Mathias Svold’s internship at National Geographic

Mathias Svold on the Whanganui River in New Zealand.

Last year, Mathias Svold won College Photographer of the Year, where the first prize included a three months internship at National Geographic.

Mathias worked on a story of his own choice during his internship and went to the Whanganui River in New Zealand, which has a special meaning to the Maori people.


Mathias is now back in Aarhus after his internship, which ended this summer – and he has sent us some pictures and stories about his internship.

“The process of making a National Geographic story is long and thorough. I pitched my story, which was disucced by an editors’ board of 8-10 people. Then we made a detailed coverage plan and a budget before the story was approved”, Mathias tells in an e-mail.


Mathias worked on the story during four weeks. “It’s great to work with National Geographic. I had an assistant with me every day and rented a helicoptor and speed boats”.

Mathias Svold ready for a helicopter ride. “National Geographis has a lot of resources to make in depth stories”, Mathias explains.

Mathias explains that everything has to be done in a specific way, when you work for National Geographic; “For instance, people had to sign a contract, when you photograph them for your project”.

Back at the editorial room, all raw files are handed in and uploaded into National Geographic’s system with captions and keywords.

All the images are discussed and edited several times by the editor, the picture editor and the photographer himself. “The final selection is presented in front of the management, who approve the story for publishing”, Mathias explains.

The editorial staff at National Geographic in the process of editing Mathias Svold’s story.

Finally, the story is sent to a team of layouters. “Each employee has a specific role”, Mathias tells, “for instance National Geographic has a department, which only creates maps for each story”.


Mathias Svold’s story was received very well and has been approved for publishing. Since National Geographic plan one year ahead, it can take some time before we will see Mathias’ story on print.