For those of you who’ve ever wondered what it takes to get your work into National Geographic, here’s a hint: not “creative” software filters. According to a set of guidelines laid out in a message from the magazine’s Director of Photography, certain minor post-processing is ok with the exception of filters. Minimal dodging and burning, black and white, hand tinted images (if you’re experienced), and cropping are ok when done well; fish eye lenses are discouraged; but filters are a definite no no.
How much of a no no? Well, the photo director’s exact words regarding filters boil down to: “No. Please stop.” So even though the current trend in photography, spearheaded by Instagram, is towards filters, don’t expect Nat Geo to jump on the bandwagon anytime soon.
A message from the Director of Photography of National Geographic (via Reddit)
The Photo Society has published an interesting article in which Kent Kobersteen, the Director of Photography at National Geographic magazine from 1987 to 2005, shares thoughts on what he looks for in photographers:
[The required] attributes are intellect, passion, maturity and drive.
Reading this, you may say “What about the photography?” Of course any person under consideration must be a great photographer. The National Geographic needs photography that is strong aesthetically and has a sophisticated use of color, photography that is poetic, journalistic, memorable, and comes from unique and intuitive seeing. But, that’s obvious, that’s a given.
All four of these attributes – intellect, passion, maturity, drive — ARE about the photography.
Kobersteen also states that he would choose “a photographer whose eye was not the best, but who worked very hard, rather than the person with the best eye in the world, and who was lazy.”
What it Takes to be a National Geographic Photographer (via APhotoEditor)
Image credit: National Geographic by Jcl