Building a Travel Story

All too often, I find myself guilty of concentrating on hero images — the one phenomenal image that will get noticed by the right people and will propel my career. In this video, National Geographic photographer Susan Seubert talks about the process of creating a story.

I remember being heavily impacted by this video when I watched it in 2015. At the time, I was a full-time travel photographer, but my focus was on the commercial sector. I would always finish a trip with the feeling that I could have done better, that my shoot felt incomplete. After watching this talk, I changed my approach to focus less on hero images and more on building a story. This approach opened up new experiences that were not on the shot list. It made me open to discovery and to spontaneity. The net result of focusing on building a story was that my work felt more complete, and ultimately, even my "hero" images improved.

I particularly enjoyed the story of the horses being washed in the sea. It reminded me of unique experiences I had while traveling. Do you have similar experiences where you followed a story and ended up with something special as a result?

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Chip Kalback's picture

Seems legit.

Lenzy Ruffin's picture

Thanks for sharing this, Jonathan.

Too often on here, the writers are sharing the latest video from popular Youtubers. Thanks, we saw it a few days ago when it came's not news.

Finding "undiscovered" content creators delivering good stuff or digging in the Youtube vault for something timeless like you did here is something a lot more worthy of reposting. Thanks for "doing the work."

Jonathan Reid's picture

Thanks for the feedback. I had this video filed away as a super useful and helpful talk, but it took a lot of digging to find it again. I’m glad you saw it.

Lenzy Ruffin's picture

Try Evernote or something similar. It helps me file away stuff like this and have a chance of finding it again.

Jonathan Reid's picture

I'll give it a shot.

Susan Seubert's picture

Hi Jonathan - Thank you for posting this video! Very kind of you... Cheers, Susan.

Jonathan Reid's picture

Wow! This is an FStoppers highlight for me. Your video had more of an impact on me than any other talk I've seen. I loved that when I read through the Youtube comments, I saw one by me 3 years ago saying as much.