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B&H Photography Podcast

The B&H Photography Podcast, a weekly conversation about all things photography. With insightful and entertaining guests, we discuss the issues most important to the contemporary photographer.

Oct 26, 2023


Have you ever struggled with editing your images to present in a portfolio or as a story pitch? If so, our conversation in this podcast might be of some help.

We recently had the great fortune to speak with one of the finest picture editors in the business, former National Geographic photographer, photo editor, and director of photography, Sarah Leen, who we interviewed as part of our coverage of B&H’s 50th Anniversary Bild Expo 2023.

Sarah has worked all sides of the table, starting in the field with a camera in hand, then transitioning to a photo editor, and ultimately being tapped to lead National Geographic as Director of Photography in 2013—the first woman ever selected for this role.

Among the topics covered in this chat are Sarah’s shift from picture maker to photo editor and how she gained the credentials to take on such a role. We make the important distinction between editing the work of others vs. a photographer editing his or her own images, emphasizing the added difficulty of disconnecting from personal experience to make objective decisions, and how the guidance of a skilled photo editor can help.

Turning to her career trajectory, Sarah explains the differences between a photo editor and the director of photography, which is a managerial role. And, when it comes to the recent organizational changes at National Geographic—not to mention within the industry at large—Sarah clarifies that, despite ceasing newsstand sales, the magazine will still be widely available in print, yet by subscription only.

We end our chat with details about Sarah’s current work as an independent photo editor and educator, her founding of the Visual Thinking Collective with three former colleagues, and the upcoming release of her latest book project Ukraine: A War Crime, featuring work by 93 photographers.

Above photograph © Sarah Leen

Guest: Sarah Leen

For more information on our guest and the gear she uses, see:

Stay Connected:
Sarah Leen Website:
Sarah Leen Instagram:
Sarah Leen X:
Sarah Leen Facebook:
Visual Thinking Collective Website:
FotoEvidence Website and the book Ukraine: A War Crime: