Assignment

Love Snap

This assignment ran from Feb 14 to Mar 7, 2014.

Welcome to the month of love.

Who do you love?
What do you love?
Where do you love to hide to get away from it all?

We tend to be casual about using this powerful word, so stop for a moment and consider what love actually means to you. Now is the time to turn words into images. Don’t tell us who or where or what makes your heart sing—show us.

Photography is a powerful voice for all things, physical and metaphorical. How can the people and things you love be expressed with light, movement, and color? More...

Curated by:

Lynn Johnson
National Geographic Photographer

Elizabeth Krist
Senior Photo Editor, National Geographic Magazine

Maggie Steber
National Geographic Photographer
Assignment Status
  • Open

  • Closed

  • Published

Published Mar 14, 2014.
Thank you for your contributions!

Behind The Edit

Posted mar 24, 2014

Over 14,000 photos were submitted to the Love Snap assignment, 27 made it into the final story. Listen to our phone call with the editors—who were “warriors for your pictures”—on how the experience changed them.

Learn more about this process on our sister blog PROOF.

Pique Our Curiosity

Posted mar 5, 2014

When selecting photos, we're looking for spontaneous, real-life moments. But what we're seeing is too many saccharine-sweet photos that don't have a backstory and that don't tell us about a different kind of love. We're looking for photographs that pique our curiosity and make us want to know more.

So, among all these thousands of very similar photographs, especially subject-wise, how will your photo stand out in the crowd? Have a look at the Editors' Favorites and you'll see some pretty interesting moments, compositions, light, situations, and expressions of love that go beyond hearts and roses—even venturing into death, service to country, and more. All these photos have something extra that the viewer can learn from or relate to or stop to think about for longer than a moment.

I suspect that many people are posting photographs so that their families and loved ones can see them on the website. But if you want this to be more than Facebook, do the things we've suggested. Photos without any context have less chance of being selected, especially if we're seeing the same kinds of photos thousands of times. We love that people are posting, but go wild a little more, and think of all kinds of love, not just romantic or family love. The operative word for this week is imagination! Use it!

Experiment

Posted feb 28, 2014

Let’s try an experiment. Suppose you need to make one new frame of someone you love, to bring with you on a long journey. But you are absolutely forbidden from making the classic snapshot—no standing at eye level and shooting a head-and-shoulders frame straight on. No passport pictures!

Stop and close your eyes. Conjure up the situations that bring out your deepest feelings for your chosen subject. Is it when your husband cooks you breakfast or your wife tucks your daughter into bed? When your mother practices the cello or a friend cuts your hair? Or when your dog runs through the woods? What time of day is it? What is the light like? 

How will your picture capture and express the feelings you have for loved ones?

And don’t forget: You’re not allowed to stand like two duelers facing each other; no recording anyone straight on. Now’s the time to play. Try shooting action for a change, catching your beloved in motion, with a bit of blur. Shoot from different angles, like above or below. Tilt the horizon. Crop out part of a face or an arm; come in close on a detail. If you don’t usually shoot black and white, try it. Shoot in low light, play with flash. And don’t be afraid to shoot a lot—many of the frames will fail, but some wild ones may surprise you by feeling like the essence of what you remember. And they could give you an image that’s meaningful decades later, a spark of why you always loved that person.   

Dig Deep

Posted feb 21, 2014

We live in a Hallmark world, surrounded by images of the surface. TV, fashion, lifestyle, Internet images—messages zipping past our eyes, stopping only when we sleep. Those are not the images that make great photographs. A great photograph is timeless, purposeful, balanced, energized.

These are the images we ask of you. Please think about the light, the design of the frame, and above all the content of the photographs you send. Ask yourself, Is the light interesting or does it just flood the scene? Light also has a personality. Ask yourself, Is my frame balanced—light and dark, from left to right, up and down, and into the scene? Balance is the essential stuff of life. It's difficult to achieve, but we can actually feel it when it happens.

And then the all-important content. Ask yourself, What am I trying to say with this image? Photographs are visual messages. They can be literal or deeply nuanced. Mine below the surface.

Love is about relationships (to ourselves, each other, and the natural world) and there is always mystery there. So if you're sending images with flat light, obvious clichés, and poorly balanced frames—go back! Pick up your camera and try again to see, to create, to explore, until you find a level of seeing and feeling that result in an image that will carry all of us to a deeper level.

