The 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest is closing SOON! Enter your best images today! The contest closes on Thursday November 15, 12 pm EST.
arrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-upchevron-upchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-upclosecomment-newemail-newgallerygridheadphones-newheart-filledheart-openmap-geolocatormap-pushpinArtboard 1Artboard 1Artboard 1minusng-borderpauseplayplusreplayscreenArtboard 1sharefacebookgithubArtboard 1Artboard 1linkedinlinkedin_inpinterestpinterest_psnapchatsnapchat_2tumblrtwittervimeovinewhatsappspeakerstar-filledstar-openzoom-in-newzoom-out-new

Family Portrait

This assignment ran from Dec 3 to Dec 24, 2013.

Families come in all shapes and sizes, and the term has never been more all-inclusive or had so many different meanings than it does today. Your brothers and sisters, your sports team, your classmates, even your larger community might be thought of by you as family. What I’m interested in seeing with this assignment is how family is defined differently across the Your Shot community—and what you choose to explore and reveal about family through your photos.

In order to best tell your family story, you should strive not only to make beautiful images but also to capture the moments and qualities of your family life that make it unique. What does your family look like, and how would you like it to be remembered? More...

Curated by:

Ben Fitch
Associate Photo Editor, Traveler Magazine
Assignment Status
  • Open

    Everyone’s welcome to contribute their best shot to open assignments. Learn more.
  • Closed

    Completed assignments—with our favorite photos included—will be published online. Learn more.
  • Published

    Once the submission period is over, we'll review all contributions and select our favorite images to be included in the story. Learn more.
Published Jan 7, 2014.
Thank you for your contributions!


Posted dec 18, 2013

Part of what makes photographing members of your own family so interesting is the close relationship you have to them. Unlike with photographing strangers, in this assignment you know your subjects extremely well and can achieve a connection and intimacy with them in your pictures that would be hard for an outsider to do.

Most of my favorite photos submitted thus far have been those that couldn’t have been made by someone with zero connection to the people in the pictures. Be sure to use your comfort with and knowledge of your family as an advantage in this assignment—and show us images that highlight that closeness and realness.

This assignment closes in five days. Best of luck as you make your last images to submit before next week!


Posted dec 12, 2013

A week into the assignment and we’re nearing 3,000 submissions. I’d like to thank everyone who has submitted pictures so far—a lot of nice work has come in!

Many of the pictures that have been submitted at this point have been portraits, which I would expect and encourage in this type of assignment. However, I don’t want you to think too literally or straightforward about this assignment, either.

I encourage you to show diversity in your edits and use each of your three pictures to illustrate family in a different way. If you submit a portrait as one of your three allotted submissions, think about what your other two pictures might show. Perhaps it’s the scene of your family carrying out a tradition that’s been in your family for years, a detail shot of meaningful heirlooms passed down between generations, or a landscape of an area important to your family’s upbringing.

Lastly, don’t forget to send in detailed captions with your pictures. A thoughtful caption provides insight into a picture and gives it more meaning.

Be creative, think outside the box, and challenge yourself to tell your visual stories in meaningful, interesting, and unexpected ways.

Good luck!


Posted dec 3, 2013

Last month I spent a weekend with my family at my grandmother’s house in Vermont. The Yellow House, as we call it, has been in my family for nearly 60 years and has been lived in or visited by my great-grandparents and by cousins and others from different branches and generations over the years.

Tucked away in old bookshelves and cabinets throughout the house are faded envelopes filled with old pictures left behind by various family members and dating back decades. Whenever my family visits the Yellow House, we find ourselves looking through these old pictures, handling each one with great care, treasuring the images that provide glimpses into the everyday lives of our relatives, some of whom we never knew.

What I love about family pictures is how well they can pass down the story of a family through a series of often informal and personal moments. What I hope to see with this assignment are photographs that show the intimate and meaningful connection between you (the photographer) and your subject matter. No matter how you define the word “family,” show us how yours is unique. Think about what you’d like others to know about your family story through looking at your pictures. Both posed and candid portraits are a great place to start, but also think about illustrating the important traditions, places, and personal qualities that make your family story special.

After all, if you as a photographer don’t record your family’s story, who will?

Ben Fitch

Ben Fitch

Associate Photo Editor, Traveler Magazine
After earning a degree in Journalism and Art History in 2011, Ben Fitch set out on a journey to pursue photography that took him from Boston to Santa Fe to New York and eventually to the steps of National Geographic in Washington, DC. Prior to his current role editing photography for Traveler magazine, Ben edited photography for