Ep 322: The art of storytelling with nat geo photographer Ami Vitale

Meet Nat Geo photographer Ami Vitale, who has traveled to more than 100 countries, lived in mud huts and war zones, contracted malaria, was named by Instyle Magazine as on of fifty Badass Women alongside Jane Goodall, Christiane Amanpour and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She has been named Magazine photographer of the year in the International Photographer of the Year prize, received the Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding Reporting and named Magazine Photographer of the Year by the National Press Photographer’s Association, among others. She is a five-time recipient of World Press Photos and recently published a best-selling book, Panda Love, on the secret lives of pandas. Her photographs have been commissioned by nearly every international publication and exhibited around the world in museums and galleries. Currently based in Montana, Ami Vitale is a contract photographer with National Geographic magazine. You’ll discover: what is it about an image that stops you in your tracks, lessons learned from being a photo editor, 5 things to think about when telling a visual story, how to pitch your story to a magazine editor, why you should not shoot for free, tips on pricing images, the importance of giving back and much more!

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Show Notes

Guest: Ami Vitale

Nikon Ambassador and National Geographic Magazine photographer Ami Vitale has traveled to more than 100 countries, bearing witness not only to violence and conflict, but also to surreal beauty and the enduring power of the human spirit. Throughout the years, Ami has lived in mud huts and war zones, contracted malaria, and donned a panda suit— keeping true to her belief in the importance of “living the story.” In 2009, after shooting a powerful story on the transport and release of one the world’s last white rhinos, Ami shifted her focus to today’s most compelling wildlife and environmental stories. Instyle Magazine named Ami one of fifty Badass Women, a series celebrating women who show up, speak up and get things done. She appeared alongside a group of incredible women including Jane Goodall, Christiane Amanpour and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She has been named Magazine photographer of the year in the International Photographer of the Year prize, received the Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding Reporting and named Magazine Photographer of the Year by the National Press Photographer’s Association, among others. She is a five-time recipient of World Press Photos, including 1st Prize for her 2018 National Geographic magazine story about a community in Kenya protecting elephants. She recently published a best-selling book, Panda Love, on the secret lives of pandas. Vitale was the subject of the Mission Cover Shot series on the National Geographic Channel as well as another documentary series featuring Madagascar (Over the Islands of Africa). She lectures for the National Geographic LIVE series, and she frequently gives workshops throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

Her photographs have been commissioned by nearly every international publication and exhibited around the world in museums and galleries. She is a founding member of Ripple Effect Images, an organization of renowned female scientists, writers, photographers and filmmakers working together to create powerful and persuasive stories that shed light on the hardships women in developing countries face and the programs that can help them. She is also on the Photojournalism Advisory Council for the Alexia Foundation.

Currently based in Montana, Ami Vitale is a contract photographer with National Geographic magazine and frequently gives workshops throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia.

In her brilliant Ted Talk in May 2019 Ami describes herself as a painfully shy and introverted child who felt like superwoman holding a camera.

In our discussion, you’ll discover:

  • What is it about an image that stops you in your tracks
  • Lessons learned from being a photo editor
  • 5 things to think about when telling a visual story
  • How to pitch your story to a magazine editor
  • Why you should not shoot for free
  • Tips on pricing images
  • The importance of giving back

The Prints for Nature sale features some of the world’s finest photographers working to protect people, wildlife and the environment. This is a chance to collect some of the most inspiring photography out there and support tremendous conservation work. The prints will be expertly crafted by the fine art studio of Paper & Ink with Canon’s Lucia Pro archival pigment ink on Canson Infinity Edition Etching Rag 100% cotton archival rag paper. 100% of net proceeds will support core Conservation International initiatives.

Nikon Ambassador and National Geographic magazine photographer Ami Vitale has traveled to more than 100 countries, bearing witness not only to violence and conflict, but also to surreal beauty and the enduring power of the human spirit.

Throughout the years, Ami has lived in mud huts and war zones, contracted malaria, and donned a panda suit— keeping true to her belief in the importance of “living the story.”  In 2009, after shooting a powerful story on the transport and release of one the world’s last white rhinos, Ami shifted her focus to today’s most compelling wildlife and environmental stories. She is a founding member of Ripple Effect Images and is on the Photojournalism Advisory Council for the Alexia Foundation Currently based in Montana, frequently gives workshops throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. She can be reached at ami@amivitale.com.

Prints of Nature

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