What Does It Take To Become A National Geographic Photographer?

The short answer is it’s not easy. You need to be committed to the core and love what your doing. National Geographic is known for its decades of astonishing photography, and serves as a kind of Mount Everest for many photojournalists. There are few outlets in the world with as respected a team of photographers. No other publication seems to transform its photographers into celebrities the way National Geographic does. I am extremely fortunate to be one of these photographers and I wake up every day with gratitude as well as humility because I know I am keeping company with the best in the world. 

With all that said, I spend a lot of my own money and resources in order to bring back iconic images to National Geographic. I have other sources of income like renting 2 sprinter camper vans at Outdoorsy. I use these sprinter vans out in the field while traveling and capturing photographs, as well as to help save money.The #vanlife is a very viable option for any photographer willing to forgo traditional norms and embrace off-the-grid living in order to capture those hard to come by moments in nature. Being disconnected from the rest of the world and living the nomadic lifestyle is one of my favorite and soul cleansing things I can do for my photography as well as my overall well being.   

 

On another note, I own a couple other websites that help up and coming photographers realize their dream. One being a website dedicated to phone photography called Phonetographr. On that site I sell everything related to taking photos with your phone and all the accessories associated with phone photography. Vlogging is a big seller on that website and I see a future in video blogging as a viable source of income for future photographers and videographers looking for income. YouTubers are the new information highway and I don't see a future without these creative individuals contributing to the overall experience of all future generations. 

 

Another website that I own is called The Professional Photographer and the blogs that have been posted there are to help both the professional photographer as well as those just dipping their toe into this field. I acquired this website this year from another blogger who put his heart and soul into this website and I appreciated his contribution to helping others achieve education on the subject of photography. One of the main reasons I bought this website was I saw the potential to help others learn photography. Whether it be National Geographic worthy or the average Joe wanting education I saw a need to continue the conversation and education. 

 

Associated with this website is a photography forum called the Professional Photography Group on Facebook.  This group of both professional photographers and beginners come together to share images from around the world and is one of my favorite things to participate in and watch. I see images from all around the world from this very dynamic group. I love seeing images posted from other cultures and environments that are personal and intimate to the photographer behind the lens.  Something about local "intimate" photographs and how they portray a feeling of community, family, religion, environment, and culture that differentiate from our own "community" norms makes me want to go explore the world and look at those fleeting and profound moments in time.

 

Finally, my social media followers and visitors to this website help support me in the field by buying my fine art and attending my workshops or even renting one of my sprinter vans. Every piece of artwork sold goes to support me in the field and I certainly appreciate it!

I wouldn't be able to do this without all the wonderful people who believe in me. As hard as this job is sometimes I wouldn't trade it for anything else in the world. I feel very fortunate to be represented by National Geographic and all the wonderful people in the organization. They have done more for environmental awareness than any other publication, and I am proud to work for them.

National Geographic Photographer Robbie George