Saturday, July 7, 2012

What To Do When National Geographic Requests Use of a Photo

         So what do you do when National Geographic sends you an e-mail expressing interest in the possible use of a photo from the blog?  A HAPPY DANCE, sort of like this young soon-to-fledge Wood Stork -- jumping up and down, stretching and flapping his wings in eager anticipation of new adventures beyond the nest!         

Young Wood Stork nestling practicing wing flapping and jumping -- Spring Island, SC -- June 8, 2012

Young Wood Stork nestling practicing wing flapping and jumping -- Spring Island, SC -- June 8, 2012

Yes, I confess that I did jump up and down!  National Geographic wanted to use one of my photos!  Of all the publishers from which an aspiring photographer might dream of receiving a request, NatGeo (NG) tops the list!   But before the happy dance commenced, I did assuage my suspicions that the e-mail might possibly be a Spam and or a scam through a little Google research.  Yes, indeed, the request DID come from NG.  Then I did my happy dance! 

              That was back in February and my readers may remember my having alluded to the NG contact in a previous post.   It was not yet a done deal.  I had to re-edit the photo and submit a high resolution version to National Geographic.  If they decided to use the photo in an upcoming book, they would contact me in March or April with a license agreement to PAY me!  Oh là là!  The photo (which I had published in the post "Wildlife at Home -- 30 Minutes of Clickety-Click" last August) desired by National Geographic (below) shows this Eastern Kingbird chasing one of our Red-Tailed Hawks. 

Eastern Kingbird chasing Red-tailed Hawk -- from our back deck -- Charleston, SC -- June 27, 2011

           April passed and, with it being an incredibly busy and distracting time in our family life as well as on the job, I had not given much more thought to the possible publication of the photo.  I had begun to assume that the photo was not of a high enough quality to merit inclusion in a NatGeo publication.  Finally, when my summer vacation began, I could again begin to focus on the blog and photography.  I had just decided to e-mail NG to confirm their decision not to use the photo after all when another NG e-mail arrived in my Inbox with a license agreement attached!  Time to do the HAPPY DANCE again (see Wood Stork photos above for demonstration)! Now I will not say how much they are paying me for use of my photo but I will note that I am rather impressed.

           You may already be familiar with a computer game called Angry Birds.  Well, my photo will be published full page in a book called National Geographic Angry Birds: Fed Up, Feathered and Furious, to be released September 25, 2012, as a companion book to the game.   The link above will take you to the NG site with a more detailed description of the book.  I am very curious to see the book myself, to see all of the photos and read all of the 50 stories and particularly, to read the story behind the Eastern Kingbird and the Red-Tailed Hawk!  Needless to say, I have calmed down since the last NG e-mail a couple of weeks ago but I suspect that I will be doing the HAPPY DANCE again when I have a copy of the book!

          My celebration would be incomplete without a heartfelt thanks to all of you who have supported my blogging and photography efforts with your words of encouragement, critical input and praise!  A thousand times, I thank you!  Your kind words and caring advice have provided the lift to my wings!  Now where will we go when we leap from the nest?!  

Eastern Bluebird chick fledging from nestbox in our yard -- Charleston, SC -- May 11, 2010


  1. Super blog, Cathy. You have a knack for story telling, as well as photography.

  2. Wonderful news ... I'm proud to say I knew you way back when... great cycling friends and now all I can say is WOW! I'm ready to buy the book as soon as it's hot off the press. CONGRATULATIONS!

  3. ...amazing photo! Congratulations!

  4. Wow! Great blog & photo. I'm the new friend filling in for a bit on the Facebook side. I have a lot of reading to do on your blog & I'm looking forward to it. Super job.