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Weekend Assignment: Follow the Light

This assignment ran from Apr 12 to Apr 15, 2019.

Over the next few months, I am going to run weekend Your Shot assignments focusing on the fundamentals of photography:

April 12 to 15, 2019 — Follow the Light
May 17 to 20, 2019 — Observe the Composition
June 7 to 10, 2019 — Anticipate the Moment

For this weekend’s assignment, I want you to get out and make new pictures finding and following the light. When I was a freelance photographer, I would use my fist to see how the light plays in the room; my fist stood in for people’s faces. Try this and notice how the direction of the light influences the shape, shadows, and highlights on your fist.

Think about where and when the light is beautiful in your home or office. For example, I love how the light streams through my favorite hallway at work. The light creates lines, textures, and patterns in the scene that make for a visually interesting frame in a boring hallway. The quality, color, and direction of light changes throughout the day—even the light bulbs ultimately impact the mood of the scene.

This assignment encourages you to find and follow the light in your life. Do not be afraid of taking advantage of the absence of light. Maybe instead of shooting with the light behind you (and illuminating the scene), you photograph into the light to backlight the situation. What if you stand with the light to your left or right? This assignment encourages you to see beautiful light and how it makes ordinary scenes more visually captivating.

For additional inspiration, here is a link with photo tips from National Geographic’s book Simply Beautiful Photos. And here are some previous Your Shot assignments focused on light:

First Light, edited by National Geographic Senior Photo Editor Kurt Mutchler
Low Light, edited by National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez
Catch the Light, edited by National Geographic Senior Photo Editor Alexa Keefe

For the final story, I will be choosing photos taken and/or uploaded between April 12-15, 2019. I hope you use this assignment as motivation to practice making new images. Have a great weekend of making photos.

David Y. Lee
Producer, National Geographic Your Shot

Curated by:

David Lee
Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot
Assignment Status
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Published Apr 30, 2019.
Thank you for your contributions!

Help Me Edit the Final Story

Posted apr 16, 2019

As I edit the final story for the Weekend Assignment: Follow the Light, I noticed two photos from same Your Shot photographer in my selects. I will only choose one of Athikhom Saengchai's photos for the final story, so I'd love your help. I created a post on the Your Shot Discussion Board, and in the comments, I'd love for you to articulate which photo you would select for the final story, and more importantly, convince me why. Thanks for your help.


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.