Have you ever wondered what the photo editors at National Geographic do? No, they don’t sit around and edit pictures in Photoshop. In this 6-minute video, some of the biggest names in photography offer a glimpse into the closely-knit relationships between photographers and their editors.
“I’m pretty sure most people have no idea what a photo editor actually does,” says photographer David Guttenfelder.
National Geographic photographers are assigned a photo editor who metaphorically sits beside them for the entire project.
“Sometimes you get a little too attached to your pictures,” says photographer Tim Laman. “I was told ‘Laman, I don’t care if you spent a week sitting in a blind to take that picture, it’s still a crappy picture’.”
Photographer Aaron Huey even admits that his editor once made him cry. Photographer Joel Sartore said that he was once told that “we can’t publish your excuses.”
Every single frame that a National Geographic photographer shoots must be delivered back to the editor, even if these number in the tens-of-thousands. The editor will then sift through all of these shots, piecing together the best to create the impactful stories National Geographic is so famous for.