interesting AMA.

Photographing for Nat Geo sounds like an absolute dream of a job. How did you get yours? Did you approach them with a portfolio, or did they come and find you?

nationalgeographic569 karma

It is a dream job in the sense that I wake up every morning excited about going to work. It is, however, a freelance job with no guarantee of employment. You have to be creative and resilient, especially as you are building a career. To get work at Nat Geo you can be discovered by one of the editors by submitting portfolios or by attending conferences and workshops where they teach. The better way is to prepare a portfolio and send it to the Director of Photography or to one of the editors. Send your best work and send only a small selection, as they are super busy. If your work stands out, you might get a chance to contribute. CGM

nationalgeographic312 karma

Personally I got in through their grants program. Linked this earlier, but linking it again here:

I got an Early Career Grant, and it was a transformative experience. It took about four years between that grant and getting an assignment for Nat Geo. In those years I was just working really hard trying to make sure the quality of the work was good, because I could still see so many of the gaps in my own work. I took workshops and asked people I trusted for feedback before I showed any of my work to editors. Actually when I first showed my work to the Director of Photography, my intention was not to get a job - I just really wanted to know what she thought I needed to do so I could make better work. -HRM

i_hate_katherines389 karma

What do most people always get wrong about photographers, especially those of your caliber? Could be basic misconceptions or maybe you can indulge us with specific anecdotes. You're all awesome, btw.

nationalgeographic862 karma

I think people think being a Nat Geo photographer is glamorous. Nothing could be further from the truth. We spend a lot of time away from home and we work on tight budgets. For wildlife and ethnographic photographers, like myself, we spend months camping or living on small boats. It is lonely, high stress and high pressure. Being a photographer means you work in a very competitive field and your job is never guaranteed. I woudn't want to do anything else, though. The chance to tell stories through one of the largest and most prestigious magazines in the world is a great opportunity and a great responisbility. CGM

ProfIanDuncan10 karma

Do you think they take advantage of that fact and underpay people and underspend on projects to get those who really, really want it regardless of how much money there is to do it?

nationalgeographic22 karma

Being careful with budgets is very different from being underpaid. Nothing will do more For a photographer’s career than working for National Geographic. I am grateful and honored to be part of a global team of amazing artists, writers, editors, explorers and storytellers. CGM

reneebuerkle19226 karma

You all have such beautiful photos. How much post editing do you do?

nationalgeographic392 karma

Post editing is a very important part of preparing an image, but at Nat Geo we are only allowed to submit RAW files and their expert digital managers do the post (in collaboration with the photographer). No manipulation outside of basic color and contrast corrections is allowed. CGM

nationalgeographic228 karma

Thank you, I mainly focus on colour correction, saturation and exposure - there isn’t much cropping or any image manipulation. M.S

Zer_0142 karma

Are there any photos that you were really proud of that didn’t get the attention/publishing/etc that you wish it had?

nationalgeographic189 karma

It's never too late for a photograph - you never know when the image may become relevant and published M.S

AvalonAlexia129 karma

How did you get involved with national geographic? Is most of your income from working with them? Thanks in advance! You all really inspire me :)

nationalgeographic167 karma

I have been working with Nat Geo for many years as an explorer, book writer, contributor to the magazine, speaker, and most recently as one of the Adventurers of the Year. As freelance photographers, our income comes from a portfolio of activities that include publishing, fine art and speaking. Many of these are for Nat Geo but I work on my own business and do a lot of work through my instagram account @cristinamittermeier. CGM

maddkid53110 karma

Hi there, I'm currently by a river stalking kingfishers.

Aside from "get off your phone", what advice do you have for finding and getting close to animals in the wild?

nationalgeographic113 karma

Animals are very sensitive to our energy, a great way to get close is by observing and learning. M.S

mermaidkiki91 karma

Hannah, any advice for a 25-year-old Filipina (living in Manila) who wants to pursue a career in photojournalism but has only realized it now? Where do I start? How do I build my work? Is it too late? You and your photographs inspire me every day. Thank you.

nationalgeographic180 karma

Uy, Pinay! <3 Salamat sa tanong. It's not too late. I started in this industry with very little - and I thankfully learned early on that I didn't have to go to far 'exotic' places to make work. My first documentary project on my Nanay was centered around the home I grew up in in Manila. There are so many stories here that don't get told well enough… and we need more storytellers like yourself, with a different vantage point to offer than the images we often see in international media.

