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For National Geographic's Photo of the Day

This assignment ran from Feb 2 to Feb 25, 2019.

Every day National Geographic features a Your Shot photo in their Photo of the Day series. The mission of this assignment is to help me curate content for this daily series. I am looking for visual stories with gorgeous light, fantastic composition, and beautiful moments. I want to explore the animals, landscapes, and cultures of our world through your photos AND captions. At National Geographic, we believe in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. As their photo community, Your Shot is your opportunity to contribute to this mission, one photo at a time. 

I love — and agree with — this insight from Alexa Keefe, former Photo of the Day editor (February 2011 to August 2015): “I looked for pictures that told a story in a single frame. There needed to be enough going on that the viewer would be compelled to pause for a moment and take it in. I came across many images of the same situation, but it was the ones that had something unique — the light, the composition, the palette, the mood — that caught my eye.”

Because we are National Geographic, your captions will be very important for this assignment. Help me, help the National Geographic audience understand what they are looking at in the moment you captured. Is there a story behind the photo? Take advantage of the caption and provide context to your photo (i.e. who, what, where, when, why). Yes, there will be Editor’s Favorites with basic captions, but they will not be selected by me to be published in Photo of the Day. For example, while curating the series for February 2019, there was a photo I really loved, but the caption only read: “Polar bears.” So, I chose another Your Shot photo instead.

With the Photo of the Day series, every day is your chance to be published by National Geographic — so take advantage of this assignment and be thoughtful about your submissions.

Photos from your archive are allowed, but please limit them to the past two years, 2017 to present. The assignment closes on February 25, 2019 at 12PM EST. Take advantage of the discussion board to engage with the community and ask for advice about your photos BEFORE submitting.

David Y. Lee
Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

Curated by:

David Lee
Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot
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 Mar 13, 2019.
Thank you for your contributions!

Open for a Fourth Submission

Posted feb 19, 2019

Today I am opening up this assignment for a fourth submission; deadline is February 25, 2019 at 12PM EST.

I want to emphasize the value of your caption. There will be Editor’s Favorites with basic captions — and if you are happy with just an Editor’s Favorites, cool.

However, if you want to do better, if you want to be considered for National Geographic’s Photo of the Day, I am curating for visually compelling photos that ALSO have captions that offer include information about the moment you are documenting. My advice is to take the time to re-edit your caption to include the details of the who, what, where, when, and why. Maybe there is a story behind your photo.

In case you missed it, the National Geographic Instagram account just hit 100 million followers! To celebrate, they’re holding a photo contest. To enter simply post your most Nat Geo-inspired photo to YOUR INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT using the hashtag #natgeo100contest. Ten winning photos will be posted to the @natgeo feed, and one grand-prize winner will win a Nat Geo photo safari trip to Tanzania. Good luck! Click HERE to learn how to enter @natgeo Instagram photo contest. PLEASE NOTE: THIS CONTEST IS FOR INSTAGRAM ONLY.

This is an awesome opportunity — I wish I could submit. By participating in Your Shot assignments, you have insight into what National Geographic editors like as visual storytellers. You also know that captions will be important in your submissions. You have been preparing for this moment.

Also “My Best Photos of February 2019” assignment launches on February 22, 2019. Deadline is March 1, 2019 at 12PM EST. Click HERE to see the “My Best Photos of January 2019” final story for inspiration.


David Lee

David Lee

Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot
Before joining the Your Shot team, David covered the White House for Time and Newsweek, and served as an official photographer for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He also started The Waiting List, a non-profit storytelling project humanizing the statistics of organ donation.