NatGeo pro gives photography tips

Photographer Krista Rossow shares her adventures with LCC

Diana Baker // The Torch
National Geographic photographer and editor Krista Rossow discusses shooting at the “blue hour” during a presentation in Building 18 on Feb. 9. Rossow, a Lane County native who gets up early and goes to bed late, highlighted the irregular hours she keeps to maximize opportunities for photographs.

Organizers scrambled to bring more chairs as attendees filled Studio A in Building 18 for a presentation by National Geographic photographer and editor Krista Rossow, Feb. 9.

“I was super excited to see a photographer from National Geographic was coming to campus,” said Krystal Grube, an environmental studies major. Grube got off work so she could hear Rossow speak and join the line of students getting photo critiques afterward.  

Rossow, a Harrisburg, Oregon native, studied Spanish and Fine Arts at the University of Oregon where photography became a main focus.

“Krista was an exceptional student of photography who demonstrated her skill in composition and color and also took risks with her work,” said LCC instructor Camilla Dussigner, who taught Rossow at the U of O.

Rossow also spent a year at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. Rossow called SFW her version of graduate school. There, she experimented with different types of photography. “I found myself most drawn to the National Geographic style, the documentary and photojournalism,” she said.

Through connections Rossow made with National Geographic photographers in Santa Fe, she got hired as a photo editor at National Geographic Traveler in 2006.

Diana Baker // The Torch
From right, Krista Rossow gives a critique to Lane student Krystal Grube after her presentation on Feb. 9. Grube was moved by Rossow’s suggestion about waiting for the right moment to capture photos.

As an editor at Traveler, Rossow had to narrow the 10,000 photos submitted for each assignment down to 12. She learned how professionals worked. Her other duties included searching through stock photos for images which taught her “how to approach a place in a new way because I’ve seen what’s been done a million times before.”

Rossow also shot photos for Traveler, working up from small assignments to feature stories on New Orleans and San Francisco. She left the photo editor job after seven years to do freelance assignments, covering South Africa, New Zealand and Japan. She now also leads trips for National Geographic Expeditions and is editing her second book for National Geographic.

Rossow’s recommendations: Build connections with people before photographing them. Take classic photos of a place but also find something different. Set up at a location with an iconic background to wait for the action of a parade, march or race to arrive. Problem-solve to get good imagery when the weather is bad or destinations unreachable. Above all, she recommends that professionals do the work they want to be hired for.

“Make yourself projects,” she said. “Put work on a blog. Start showing that you can do it, and, as much as you can, get real-life experience from working with professionals.”