I did what I could to fund my work, including selling clothes from ukay ukay (similar to Goodwill) and spending my weekends photographing events for a bar. I lived off instant noodles so I could save up for new equipment. But the whole time during that period of thankless hustle I knew I needed to have photography in my life. So I kept working on it (and I still am, everyday). Keep working on it, and focus on the work - on making quality work. Be open to feedback. Start where you are (there is that saying--bloom where you are planted). Ask many questions. And good luck, kapatid!


KatComment91 karma

Do you find it difficult to differentiate your photos from the crowd and get commissions & sales when there is such an overwhelming number of photos on social media?

How did you get noticed by @NatGeo?

nationalgeographic86 karma

Social media is a fantastic tool however there are many different ways to share your work. Personally I was fortunate enough to be able to present my personal work to Nat Geo, a while after an assignment came up that suited my expertise and my style. M.S

Caboose84888 karma

What's your favorite photograph you've ever taken?

nationalgeographic212 karma

I really love "The Lady with the Goose", which is a whimsical shot I made in China with a single reflex camera many years ago. It has become the cover of my new book, Amaze. You can see that photo here: CGM

PoetrySlamLoL3 karma

Is it common for the cover of a book to be the "best" photo? I put best in quotes because obviously it's hugely subjective, but the photographers favorite photo would at least be in the running for "best" and you made it your cover so here we are!

nationalgeographic5 karma

I do t think that is necessarily true. Paul Nicklen’s new book Born to Ice is a perfect example. The cover is not one of his iconic images, but it works. CGM

nationalgeographic181 karma

This image of a young Filipina in Tondo, Manila is very close to my heart:

Her dream is to become queen. HRM

satellitesara74 karma

In the beginning, how did you guys sustain yourselves and the work you do? Are you now able to live completely off of the photography work you focus on? Or do you still take on other photography jobs or clients?

nationalgeographic123 karma

At the beginning of my career, I did family portraiture and weddings to sustain my work. I also worked as a translator, copy editor, and ghost writer as I wanted to become published both as a writer and as a photographer. Becoming a good writer was the best thing I did to further my career as a photographer. CGM

satellitesara35 karma

Thank you for taking the time to reply. How long did it take doing all those side jobs before you could do this full-time?

nationalgeographic63 karma

About 10 years. M.S

nationalgeographic71 karma

After graduating from my studies I assisted other photographers, worked in different studios and supplemented my income with additional work. I want to be versatile with my work and the projects I work on - I would certainly take on other photography jobs and clients if our values align. M.S

CHarleq65 karma

What is your go-to camera? If you could only take one camera & lens, which would it be?

nationalgeographic134 karma

I personally use a Sony A9 and my go to lens is a 35mm (also want to note Sony Philippines now sponsors me, though I was using their system, an A7 and A7ii, before I got onboard with them).


scotchbuckeye59 karma

How many of you have a Univeristy degree in photography? How many of you are self-taught?

nationalgeographic142 karma

I don't have a degree in photography. Not fond of the term self taught though. So many people have lifted me up, helped me, and mentored me and there would be no way for me to get here without those teachers. HRM

nationalgeographic85 karma

I have a degree as a Biochemical Engineer in Marine Sciences and a certificate in fine art from the Corcoran College for the Arts. Most of what I know about the business of photography, however, I learned from participating in workshops and conferences. CGM

nationalgeographic66 karma

I have a degree in Photography however my greatest learning experiences have been through practice and mentorship. M.S

desperadow53 karma

What's the Nikon/Canon-ratio inside NG?

