Assignment

The Animals We Love

This assignment ran from Jun 2 to Jun 23, 2014.

Animals have been my passion my entire life. Animals are my guiding light, my vice, my joy, my therapy, and my companions. If you identify with any of these statements, then this assignment is for you.

This assignment is about following your passion for animals and photographing from the heart. It is most important to photograph what you care about and not worry about making a proper photograph. Never feel embarrassed about how much you care about animals! Remember, the personal becomes universal in a strong photograph. Avoid the pitfalls of making a generic “stock image”—photograph it all and then edit yourself. My editing challenge will be to differentiate between poignant and too cute. I'm sure I'll love all your photos but know I must make hard selections for this assignment.

Your approach can range from creating an intimate portrait that communicates the distinct personality of an animal to photographing your observations of an animal within a landscape, on the street, in parks, or in zoos. More ...

Curated by:

Robin Schwartz
Fine Art/Editorial Photographer
Assignment Status
  • Open

  • Closed

  • Published

Published Jun 30, 2014.
Thank you for your contributions!

Make or Break

Posted jun 19, 2014

In no particular order, here’s what I’ve been looking for as I edit:

• Poignancy, empathy

• Beauty in content and light

• Something unusual, strange, or that I have not seen before

• Animal behavior

• Cultural insight

• A quality in the photo that makes me smile or haunts me, an image I go back to, try to figure out, or that works on several levels and makes me think

• Make or break: consideration of the frame, crop, and horizontal and vertical choices

• A universal but not stock image

• The caption, backstory and information, location

Sometimes I marked photos as favorites that were not technically perfect but made me just plain stare or catch my breath—for reasons that I could not always pin down. In other words, I looked for photos that made me feel. Thanks for showing the wide range of emotion that can be felt when photographing the animals we love.

Watch Your Crop

Posted jun 11, 2014

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this wonderful photo sharing community.

I so enjoy seeing each and every photograph immensely and want to mark with a "like" way too many of them, for many different reasons. My challenge as an editor is to be selective and to write constructive comments. I have had a technical learning curve navigating the website, but now I think I have found my rhythm for viewing each image and its description.

How I edit: Foremost I edit for image content, but an added wonderful aspect is being able to take note of the comments, which sometimes give me more insight into the work and satisfies my curiosity. Ultimately it is the personal content added in the description that gives a memorable story to an already compelling image.

After considering the main subject, my process for selections is often based on cropping and framing, then lighting, followed by how the subject’s environment either contributes content or detracts from it and is distracting. I appreciate a context to the subject, which helps me to understand the environment the animals inhabit, as well as to admire a portrait with a minimal background.

Sometimes there are absolutely wonderful subjects, but I opt not to select those because the zoom is too close (this has occurred often in this assignment), with body parts seeming to be arbitrarily cropped out of the photo, such as ears, chins, necks, and parts of legs. I very much appreciate a thoughtful crop of the body.

I do not edit to a formula either. Rules are meant to be broken in art; there is always a wonderful surprise that breaks all accepted standards. I suggest that, if you're zooming in or using a long lens, you change up the framing, shooting verticals as well and varying your crop. Many zoomed, tight horizontal portraits might have been more successful with a vertical approach that came down on the neck and left off the unnecessary information on the horizontal sides. When zooming in, pull back and cover your bases if you have the time.

You can always crop closer, but you can't add an ear. When I shoot, I check my viewfinder edges, since I already see what is in the center. Most of us are shooting digital, so get another, larger, faster memory card. Then, to contradict myself, you can overshoot and miss the moment, a throwback to hunting with film, film had limits.

That said, there are always exceptions, and I do not base my edit selections on any rules. A wonderful photograph shouts out, takes my breath away, and stays with me.

Show Us You Care

Posted jun 2, 2014

Photograph for a while before sending in your selection. Warm up to the assignment, then select the images you care most about. The most important aspect of this assignment is creating photographs that you value, despite what any other person says. With this assignment, it is most important to enjoy the process and experience of the animal. Trust that the value you place on a photograph might come through in your capture.

