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Nat Geo Your Shot – How to get featured?

Nat Geo Your Shot

For photographers actively posting on Instagram, getting featured on verified accounts with millions of followers is a great first step to getting noticed. If you’re shooting wildlife, landscapes, or documentary photography, one of the best Instagram accounts to start targeting is National Geographic Your Shot with their handle @natgeoyourshot. This is a National Geographic’s community of photographers. Many of them share their images on Instagram using the hashtag #YourShotPhotographer for the chance to be featured. With just under 6 million followers at the time of writing, having your images shared on the Nat Geo Your Shot handle is a great recognition and will undoubtedly lead to new followers.

This year, I’ve had two images featured on the Nat Geo Your Shot Instagram account. Besides that, 13 other images and reels were shared on two other National Geographic Instagram accounts. My first image featured was a shot of the sun rising through the clouds. It was shot off the coast of Busan, South Korea. These images alone got over 40,000 likes. Most recently, a reel that I shot got featured on National Geographic Magazine Russia’s account. They tagged me as a collaborator, and the reel got over 57,000 views and counting. I’ve also had a dozen images featured on National Geographic Traveler UK’s account in 2021.

One of the most frequent questions I get in direct messages from other photographers is how I got my images featured on these incredibly influential photography accounts. There is no exact science. I still believe it’s part luck (like the time of day an editor decides to log in and check their hashtags). However, some best practices for photographers will increase your chances if followed diligently.

How to Submit Photos to National Geographic Instagram Accounts and Get Featured?

The main answer is simple. If you’re creating unique and engaging content, you’re much more likely to have your work recognized by editors of these accounts. However, even your eye-catching photographs alone are not enough. You have to use proper hashtags in your posts and stories. Besides that, you should tag the correct accounts to improve your chances of getting features. With over 9 million posts using the hashtag #YourShotPhotographer, it can easily get overlooked and discouraged. However, like all things related to social media, consistency is key. I spent over six months posting with different national Geographic hashtags. It resulted in being chosen as an Editor’s Pick on the Nat Geo Your Shot Photographer account.

It might seem obvious, but before you begin posting your photographs using targeted hashtags, make sure you follow the accounts you’re hoping to be featured on. You will not be featured on an account if you tag them, but the editors realize you don’t even follow their account. Equally important is making sure you engage with content on these accounts daily. If you want to be featured on National Geographic’s Your Shot account, be an active member of the photography community, liking and commenting on work that inspires you. And by commenting, I don’t mean just a few heart emojis. You should describe why a photograph drew your attention and how it impacted you.  Give a shout-out to the photographer who took the picture, so you’re supporting them as well.

Another suggestion is to look out for special challenges on the Nat Geo Your Shot account. Just this last week, they announced in a caption of a photograph that for one week, they would be featuring photographs using the hashtag #BestOfTheWorldChallenge. Only a few hundred photographers were using the best of the world challenge hashtag for the first few days, and only a few thousand by the end of the competition. While they may seem like a lot, it’s nothing compared to the millions of #YourShotPhotographer hashtags getting used daily. I was incredibly grateful when photography of horseback riders galloping through the Giza pyramid complex in Egypt got featured early in the competition.

How to Get Featured on Instagram Accounts Similar to Nat Geo Your Shot?

Just like National Geographic’s Your Shot Instagram account, other National Geographic accounts also give opportunities to have your images featured. There are custom-tailored hashtags for each account. For example, National Geographic Traveler UK will feature images that are posted with the hashtag #NGTUK. On the other hand,  National Geographic Traveler India will feature images that use the hashtag #NGTIndia. The best way to track all of the Instagram hashtags you’d like to use is to follow the accounts closely. Also, you should check their bios for instructions on getting features. They will often require you to tag and use specific hashtags. Follow these instructions exactly if you want the opportunity to have your work showcased.

When you’ve done your research, you will find trendy Instagram hashtags for photographers, which are commonly used in general terms. One example is #PhotoOfTheDay which is a high-volume hashtag. However, if you can rank for it, your content will certainly get a lot of attention. It might even help your image to reach the explore page. It’s also important to write a caption for your images properly. You should use informative information, metadata, and location. Besides that, you can add a call to action, such as a question. Asking a question in your photography caption encourages your followers to interact with your photographs. It increases your reach through Instagram’s algorithm.

You may also direct message accounts asking how to promote your photography on their Instagram accounts. When it comes to worldwide accounts such as National Geographic, your work will only be featured when selected by their editors. However, for other popular photography accounts, they may offer a paid opportunity to have your images showcased in their posts and stories. When you’re targeting a specific group of people, paid feature can be an invaluable marketing tool.

Here is a real-life example. When I lived in Korea, I would often pay to have my photographs featured on a wildly popular account called Korean Adventure @korean_adventure. Boasting almost 200k followers, each time my images of South Korea were featured they would get thousands of likes and hundreds of comments. I would then engage with and reply to everyone who commented on my photographs. Each feature would bring me between 50-100 followers. This is a much less expensive way to gain real followers than boosting your posts by paying for promotions. The reason is that you’re targeting an exact audience when you’re being featured on an account like Korean Adventure. Those who already follow them are much more likely to follow you because they love Korean content.

Best Instagram Photography Feature Accounts and How to Find Them?

Depending on what type of photography you shoot, you’ll want to search for and find the best Instagram photography accounts in your field to be featured on. These Instagram feature accounts can help you grow a lot. For photographers like myself, I tend to follow all of the National Geographic accounts I can find. I also follow other verified accounts that featured fine art photography like Lens Culture @lensculture. Besides that, I also follow some of the world’s most famous photographers like Steve McCurry @stevemccurryofficial. Lastly, I follow the accounts of the camera gear I use, for example, Canon USA @canonusa.

Other ways you can find the best Instagram accounts to follow and be featured on are by searching through popular trade magazines and checking which accounts your favorite accounts follow. It does not sound evident, but it’s pretty simple. If you love the content shown on Nat Geo Your Shot, check which accounts they follow. It will give you some insight into the type of work they gravitate towards and look to for inspiration.

Keep in mind. If you’re one of the fortunate ones to have your work featured on a popular photography account, they will look for you to promote your feature on their account to your audience of followers. It’s standard to tag and thank any major photography account that features your work and will be much appreciated. Similarly, accounts will appreciate it if you update your Instagram bio to highlight some of the places your work has been featured. In my case, I make sure to showcase my work has been featured as an Editor’s Pick on National Geographic Your Shots account.

Let me know what you think about features on Nat Geo Your Shot. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment!

Shea Winter Roggio
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