nationalgeographic113 karma

Photographers at Nat Geo shoot with the equipment that is best suited for the job. We even have an amazing engineering department that builds special tools and camera equipment especially for us. I myself shoot Sony, but I know several peers who have shot entire assignments with their iphone. CGM

thefourthhouse47 karma

You have one photo to show people 100 years ago, what would it be?

nationalgeographic98 karma

I would show them a photograph representative of the enormous human impact on this planet. M.S

imageWS41 karma

What is the longest you had to wait in a location to get the shot you wanted?

nationalgeographic41 karma

If I could, I would still be waiting there - I often return to locations if I get the opportunity as projects and ideas develop over time. M.S

BruceCCCCCC38 karma

Have you ever been in a dangerous situation while taking pictures?

nationalgeographic41 karma

I try to minimise risks and danger where possible - I always dive with a buddy and I am aware of my surrounds and the weather conditions I am working in. If the situation doesn’t feel right I will not force it. M.S

Mr_Romo30 karma

Advice for aspiring photojournalists? How did you break in? Is it too late if I’m already close to 30?

nationalgeographic47 karma

I would like to think it's never too late - 30 years is still so young! M.S

TrickedFaith28 karma

How the hell do you become a National Geographic photographer?

nationalgeographic48 karma

How the hell do you become a National Geographic photographer?

My way into National Geographic was through a grant. It was a transformative experience for me. I learned so much. I got an Early Career grant (formally Young Explorers Grant).

You can find out more here:


SpaceArcader27 karma

I am starting out with photography for a travel blog I write, can you still make an impact in visual photography by just using your phone?

nationalgeographic58 karma

There are many photographers that only use their phone. Our colleague, David Guttenfelder, has one of the most popular and prolific instagram accounts, and he uses only his iphone for it. You can see his work here: CGM

satellitesara27 karma

Any advice for an aspiring documentary photographer? How do you find your stories and how do you know when to stick to it?

nationalgeographic38 karma

I tend to go back to ideas and themes repetitively - the stories I need to tell will naturally develop over time. Best advice I got was to explore my own backyard. M.S

thebackfish24 karma

How has photography changed your view on life?

nationalgeographic66 karma

I experienced trauma growing up, and to survive, I told myself stories. Stories, and particularly photography for me, has been such a healing process. It's been the way I ask my questions, and the way that I process the world around me. So often when I photograph, I feel an exchange in vulnerability. This openness is the only way I know how to work, and I try my best to honor those who entrust me with their stories by taking them with me and evolving with it. My perceptions of the world are constantly challenged. And I am learning how to listen better, and to value the gift of sight. -HRM

nationalgeographic51 karma

Photography has become the passport to exploring our beautiful planet. It is the reason I travel and the reason I meet so many interesting people. Looking at our planet through a lens, forces me to focus sharply on the details of every day life. We are documentaries of this moment in history on our planet. CGM

TheZenoEffect24 karma

Urban photography. 35mm prime or 18-55mm or 50mm prime or >50mm telephoto?

nationalgeographic46 karma

All of them are great, but if you can only afford one, I recommend becoming a virtuoso of the 50mm prime. CGM

Wishful-Thought23 karma

How did you become a Nat Geo photographer and what advice would you give to an aspiring nature photographer?

nationalgeographic15 karma

I feel extremely fortunate to be able to share my stories through Nat Geo - Personally I focused on documenting nature in the way that felt right for me. The best advice would be to continue to explore and share your work. M.S

xStabbyMcGee22 karma

Do you believe the lean towards a political over geographical magazine/platform for NatGeo is beneficial or should it go back to being more nature and culture?

nationalgeographic101 karma

Like our editors and executives, I believe that our planet is at a historical crossroads and we cannot sit on the sidelines and simply entertain and educate. Being active in the global dialogue to further science as a fundamental keystone for how politicians and corporations shape the future of life on Earth is both an opportunity and a necessity. I am proud of being part of an organization that is willing to take a stand for science. CGM

coolnlittle15 karma

How has things changed since Fox bought out National Geographic’s?

nationalgeographic42 karma

We have become a lot larger and some of the branches of NG that needed an overhaul, like TV have gotten the resources they needed to create amazing content, like Genius, Mars, and Picasso. For me the most important change is that now, the Nat Geo partners, which is the for profit branch of Nat Geo, contributes 27% of all its proceeds to help fund the conservation and education efforts of the National Geographic Society. That allows photographers, explorers and scientists to do the work we do. CGM

_chris_w13 karma

Do you have a favourite photo from another National Geographic photographer?

nationalgeographic33 karma

Do you have a favourite photo from another National Geographic photographer?