As I have learned from the previous editors of Your Shot assignments, captions can provide the intent and tell your story. Your caption should absolutely connect to your image, extend your vision, and provide me with more insight into your personal individual image. Please, no digital manipulation; I want to see real life—the real animal is the ultimate experience.

I look forward to seeing your photos and for you to be able to share images about who and what you care about with fellow “animal people.” Eccentricity can make great photographs. Be safe, be respectful. Remember, all your photos are valuable, meaningful, but we all have to edit to communicate within our limits.

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz

Fine Art/Editorial Photographer
Robin Schwartz's photographs are held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, among others. Her photographs are included in over 50 books, and her work has appeared in the New York Times, Time Lightbox, The New Yorker Magazine, The Oprah Magazine, and many other publications. She has presented Master Talks at the National Geographic Magazine Photography Seminar, LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph and The Eddie Adams Workshops. Schwartz earned a MFA from Pratt Institute and is an Associate Professor of Photography at William Paterson University of New Jersey.
299 comments
Alessandro Severgnini
Alessandro Severgnini

Hello everyone, sorry if I ask this question, and especially for my "poor" english ... I had seen one of my picture selected in the "Editors' Favorites" awarding "The Animals We Love" ... But now I can not find that my photo. 

I have reviewed all the photos section (at least 3 times to be sure) but I have found my... 

it's normally? (If i see my photo in the my profile i see the vote of the editor)

Akshat Purohit
Akshat Purohit

Great to see so many Amazing pictures! 

NG community rocks! & Is a superb source of Inspiration for better ideas and better clicks!


Oh, and yes & nice to see my 'Family Time' photograph of a Happy Monkey family liked by the Editor! :-)


Cheers to us all :)

Jan G.
Jan G.

I thank all of you who just voted on my recent submissions, the stepping on toes chick, and the cross-eyed photo cat.And the others that you added to your favorites! I appreciate all of you and look forward to seeing your shots.

Jan G.
Jan G.

Can anyone tell me the advantage of Tumblr? Is this an asset that may lead to selling photos to companies?how secure is it? Like Nat Geo? Any comments? 

Jan G.
Jan G.

I invite critique from those who visit my gallery especially on my ISO setting and apertures. I invite you to my gallery and if I can learn more from your visit I welcome that.

Elena Milovzorova
Elena Milovzorova

It was so good and surprising when i got a note that editor added my photo to her favourites!  Thanks to all who likes my White peacock. 

National Geografic makes a very great job-unit people,who cant live without photografy and gives us a possibility to study, to see,to show pictures. Thanks.

To everybody- good luck and new achievements!

Bruno Pellegrino
Bruno Pellegrino

Thanks to the editor for adding my very first submission to his favorites' list !
There's so many gorgeous pics here. It must be a monumental task to have to choose a few.

Kathy E.
Kathy E.

Thanks for all the votes...Fairly new to doing them but am totally enjoying these assignments :-D   

Navaneetharaj
Navaneetharaj

I'm very new to this PHOTOGRAPHY world (1 Year) & Now i find one best way that's NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC (Your Shot)......Every Day i'm exited with lots of friends supporting / encouraging my PHOTOGRAPHS (WORLD WIDE)......BIG THANKS TO MY National Geographic FRIENDS & NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC......:)

John Gutierrez
John Gutierrez

My hearty thanks for your "likes" and uplifting comments. So many awesome photographs were submitted to this assignment. What a blessing to see our universe through many lenses!

Rachel Wood
Rachel Wood

I feel humbled to be a part of this great community of photographers who share the same passion. Each photo is special and unique as are the animals we love. 

Mika Laiho
Mika Laiho

Me too! My submission was all about the animals I love the most in this world: reindeer in the Arctic, and curious cats. Luckily, I'm engaged to be married to one of them. Thanks to all of you sharing your special photos, which were truly incredible. It's been a pleasure to share one of my most memorable photos from a trip to Lapland last year.

Good luck to all competition enthusiasts!

S. Ratcliff
S. Ratcliff

Thank you to all who viewed and/or liked my submissions. 

Good Luck to all who entered. 

And thank you to all the animals who were such good subjects ;-)

Debra S.
Debra S.

