What Do I Need To Learn To Become a Photographer at National Geographic?

I received this question this week via someone in my private WeChat/WhatsApp groups that Patreon members gain access to. It’s a question I have been asked a number of times before, so thought I would share my answers that I gave here with all of you.

Taking images for National Geographic is a goal for many and is seen as one of the pinnacles of the profession. When I was starting out, it was a dream for me too. I adored the work of photographers like Steve McCurry, Alex Webb, Jodi Cobb and Michael Yamashita.

In my career to date, I have been lucky enough to collaborate with National Geographic on many different occasions. I was represented by their in-house photo-agency from 2011 to 2019 and have had a number of features online, such as, “Young Collectors, Traders Help Fuel a Boom in Ultra-Exotic Pets” and “Pictures Reveal Hardship in the World’s Fastest Sinking City

So, here are my 5 (quick) tips to help you…

– First you need to develop your skills as a photographer. Being able to make technically good and visually powerful individual images is the basic first step.

– Then you need to go deeper. Do your images tell a story e.g. about a place, a person an issue? Can you make a photo-essay or series about the issue you’re interested in and then make 15-20 powerful individual images, that when you put them together, they tell a story?


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