This one by Evgenia Arbugaeva


xoduspbc13 karma

Congratulations on your dream jobs! How can an amateur in photography align themselves to hopefully be where you are someday?

nationalgeographic9 karma

Thank you, I feel very fortunate to share my work the way that I get to - I would say spend time on personal projects and finding your personal style and share your passion. I personally began sharing my work on social media ( Instagram @mishkusk) and have been very fortunate to have gotten aligned with incredible people who took a chance on me. M.S

nationalgeographic4 karma

You have to become really good at what you do. To know if you are becoming good, you need to attend portfolio reviews with reputable editors. They will give you feedback on your work. CGM

accidental_tourist13 karma

Dear Hannah, are you only working in the Philippines? Filipino myself and I've seen the slums, how do they feel about being photographed? What do you tell them?

nationalgeographic21 karma

I don't work exclusively in the Philippines. I am very honest and straightforward with them about what the images will be used for, and I do not go without having an insider in the community to guide me. I do my best to seek permission when I photograph in these communities, and for me the best images happen when I've spent enough time with them that they feel comfortable in the presence of a camera. HRM

anotherMiguel11 karma

Hello from Pasig, PH. To be honest, I’ve only heard about Ms. Mittermeier and Ms. Skovranova in Ms. Morales FB post.

For all of you, how is disinformation and “fake news” affecting photography especially one focused on the environment and ecology?

For Ms. Morales, omg hello po. I’m following you on FB along with Sir Veejay, Sir Ezra, and other photographers. How did you start? And what keeps you going? What was that “leap of faith” if there was any? I also want to be a documentary photographer. I wholeheartedly believe in its purpose and effect. But I cant seem to “get into it.”

I always go back to your Shelter from the Storm project. It just presents how complex yet natural the problem of sex trade is. Thank you all for your photos and stories.

nationalgeographic15 karma

How did you start? And what keeps you going? What was that “leap of faith” if there was any?

Hello kababayan!

There are no guarantees that it will work out - specially when I was really starting out. I was constantly being dismissed because I was a young Pinay. I needed to have faith in myself and in the process because no one else would do that for me. There was also pressure to get a 'real' job. There were a lot of rejections. But photography is vocation to me, so I channeled my energy into working harder. HRM

jamisonglory9 karma

How heavy is your kit?

What does your "minimalist essentials" pack look like if you have to pack light?

nationalgeographic15 karma

My overall kit is way too heavy! I like having back ups of everything. I use Olympus and a selection of favourite lenses as it's incredibly lightweight and versatile. I always like having a raincoat, reusable water bottle and a simple set up in form of a versatile zoom lens. My favourite is a 12-100 mm .M.S

Tortugonia9 karma

What was the longest you had to stay still to get a photo?

nationalgeographic10 karma

Only as long as my breath - hold or a tank of air allows ! M.S

hooolian9 karma

Photography is often a solo endeavor - and since so much of the business is freelance, it can be very competitive. I work full time as a photographer in the arts & music space and often find an incredible lack of diversity in my peers.

What is the best way to advocate for underrepresented groups like women and minorities within the photography community? Have you ever felt like you lost out on a client or booking because of your gender or background?

nationalgeographic18 karma

Have you ever felt like you lost out on a client or booking because of your gender or background?

Yes, when I was starting out I once got hired because the client saw and liked my work, but then later on got let go because the client didn't realise I was a young girl and they wanted someone more senior.

What is the best way to advocate for underrepresented groups like women and minorities within the photography community?