I join the others in saying thank you for liking my photo submission.  I am inspired and learn something new every day when I see what people have captured.  

cheryl heath
cheryl heath

I wish everyone good luck and thank everyone who "liked" my contribution. I'm sure we all considered our submission to be the best because we all love the subjects in them. So to me, we are all winners for having these wonderful animals in our lives. 

Adriana K.
Adriana K.

Thank you all for like my photo. Good luck everyone and wish you beautiful summer :-) 

Agnieszka Cybulska
Agnieszka Cybulska

Thank you very much for kind word and like my photos and  good luck everyone! <3 

Shane Humphreys
Shane Humphreys

Thanks to everyone who liked my photos.  So, whats the deal with the assignment?  There hasn't been an update.

Romos Kotsonis
Romos Kotsonis

Thank you all that took a glance at my photos, good luck everyone! :)

Nicole Buckley
Nicole Buckley

It's June 23rd today! Why is the assignment already closed? I just got the shot I wanted to upload this afternoon.  It's my birthday and I was actually waiting until today to get my photo of my dog.  If you were going to close the assignment before the 23rd you should have said it was open until the 22nd.  

Daniel J.
Daniel J.

I am hoping that there'd be a chance for pure images - no editing, no cropping and untouched, to have a chance too! I've seen too many 'artificially improved' images and my personal opinion is that too much is done to alter the original feel. To me that's disappointing. If someone can manage to capture the essence of the moment and not alter anything but let the moment make the pic standout, then that skill has to be recognized. My two cents!

Richard Weldon
Richard Weldon

ROBIN,YOU HAVE TALKED A LOT ABOUT CROP, IMAGES IN THE ARTICLE AND FROM WHAT I HAVE SEEN 80% OF THE IMAGES HAVE BEEN DOWN SIZED, AND A LOT OF THE PHOTOS ARE  PLAIN AND SIMPLE ,NOT OUT OF THE ORDINARY

Jan G.
Jan G.

FOR ALL THAT ARE INTERESTED. I found how I punched into a list on all the favorites. If you are into a gallery  go to the person's favorites and punch into the number beside the word favorites and their list will come up of all that they have added. You can punch into theirs and add to yours. It lists where they are from.

Shreyansh Budhia
Shreyansh Budhia

Joyce B and all other guys , thanks for liking my dog's photograph. This discussion page is fun ! let all of us animal jot down all that we want to share about our animals !

Teresa Schuy
Teresa Schuy

Hello!

I just wanted to say thank you to all those who liked my humming bird "feed me momma" photo! It was truly amazing to have 130 strangers say they liked one of my photos. I must say I got the "big head" over it... well at least for a little bit. It was fun to see it at the top of the trending list. Thank you all!!! You made my day so BRIGHT and filled with JOY! THANK YOU!!!

Jan G.
Jan G.

For all who helped me yesterday to reduce a photo to thumbnail, I did it!!!!!I think you can see It on these comments. I used a photo of my blue eyed Siamese. Thanks again. I visited most of your galleries and added  to my favorites.

Jan G.
Jan G.

To Wayne,Heather,Santos,Angela,Peter,and Christopher, :Thank you all for coming to my rescue.Christopher put me onto the answer in Nikon ViewNX2. Now all I have to know is how many pixels to reduce sides to  make it = the thumbnail (1m?) required for our profile photo. Anyone know? Thanks to all of you and I am going now o see your latest photos and vote for you!

Barbara Mochon
Barbara Mochon

How do  you find  your photo that editor  has commented on?

Philip Ashwood
Philip Ashwood

@Shane Humphreys Since the assignment is closed and the editors are working on their final selection we just have to wait until June 30.

Sarah Jackson
Sarah Jackson

@Nicole Buckley aw, bummer - they close at noon US eastern time on the date listed. I agree it's not super clear at times and it'd be better if that exact time was written somewhere in advance. Sorry about that - last time around I just plain forgot to submit until like 2 minutes after it closed. Whoops!  Hope you had a good birthday though!