Beyond the Cliche

Posted feb 14, 2014

Your images can be superreal or dreamlike, journalistic or imagined; they can speak to a person or to a moment in time. We challenge you to go beyond the saccharine-sweet clichés and show us the intimate and personal aspects of your ideas on love.

Elevate us. Surprise us! Inspire us with what you love, and we'll share it with the world.

Lynn Johnson

Lynn Johnson

National Geographic Photographer
Photojournalist Lynn Johnson has been photographing the global human condition for the past 35 years. A regular contributor to publications like National Geographic and to various foundations, Johnson brings a subtle perspective to tough issues—the scourge of landmines, the value of threatened languages, and rape in the military among others. She works with at-risk youth around the world as an educator with National Geographic Photo Camp and is working to develop a mentoring program for mulitmedia, photography, and design students at Syracuse University.

Elizabeth Krist

Elizabeth Krist

Senior Photo Editor, National Geographic Magazine
Elizabeth Cheng Krist is a senior photo editor for National Geographic. A St. Louis native, she previously worked at Asia and Fortune in New York. Krist has judged grants and competitions for FotoVisura, PDN, Critical Mass, and Aftermath, and with her colleagues has won awards from POYi, the Overseas Press Club, and Communication Arts. She curated the Women of Vision exhibition and has reviewed portfolios for the New York Times, PhotoPlus, and Palm Springs. Krist is on the board of the Eddie Adams Workshop.

Maggie Steber

Maggie Steber

National Geographic Photographer
Maggie Steber has worked as a documentary photographer in 63 countries. Her photos are included in the Library of Congress collection and the African Diaspora collection at the University of Miami, where she serves as a visiting lecturer. A collection of Haiti photographs from her longtime work in the country was published in Dancing on Fire: Photographs from Haiti (Aperture). She is a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine and the recipient of multiple grants and awards, including the Leica Medal of Excellence.
583 comments
karla maria sotelo
karla maria sotelo

Hi! i'd like to know if the story or the pictures selected are going to appear in the printed edition of the magazzine   thank you!!!

Sai Abhishek
Sai Abhishek

My photograph got featured in the Love Snap assignment. Will it be printed in the Nat Geo magazine as well ?

Enid W.
Enid W.

I can "see" what the editors were referring to when they werer looking for photos that made you stop and think. A lot of these were already in my favorites because of their boldness, details, and stories. Wonderful photos and stories chosen.

Patricia Przybylinski
Patricia Przybylinski

Can anyone else see the published story, or is my computer misbehaving? I can only see the kickin' zebra page. Thanks, Patti P.



supriya joon
supriya joon

waiting for the ' Love Snap ' Results.:D

Charlie Bry
Charlie Bry

I'm no professional, I know, that out of everyone in the world, I probably didn't win, but Id still like to see the results of this....:)

Sai Abhishek
Sai Abhishek

I'm eagerly waiting for the ' Love Snap ' Results.

Chris B.
Chris B.

I've found the community here to be very friendly and very supportive, it's pleasant to be part of. I was reading the comments about being 'Editor's Favourited' and maybe you need to create a seperate markup for the Professional Processes as opposed to the emotional likes ? Otherwise the feeling of being under professional consideration and then not under consideration jars with the warm, friendly atmosphere. Maybe create a second badge showing a few states (Red/Amber/Green)- considered for publication, shortlisted and published so contributors know where they are in your workflow and that their photos are being looked at in a more rigourous way ? 

C. James
C. James

http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/photos/3044758/

When I entered my submissions to the assignment I was thinking of it mainly as a way to get some feedback. It was great to see those who liked my photos and then look at their work and see what I liked of those. It has certainly gotten me thinking about how and why I shoot. I was brand new to this community and I love this forum but at times it feels like a competition. As an assignment I don't think it should be a competition but more of a collaboration. At any rate, I am grateful to the moderators for their involvement and feedback. I personally have already gained so much and I'm so excited to use the insight in my future photography endeavours.