There are so many powerful initiatives at the moment working on just that. Communities and platforms like Women Photograph really advocate to move the needle on this lack of diversity, and provide communal support and a safe space, especially when these frustrating moments happen. In the international photography industry, being a woman, a minority and also a local from a developing country is truly challenging. But it helps to know you are not alone, and that our vantage point has value. HRM

Horatio_the_Punk8 karma

How do you decide on your themes? Is there a preference for still life vs animals or storytelling?

nationalgeographic10 karma

Hi, themes are decided in a couple of ways: as a photographer, you can bring an idea to one of the editors or to the Director of Photography and they will consider the merits, the visual feasibility, etc. Another way is to get asked to do the assignment from the editors, Very commonly, it is a collaboration between photographers and editors on ideas. CGM

herfar8 karma

Any pivotal moment(s) in life that made you decide to be a photographer who shares stories/advocacies through photos?

nationalgeographic12 karma

I don't think there was one single moment - I used photography as a communication tool for my self, for my own thoughts and feelings. Nature and wildlife is something that resonated with me very deeply and through photography, I found a way to share that love with the world. M.S

nationalgeographic6 karma

I've always felt most articulate and most connected through visuals. Not sure if there is one singular moment, but I first 'discovered' photography when I found my mother's dusty shelf of Nat Geo magazines in the room I shared growing up. Photography was a window to the outside world, and eventually it was a window that I would climb out of. HRM

Slacke1017 karma

Do you guys simply get assigned locations or do you get to choose where you go? How is the workplace?

nationalgeographic14 karma

Finding stories is almost always a collaboration with one of our editors. They attend conferences, meet scientists and interesting people and so do we. If there is a potential story, we do the research together. For a photographer, there are few better thrills than to spend the day at Nat Geo Headquarters in Washington D.C., where we get to meet with editors, visit with photo engineers, and consult with a large creative team. CGM

spam2197 karma

Has there ever been a moment that you’ve photographed that has changed you as a person/your beliefs/your outlook, and if so, what was it?

nationalgeographic17 karma

So many! No doubt there will be many more. The first time I witnessed a baby humpback whale breach just a few metres away from us was something I will never forget. M.S

CHarleq7 karma

Have any of you collaborated with other artists (such as a painter)?

nationalgeographic13 karma

I have and it is always fun. Peter Terrin painted a number if my portraits of the Kayapo people of the Amazon and we donated the proceeds of his paints to the tribes to help them fight for their sovereignty. You can see his paintings here: CGM

wreckedem116 karma

Have any of you made the switch to mirrorless? I just made the jump to Sony and love it so far my A7Riii makes everything so easy.

nationalgeographic19 karma

I have been shooting with Sony mirrorless for years. I do 100% of my work with Sony A9 and Sony A7Riii. CGM

nationalgeographic14 karma

That's great! I personally shoot with Olympus - it's incredibly lightweight and suits my way of working - I believe you should use the tool that suits your way of working, whatever that is M.S

big_uzi6 karma

Have you noticed your style change or evolve while working with Natural Geographic? Do you ever feel any pressure knowing your images will be posted by them?

nationalgeographic17 karma

Absolutely. I used to focus on making beautiful portraits, but shooting for Nat Geo means every image has to tell a story, so I have adapted my style to make compositions that help give context to the story. I still love making simple portraits, but I now make sure that every element in the frame helps tell the story. CGM

DioHenda5 karma

Can you use any camera you like? Or National Geographic endorsed by certain brand? Thankyou!

nationalgeographic8 karma

There are certain specs that the final images need to be delivered in so as long as those are met I believe you can use any brand you like. M.S

Brock_Samsonite5 karma

I am a photographer and want to help bring awareness to climate change. How can I do this?

nationalgeographic6 karma

Climate change is all around us and we need to tie the dots between the causes and the consequences. What is happening where you live that can be photographed? Are animals dying, are there more storms, forest fires or droughts? Are people b Inga displaced ? Find a story line and share your work in social media. CGM

ammatasiri5 karma

All of you have are doing such important work, and it seems to have a huge impact on those who look at them. What photo of yours do you think had the most impact on you? And what was the most difficult photo of yours to take?