H. Murphy
H. Murphy

@Daniel J. I would agree with you but I shoot RAW. This file format is nothing but data and can be called a digital negative which requires post work in software to produce a finished output in ether JPG or TIF format, it depends on the whether one requires transparency information in the file. I do agree that some people tend to over cook some files but its their expression and it counts. Actually I really don't care for it but some of it I like. 

Ayushman Ghosh
Ayushman Ghosh

@Teresa Schuy ... and thanks the little birds too :) Really liked them.

Daniel J.
Daniel J.

@H. Murphy Fair enough. Freedom of expression! I am an amateur still learning the nuances of good photography. I do personally care for it though and would prefer to see nature's colours than an enhanced, artificial version. beauty in simplicity and the uncomplicated, is my choice. Good luck with your submissions and keep clicking away. 

Tracey Stevens
Tracey Stevens

@Daniel J. @H. Murphy I dont like enhancing either. When you learn to use a camera, once you have your settings right you actually shouldnt need to enhance anything.  For me, I dont think NG is the place for photoshopped images, its not what I grew up with I guess, I still use film when I can and plate glass.  But on the other hand, who am I to push my likes or dislikes onto anyone.  

Adrienne Siebert
Adrienne Siebert

@Daniel J. @H. Murphy Even if you do not shoot in RAW, the camera doesn't always capture what we see. It can be way different. Try shooting against the sun, in low light, or with flash on. Is the unedited image even close to what you tried to capture as a natural appearing image? With perfect knowledge of a camera's exposure times, aperture, and flash settings, you may be able to come close without editing, (it can be had with plenty of experience) but I doubt it will get that close every time without post processing of some sort. I have been shooting since I was a teen when there was only film, and love the way we can work with the files to help images without being in the dark! Adding to or removing things or colors from a photo(unless I am removing color to make a B&W) is where I draw the line, because I am a photographer at heart, not a digital artist. ;-) I believe that composite images do not belong here on Nat Geo Your shot, but I do edit my photos and I am not afraid to admit it. ;-)

Daniel J.
Daniel J.

@Tracey Stevens I agree totally! Keep clicking away with what you believe gives you the most satisfaction and happiness as a photographer. That's what I follow. 

Daniel J.
Daniel J.

@Adrienne Siebert I understand what you are saying but that is one instance where you might need editing of any sort. (shooting against the sun) Excessive manipulation, is what in my opinion, doesn't portray skill. You've mentioned about shooting from the days of the film roll. Count me in! I used to love the days where I had to wait for the development to be done, to actually see my photograph! Those were the good old days of photography. Maybe you have to edit some detail or other to make it perfect but I've never done it so far and in all my pics, I try to capture the moment. I agree with you totally on knowing when to draw the line. I might even try to edit and crop a few images of mine, just to see what difference it makes. Thanks for taking time to visit my gallery and for liking a few moments recorded. 

Roger Pimenta
Roger Pimenta



@Adrienne Siebert 


@Adrienne Siebert @Daniel J, @H.Murphy 


Lets not forget that even the masters of photography edited, re-worked and touched up each and every single image displayed. Ansel Adams would spend weeks touching up the slightest of details to produce the perfect image. Post production is just as much a labor of love as taking the photo itself.Much quicker to edit in today's age on the computer but for me, editing is part of the art that is photography. Sometimes you don't have the time to properly frame a shot especially when on the street, and that's were editing is crucial. I don't agree with manipulation of objects, but myself edit and crop aggressively when needed. Love all the shots!!!

Daniel J.
Daniel J.

@Roger Pimenta @Adrienne Siebert you have a point Roger. As long as the manipulation isn't excessive, I guess it improves and makes the photograph perfect. Maybe I need to get used to editing now, especially having heard many positive thoughts like the ones above. Good luck with all your assignments and keep on clicking and sharing with us. 

Adrienne Siebert
Adrienne Siebert

@Robert Pimenta

True story.

I usually shoot a little wide and adjust my composition in post. You can't get back what was not in the frame. Also, I love spot metering but my camera only has that feature dead center and sometimes the metering and focus lock doesn't stick and then the moment is gone. Post processing is very important for me. ;-)

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