Krysti Dallas
Krysti Dallas

i have a general question: Other than hash tags, is there a secret to getting your photos seen by people?  I see some photos with hundreds of favorites, and just didn't know if there was some secret to getting the photos to show up more often  Obviously getting published is one way, but with the seer number of photos the community is uploading, i know there is no way that the editors can see all of them.  I am not saying any of my photos are publishing material, just curious as to how to get more exposure for current or future submissions. 

Juliana X.
Juliana X.

Hey everybody, I'm really happy that my pic got into the daily dozen today. It's called "Bundle of love" and shows my cute cat Jujuba hiding into the bedware. I know that there are many great photos, so go there and vote for your favorite! 

http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/daily-dozen/

If you like mine, vote! 


Thank you all.

Lynn Johnson
Lynn Johnson expert

Well I just tuned back into this site and found so many people upset by their photos being "unfavored". I'm so sorry but the editing phase is now taking place and we are paring down the selection. So please know that if you images were "favored" then it is something to be proud of and I think they should keep that status on your page. The tough editing has begun so like professionals one has to be philosophical about staying in the mix. Many images will not continue.

But this is how we all learn. Even today I was working with an editor who was deleting my photos!

Ah, it is the same for all of us. All best to all of you. Hope to see you on another assignment.

Hasan Mahmud Tipu
Hasan Mahmud Tipu

This is my submission for the assignment and its now in Editor's favorites. 


http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/photos/3103622/


I used to cross them everyday on my way to school. Once, I saw this family sleeping during rain at night, making a shed with cloths for protecting from water. I saw this mother breastfeeding her young kid on the street. They have to lead their life. This picture depicts lots people staying on the streets. The photo shows where care, affection, bonding, love intersect- however they live their lives. You can see a millionaire may not be happier than this family is.

J. Goodland
J. Goodland

Did anyone else have an editors' favorite from this assignment taken away? This photo:

http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/photos/2052123/

was an Editors Favorite early on in Love Snap, but when the assignment closed, that disappeared. It would be a shame to have that taken away, I'd been so proud of it and having that selection was encouraging to me during a difficult time.

Nikola Kostic
Nikola Kostic

@Krysti Dallas I have one for you...I joined in 2010 and was posting not looking or likening any photographs...I took 2 year break from NG and come back maybe a week ago...saw 2 of my photographs were published and then did a little test...I liked every single photo on recent and give a comments to people I really love... everything exploded... I felt kind of bad but soon realized no matter how good you are it is nice to get LIKE...you never know how one can develop, right ?  To get a big number of likes you need to be active on the site, I believe it is the only way...I was TRENDING at times with 10 photos on the first page and didn't get DD...got 1 editor like...but it doesn't matter if you are really good and have a little luck things can happen. What I got from this is few friends, photographers who are sharing and giving ideas to each other without ego...the better they are less ego is involved. I am a pro photographer it is my only way of income but really who cares it is sharing idea's that got me kind of hooked to a site...be careful it can happen. Good luck, Nikola

C. James
C. James

I think you are new to this forum as am I. What I have observed is that as you interact with others here you are building a network that will be unique for you. Since I was looking for feedback, whenever someone takes notice of my photos I go and look at their gallery. I see what it is they are doing that I like and sometimes what I don't like. I think you need to see a lot of photos as well as take them to develop a critical eye. Being in a a community of photographers is bound to awaken the photographer in you as well. Happy snapping! CJ

Enid W.
Enid W.

@Krysti Dallas I'm a new member and also an amatuer photographer but as I read NG's how to post directions, blogs, and feedbacks, I've gathered that one way is the fact that people can post photos to their "My Photos," tab -- and those photos can be chosen by the editors as favorites for the Daily Photo option. Also, I think that you can submit the same photo to different assignments, thus increasing your chances for exposure. I would go back and read about the Daily Dozen and the editor's favorites. I hope this helps.

srimanta ray
srimanta ray

@Lynn Johnson  Thank You Lynn.... I am a new student  of You....I learn and too much inspired from You.... NOW I BELIEVE IN MY LOVE mean PHOTOGRAPHY.....NO NEED OF ANY AWARD AND PUBLICATION...... I JUST TRY TO SHARE MY BEST COLLECTION IN MY VIEWS FROM THIS FANTASTIC EARTH with ALL OF YOU in A WORLD FAMOUS SITE like NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC....and this MENTALITY COMES FROM YOU.... Obviously sometimes I feel Hurt....But NOW I JUST TRY TO CAPTURED MY EMOTION in PHOTOGRAPHY and IN THE FRAME ..... Thanks Again....A Mad Learner.... :)Sri

To You.. http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/photos/3201996/

My publish deleted image(now again upload) http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/photos/3201646/



Enid W.
Enid W.