nationalgeographic6 karma

It's the quiet images - I may not see them straight away and they may take a while to speak to me however once I have the opportunity to process they may reveal something of my own mind/ thought process or a new direction I was not aware of. M.S

agwe3 karma


nationalgeographic5 karma

I photograph using scuba too however a lot of my work is captured free diving or even snorkelling. I will use which ever tool is most appropriate for the given situation and the subject matter. I enjoy free diving because it allows me to move much quicker which works beautifully with a lot of marine mammals, however when it comes to smaller critters and coral scuba is a win. M.S

aeroten3 karma

How do you find where to go to to take these shots? In other words, how do you find out about the opportunities to take the pictures.

nationalgeographic10 karma

Before we ever leave on assignment, we spend months or even years researching where to go. We talk to scientists, non profit organizations, governments, etc. Oftentimes, we need to get permits and letters from government officials to get access. As a Nat Geo photographer, you seldom just "show up". Generally, you have a very good idea of where you need to be to get the story and that demands a lot of research. Once we know where to go, you need to dedicate a lot of time to wait for things to happen. CGM

danishwar3 karma

  1. Did you knew you will be doing what you are doing now?

  2. did your family and other supported you when you began this venture?

  3. What was the point in your life you knew photography is what you will do?

And happy photography day from a young photographer!

nationalgeographic16 karma

Did you knew you will be doing what you are doing now?

Never imagined that this is what I would be doing. 14 year old Hannah would never believe that this was possible. I often refer to this as an astronaut kind of dream - one that is exciting to dream about, but not a possibility for someone from my background. Still in disbelief sometimes, actually.


Spyduck373 karma

For each of you: which experience that you've had whilst in the field has had the most impact on you personally?

I know this isn't a very original question, but I'd love to hear about what you've seen.

nationalgeographic8 karma

I get to photograph wildlife and spend a lot of time in remote indigenous communities. Every day is a new surprise. I recently had a chance to photograph blue whales. Getting in the water and coming face to face with the largest animal on our planet took my breath away. It is the kind of encounter that motivated me to do the work I do through my non profit SeaLegacy CGM

buckypls2 karma

To Hannah: What would you say has been your biggest struggle so far and how did you overcome them? Especially, say, creative blocks? And with so many things going on in the Philippines atm, do you sometimes prefer covering other stories and distancing yourself from your roots once in a while?

nationalgeographic4 karma

do you sometimes prefer covering other stories and distancing yourself from your roots once in a while?

I can leave Manila but Manila never leaves me - so there's really truly no way to distance myself from my roots. Currently I'm really thinking about notions of home and there's no other way to reflect on that without first understanding Manila and the Philippines and what home means to me. It's a lot to process. And it's also a lot to then translate those nuances to an international audience, especially with the Nat Geo platform. It's not easy, and you're right - there is so much going on here. But that's one of the reasons I am home right now. HRM

ZeusTheMooose2 karma

Becoming a National Geographic Photographer has been my dream job since I was 12. I'm now starting college this year. Any advice on how to make that possible?

nationalgeographic3 karma

There are so many jobs at Nat Geo that do not require you to be a photographer. If you are already a good photographer, make sure you get published in any publication you can. Write your own stories and publish online. Or consider becoming a photo or video editor, or a digital asset manager. CGM

ChocolatePleaseee2 karma

When you find something you find interesting, do you grab your camera and capture it right away or do you usually spend time to setup first?

nationalgeographic3 karma

Both. Photography takes a lot of planing but it is also completely opportunistic. CGM

Coolestnamex22 karma

How much did you pay for this ama?

nationalgeographic2 karma

I didn’t get paid to do this. CGM

rockblazer232 karma

What is your go-to set up for shoots?

