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How We Celebrate

This assignment ran from Mar 1 to Mar 31, 2019.

“Shall we walk through the woods; 
dance through the meadows; 
and celebrate the miracle of this garden world?” 
― Leland Lewis

Am I the only one who immediately thinks of “Celebration” by Kool & the Gang the moment they read the word “celebrate”? The song is technically from before my time, but I remember that as a kid, my mom would sing it around the house for any occasion. By default, I do the same now.

And we have so much to celebrate! March is Your Shot's birthday month and we're officially a teenager! So let’s celebrate our thirteenth birthday in the way we know best: with amazing photography. Let’s use our craft to show all the different occasions we celebrate, and how we celebrate them. We are a global community, and this is an awesome chance to learn about all kinds of different local celebrations. We celebrate through food and drink, parties, entire festivals. The list is never-ending, so show us yours!

A couple quick tips for this assignment: Any celebration from any time of the year is welcome for this, including—but certainly not limited to—holidays. Caption information will be crucial for this assignment! Don’t assume I know what the significance of the celebration is-- tell me about it in great detail. I want to learn something from this assignment.

Oh, last thing. This assignment will be special because it’s running the whole month of March. That’s March 1 to March 31, 2019! You will have plenty of time to revisit your archive, but I encourage you to photograph something new. Surely there’s a birthday party, parade, religious service, or festival nearby—see what new photos you can create. I look forward to finding even more reasons to celebrate!

This assignment closes on March 31, 2019 at 12pm, EST. 

Curated by:

Kristen McNicholas
Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot
Assignment Status
  • Open

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  • Closed

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  • Published

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Published Apr 17, 2019.
Thank you for your contributions!

In case you missed it!

Posted apr 22, 2019

Hi everyone! 

I just wanted to send this out via an Editor's Update that I made a Behind the Edit blog post about the final editing process for this story in case anyone missed it. There's some valuable information about editorial decisions that can be made during the final curation process. You can read it here



Editor's Update #02

Posted mar 15, 2019

We’ve reached the halfway point of Your Shot’s birthday month, already! As I’m going through the submissions, I’ve been seeing explosions of color, expressions of joy and already learned about celebrations around the world that I never knew about before.

As we enter the second half of this assignment, I want you to think about looking at celebrations from the outskirts of the action. For example, instead of photographing the parade, photograph the people watching the parade while looking for storytelling moments that build a larger narrative around the celebration as a whole.

Don’t forget about the rite of passage celebrations— think bar and bat mitzvah, quiñcenera, sweet sixteen, baptism…I’m sure there are many more I don’t know about yet and I’m eager to learn.

I can’t emphasize the importance of fruitful captions enough for this assignment. If you only have a couple words in your caption I encourage you to edit them with more information about the celebration you’re photographing.

I’m excited to see what the second half of this assignment has to offer! Don’t forget to use the assignment discussion board to get feedback and workshop your submission.

Happy celebrating!

Editor's Update #01

Posted mar 6, 2019

Hi everyone! I’m loving how we’re all celebrating together already.

A few tips to keep in mind moving forward with your remaining submissions.

  • Think about what narrative you’re sharing with your photograph. Ask yourself, “What’s the story I want to tell and does this photograph actually communicate that?”
  • Celebratory events can create very messy compositions so be sure to think about how you can create a clean photograph, even in the middle of chaos. Maybe it’s getting a different perspective, or using your f/stop to create a shallow depth of field to set focus on your main character and let the background fall out of focus.
  • Get in front of the action! Think about this with parades or large events. It's not a hard rule, but it's a starting point.
  • As always, follow the light.

These pieces of advice can apply to anything you photograph but are good to think about here. Remember that this assignment is open for the whole month of March so take the time to workshop your submissions in the assignment discussion board and really take advantage of the extra time!

Don’t forget about the possibility of still lives or abstractions, too. I’ve seen some really lovely still lives of special table set-ups for dinners. Keep experimenting and leaning into different ways to see familiar scenes.

Keep up the good work!

Kristen McNicholas
Associate Photo Editor, National Geographic Your Shot

Kristen McNicholas

Kristen McNicholas

Associate Photo Editor, Nat Geo Your Shot
Kristen is an Associate Photo Editor with the Your Shot team. She interned at the White House Photo Office under the Obama Administration as well as Education Week. A proud RIT alumna, dessert enthusiast and Finger Lakes, NY native, Kristen is excited to guide your photographic journey!