Attending the National Geographic Field Photography Seminar

National Geographic Society Logo

This weekend I attended the  National Geographic Travel Photography Seminar hosted at the National Geographic Society HQ in Washington, DC. Here’s a few brief notes, as well as resources discussed during the all day seminar.


Photography Equipment

  • What’s in Catherine’s Bag?
    • As little as possible
    • Tripod
    • Canon 5D mk2
    • 24-70 f/2.8 L lens
    • 16-35 Lens
    • 24-105 Lens (<<< WHY Would you go with the 24-105 instead of 70-200?)
    • Flash – 580EX2
    • Lite Disk – Soft gold
    • Cable release
    • Graduated ND Filters and holder – (<<<Why a graduated ND filder, why not a variable whole ND filter and photoshop?)
    • Polarizer
    • 8GB CF Cards x 4, in a holder
    • Magnifying glass to see the back of the screen
  • What’s in Aaron’s bag
    • EWA marine bag – waterproof camera bag
    • 70-200mm Lens
    • 16-35mm lens
    • 85 or 135mm portrait lens
    • 50mm lens
    • Camera – 5dMK2 w/ 35mm prime lens
    • Shotgun mic for film
    • ND Filder (<<<WHY a graduated ND filter?)
    • Sound Recorder for recording ambiance
    • Headlamp
    • Off camera flash cord
    • 2 Batteries with 2 battery chargers
    • Adjustable ND filter
    • Alarm clock
    • Advil
    • Memory Cards (how many cards?)
    • Flash
    • Newswear hip bags>>
  • Tools and tricks for better pictures
    • Wide Angle Lens
      • Sometimes used out of necessity
      • Get in the entire scene – mostly shooting with the 16-35mm lens
      • Dramatize space – smash lines into alignment – dramatic effect
    • Telephoto Lens
      • Used to crush space – compress DOF
    • Prime lenses
      • Super fast, able to pull ambient light out of the sky
      • Good for shooting time of day when the manmade light matches the light leves in the sky
    • Details
      • Important to complete a story – pull people into the details of life
      • Hands is a go-to for details
    • Stay loose, break some rules
    • Proximity
    • Patterns
      • Repetition of objects, big open spaces, leave space in the frame
    • Creative Framing
      • Where are you when you’re making these pictures?
      • Not about just waiting for the right things to happen, but putting yourself in the right position
    • Releases
      • Photos for an editorial story do not need releases
  • Making Great Pictures – Catherine
    • Looking for Light
      • Trying to create mood and feeling with the lighting in the photo
    • Elements of Composition
    • Details details details
    • Action and Mobitoon
    • Moments and gestures
    • Put people in
    • Get on board
  • Immersion Photography
    • Photographing outside your comfort zone
  • Photographing People
    • Come into a situation giving off a positive attitude and feeling
    • Let people connect with you as a photographer
    • Get to know a little of the local language, and know positive words
    • “Who would suggest I photograph in order to properly capture” (fundamental technique in handling people)

Seminar Handout PDF



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