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Traditions Around the World

This assignment ran from May 31 to Jun 26, 2017.

What are the customs or beliefs we have inherited from our parents and ancestors? What do we intend to pass onto our future generations? For this assignment, Your Shot invites you to document the traditions that are meaningful to you. And because we are a global community of more than 800,000 users, representing 195 countries, this assignment will create an amazing photographic archive of traditions from around the world.

As usual, your captions will be important for this assignment. Since we are a global community, the tradition you hold most dear may be completely unfamiliar to someone else. Captions can provide the historical significance and meaning behind the tradition you are sharing. Or, have your captions tell a story about why the pictured tradition is important to you. In either case, answer the who, what, where, why, when, and how. Teach us something; make us care and understand. I’m looking forward to learning about traditions from around the world that you have experienced, witnessed, and participated in.

This is also your chance to be published on the Your Shot page in National Geographic magazine. I’ll curate this assignment and final story, and then share my favorites with senior photo editor Jessie Wender and assistant photo editor Julie Hau, who will ultimately select finalists for the magazine.

SUBMISSION Deadline is June 26, 2017 at 12PM EST.

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 Jul 20, 2017.
Thank you for your contributions!

Final Story publication update

Posted jul 20, 2017

Hi everyone —

Sorry for the delay in publishing the final story for this assignment. Honestly, you all did too good of a job. I kept editing and re-editing, and then re-editing. And then re-editing. And then re-edited again. This final story could have easily been 100 photos long. 

So I'm finally committed and done, and love the story we're sharing. The final story is publishing today (Thursday July 20, 2017) at 3PM EST. Thanks so much for your patience. Thanks for continuing to do such a great job. Because of all of you, I love my job.

FYI — on Monday July 24, 2017 we are scheduled to launch a new assignment called EPIC. It will be curated by National Geographic photographer Robbie Shone. I am very excited about this assignment. Robbie recently curated our "Facing Your Fears" assignment.


Something to Think About

Posted jun 9, 2017

This assignment has been a wonderful way to learn about cultures and traditions around the world. As you continue photographing these moments, I have a few suggestions for you to keep in mind.

Perhaps most importantly, keep in mind that many of us in the Your Shot community may not have experienced, witnessed, or even known about what you’ve photographed, so it is your responsibility as a storyteller to educate us in your caption. For the final story, my goal is to choose photos with story captions that teach us something or share a lovely and detailed story. If there are two photos that are equally strong, but one has a better caption than another, I will select the photo with the better caption.

Right now, I’m seeing a lot of traditional festival and ceremonies from around the world. I would encourage you to also think about traditions in your daily lives. For example, we celebrate birthdays in our own unique ways. Take a look at this photo by Your Shot photographer Nele Horemans' “Wishing You a Happy Birthday." I love the story behind this photo and how this birthday tradition has become “a serious but intimate family moment!”

Now look at Your Shot photographer Sorin Costache’s “Coliva” submission. Both Sorin and Nele’s photographs show us the importance of food within our traditions. Nele’s son has enjoyed soy-milk based pancakes for his birthday the past 18 years, while Sorin documents a traditional dish prepared to honor someone after their death.

Your Shot photographer Terra Fondriest shows us a moment before her family’s Halloween Trick or Treating “Candy from Darth Vader." Notice how she uses her caption to share the story of a community tradition for the children on this holiday.

Think about what you do for holidays, baptisms, quinceañeras, weddings, anniversaries, etc. I bet each of us has at least one tradition that has been passed down to us, or that we will pass onto the next generation. The challenge, of course, is how to represent the tradition in a strong photograph. Use the Your Shot community for feedback and advice. Take advantage of the discussion board to share with each other photos that you are considering BEFORE you actually submit.

Keep it up, Your Shot photographers!

David Y. Lee
Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

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.