Dan Westergren

Dan Westergren is Director of Photography for National Geographic Travel. Follow his story on Twitter @dwestergren and on Instagram @danwestergren.

At the dawn of digital photography, professional cameras maintained the look and bulk of the 35mm film cameras that photographers had been using for a generation. But, because digital sensors were expensive to make, these cameras were equipped with a sensor that was approximately a third smaller than the 24×36 mm dimension of the 35mm…

I often fantasize about heading out the door with just one camera hanging around my neck. But when I go on the road to take pictures for Traveler that’s not really possible. Because I’m supposed to get great photos no matter what, I often need to rely on different lenses to make a situation look more photogenic than it might in real life. But there are benefits to traveling light when you’re out making pictures.

National Geographic Travel invited photographers from Canada, Germany, and France to join us in Toronto’s reinvented Distillery District with a simple goal in mind: to show how different photographic personalities capture the essence of a place in pictures — and to share the experience with the world in real time via Google Hangouts on Air.

Are Filters the Answer?

Reader Question: Are lens filters still necessary for digital photography? Are there filters that National Geographic photographers use to make their pictures look better?

How to Photograph Kids

Photographing kids can be challenging. Here are a few tricks to make it easier.

How to Master White Balance

Reader Question: What is white balance and why is it important? Is there a downside to setting my camera to “auto”?

Why Shoot in Raw Format?

Reader Question: Do most National Geographic photographers shoot in raw format? And if they do, why?

How to Capture the Moment

Reader Question: I’ve heard photographers talk about capturing the moment. What does that mean?

Reader Question: What’s the best lens for landscape or cityscape photography?

My Answer: When I’m trying to make an interesting landscape or cityscape picture, but nothing seems to be coming together, I find it useful to work at opposite extremes with regard to lens choice.

Reader Question: How do I become a photographer for National Geographic?

My Answer: Photography is really no different than any other pursuit in life if you plan to make a living at it.

Reader Question: What’s your advice for taking the best portraits?

My Answer: Two words: light and lens.

Photo Tip: All About Exposure

Reader Question: Which exposure mode should I use with my camera? What’s the difference between “Auto” and “A”?

Reader Question: How do I tell a story with photographs?

How to Make Light Work for You

Reader Question: What’s the best time of day to take pictures?

Reader Question: What is meant by good composition and how do I achieve it?

Reader question:

Is it true that a great landscape image will almost always be better if there’s a human presence in it?

My answer:

It depends on the intended use of the picture.

How to Photograph Strangers

As a photographer and photo editor for National Geographic Traveler, people often ask me how I approach strangers when I want to take their picture — especially when there’s a language barrier. Here are my thoughts.

Three Essential Photo Tips

In the age of Instagram, everyone’s a photographer. But a few simple tricks still make snapshots actually worth showing off. National Geographic Traveler’s senior photo editor Dan Westergren offers his top three tips for shooting in the field.

The Legend of Kodachrome Flat

Ever since Monday’s announcement by Kodak that they’re discontinuing production of Kodachrome film, professional and amateur photographers this week have been busy discussing its demise. Kodachrome was known for its rich color saturation and was widely used by National Geographic photographers in the first decades that the magazine printed in color. In fact, it was…