Also, what are your thoughts on the Mirrorless camera movement?

nationalgeographic3 karma

For me, mirrorless is the way of the future and I have been shooting Sony mirrorless for years. I am in NY today to celebrate Sony taking over the DSLR market as number one with their #BeAlpha campaign. CGM

lilLocoMan2 karma

How many bad shots do you take before you get a (really) good one? Does it get more consistent over time?

nationalgeographic3 karma

They say that the better the photographer, the larger the trash bin. I take tens of thousands of terrible photos to arrive at the one that looks like what I had envisioned. CGM

Onepopcornman2 karma

So in the age of reddit and AMAs, and the internet more generally, how has professional photography changed? Is the lack of enforceable copyright on photos a major challenge to the future of your work?

nationalgeographic4 karma

Copyright infringement and the appropriation of digital work is a major challenge. I have opted to embrace it and share my work widely. My business model has also shifted as social media has become the largest advertising space. For photographers like myself, with large social media followings, this present a good opportunity. CGM

coolniceokoh2 karma

How much photoshop do you guys use to change up your photos?

nationalgeographic3 karma

none ! M.S

PaperTronics1 karma

How would you describe your job? How hard is it to become a photographer?

nationalgeographic7 karma

Becoming a photographer is no harder than becoming anything else. If you love the art of making images, you have to apply yourself and work really hard at becoming an expert. You have to be able to create photographs in your own style and you have to be able to make images that tell stories, that stand out and that are memorable. If you want to be good at it, it is like anything else, you have to work hard at it. CGM

NeedPhotoshopGuy1 karma

Do any of you need an assistant? I'm a professional in the job market and want to change career paths!

nationalgeographic2 karma

Assistants are incredibly important but not an absolute necessity. For the work that I do, having an assistant is imperative to the success of making photographs in remote and difficult places. They are also travel companions, and in many ways, they become friends. The best assistants are the ones that watch over our backs for danger and they help an eye open for opportunities. The best assistant I ever had was Jenny Nichols. She went on to establish her own production company. You can see here work here: CGM

Arisescaflowne1 karma

Has the semi recent sale of the organization(Nat Geo), had any meaningful impact on the "what" and the "where" of what you do?
I'm assuming on your end it's minimal, but I'd love to hear how this might have changed anything for you all!

nationalgeographic2 karma

It has had no impact on editorial direction and the magazine has maintained its independent editorial control. CGM

sanescience1 karma

Question for all 3: What was the one moment that you guys regret not catching it on camera?

nationalgeographic3 karma

One of my first assignments to the Amazon I totally missed one of the most important shots of my career. You can read the story on my Maptia feed here: CGM

ShiteTactician1 karma


nationalgeographic3 karma

Take time to develop your personal style, seek feedback, mentorship and share your work and thoughts with the world M.S

nationalgeographic3 karma

Hi; imagine that National Geographic is the NFL of photography, but there is only one team. You have to be the best at your genre of photography so that means you need to work hard as a photographer, get your work published in reputable magazines and then submit a portfolio to one of the editors of Nat Geo for consideration. For some talented people, opportunities come early, for others, it takes years to get a chance. Either way, entry is based on talent. I hope that helps CGM

Luke30001 karma

Which assignment had you waiting for the longest time, to finally get the shot you wanted? (P. S - Thanks for doing this :)

nationalgeographic3 karma

I worked with Paul Nicklen on an assignment on Rain Wolves of British Columbia. We spent three months sitting in the rain, waiting for the mother to bring her cubs out to play. You can see the story here CGM

nationalgeographic2 karma

I like to hope that most of my projects are on going and stories are never finished - there's always different ways to capture images as our experience and point of view changes over time. M.S

Lady_Emeritus1 karma

What was your favorite photo to take? Even if it didn't end up getting used.

nationalgeographic3 karma

One of my favourite images is one of my first underwater photographs - taken in my then ocean backyards just underneath the surface. I have just gotten my very first housing and I got to watch the light dance underwater. M.S

nationalgeographic2 karma

Deciding which photos are used is a long and careful process and one that is generally guided by our editors. As photographers, we get to participate in the decisions, but at the end of the day, the photographs that best contribute to telling the story are the ones that make it into the magazine. Sometimes a favorite shot does not make it, but it can always be shown later in one of our digital platforms or the Nat Geo Instragram feed. CGM