@Lynn Johnson Thanks for your feedback. I know paring down is hard, especially when there are so many wonderful photos. It is good for us to remember that this venue of sharing photos is truly a wonderful way of sharing photos and getting feedback. I know I'm thankful.

J. Goodland
J. Goodland

@Lynn Johnson  Thanks for your response - I think that as users many of us have evolved our own ways of using the "Editors' Favorites" as stepping stones to features like the Daily Dozen. I think every website goes through this at some point - users interpret things differently from administrators all the time. I've noticed, too, that on this assignment in particular people have been more willing to speak up and be responsive because we've observed how responsive you, Elizabeth, and Maggie have been towards our concerns and questions. I think the continuing debates you're seeing should be taken as a compliment to your accessibility and attention!

Since the editors now know that removing that status DOES remove all traces of that honor from the users' page, maybe Your Shot can work on changing the code to make all of us happy. I don't know that any of us who have been "unfavored" will get that honor back, but I think we all have the same goal of making Your Shot as good as it can possibly be going forward and I hope everyone understands that it is an evolving process. Since many people on Your Shot are amateurs and/or aren't used to the ruthlessness required by the editorial phase, I think going forward a site change will reduce the number of people who feel discouraged, upset, or confused.

Joy Guha
Joy Guha

@Lynn Johnson  well said.very true.
one of my photo appreciated by you and other photo "favored" by Elizabeth Krist. And my photos may not be in the final selection.its very much accepted.
my job is only capturing the right moments and the process of selection out of thousand photos must be a hard work !
respect and regards to You Lynn.
Elizabeth Krist and Maggie Steber.

Sandra Knopers
Sandra Knopers

@Cezary Filew Hello Cezary, if you scroll down in this discussion you find the comments of J.Goodland and me. Also our photos were "unfavorited". Personally I think it has to do with a shifting in the large gallery of approx 800 editor's favorites, and that the number of photos needed to be reduced. As also stated by J. Goodland, it is however rather discouraging to see your photo removed from the list. Hopefully a solution/explanation will be given in the future.

Regards, Sandra

J. Goodland
J. Goodland

@Sandra Knopers  Forgive another reply (I'm a professional researcher so these puzzles need answers! Heh). I investigated further and found that photo editor Lynn Johnson did indeed favorite my shot, and then she removed that designation. I did not receive any explanation or notice.

After doing some investigation into how Editors' Favorites work, I think I have an explanation: When an editor favorites a shot, it stays in that category for all future and past assignments as long as it's submitted. If an editor favorites hundreds of shots per assignment, then each shot becomes a favorite for ALL assignments. I can see that getting very cluttered indeed!

So as an editor works on more and more assignments, those older favorites submitted for all assignments get "grandfathered" in as long as they remain favorites. Ms. Johnson has substantially pared down her Your Shot favorites, and I can speculate that she may either be finishing up her work on Love Snap for publication or she may be focusing her favorites on another assignment.

Nothing sinister or ill-intended about that - but this does have a nasty unintended effect of removing that little recognition that we find so encouraging, and it feels like overt rejection. I'm not sure that Ms. Johnson is aware that this is what that practice does and this is how it makes some of us feel.

Here's how we can all be happy going forward: On someone's personal Your Shot page, "Editors' Favorites" should stay in that category regardless of what an editor does with his/her favorites in the future. The Daily Dozen, for example, has a little award ribbon added - why can't there be something similar for Editors' Favorites? That way, Ms. Johnson and the other photo editors who have to comb through thousands of submissions can use their favorites as they wish without appearing discouraging or rejecting to the very people this site works so hard to encourage.

Ms. Johnson, what are your thoughts?

Sai Abhishek
Sai Abhishek

@Krysti Dallas  It is mentioned in the INBOX description that you will be notified once your image gets published. The assignment should be out by now but its delayed. 

Krysti Dallas
Krysti Dallas

Have you already been notified? This is my first assignment so I am not sure how the process works. What time do they typically post the finished assignment?

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