What’s it like to be a National Geographic photographer? Joel Sartore tells all
“To get into National Geographic, you have to offer them something they don’t already have access to – which is a tall order. It’s not enough just to be a great photographer. You have to be a great photographer and be able to dive under sea ice, spend days in tree stands in the tropics, speak fluent Russian and know Moscow like the back of your hand” ~Joel Sartore
Ever wonder what it’s like to be a National Geographic photographer? Getting paid to travel the world, find fascinating stories, and meet incredible people, sounds like a far-fetched dream to most of us. For Joel Sartore its work, and hard work at that, but he loves every minute of it.
What is a Nat Geo photographer’s salary?
If you’re thinking of joining Joel, here are some things you can expect:
- It’s not a one-day gig. Most of my trips last two weeks minimum. Fourteen 18-hour days in a row often reduces the best of my assistants to rubble.
- When you’re trying not to disturb wildlife, the fewer people in an area the better. When I’m out in the field doing actual shooting, I’ll often be by myself in a blind while my assistant is making phone calls and lining up things for the next day.
- Quarters are cramped. I’m often in very tiny blinds, crammed in between trees, or trying not to fall off of a rock.
- It’s not really all that fun when you’re working around the clock. We often eat poorly and infrequently. It’s exhausting work, and going at it for three or four weeks at a time isn’t most people’s idea of a vacation.
Visit Joel Sartore’s website for more information on what it takes to be a Nat Geo Photographer.