Lisbon High School Photography Workshop

A cultural renaissance is underway in Lisbon, infusing the Portuguese capital’s historic streets with new energy and attracting artists of all types from across the globe. Delve into photography in a city that predates Rome, London, and Paris; where old-world charm meets cutting-edge design. Practice new techniques while capturing images at street festivals, open-air markets, and modern art museums; and curate an exhibit that evokes the soul of the city through photography.

June 25 - July 6
Airfare is not included. We have arranged a round-trip group flight between New York and Lisbon.

Trip Highlights

  • Explore Lisbon alongside a National Geographic photographer to document the city’s pastel-painted architecture and sun-splashed promenades and plazas.
  • Capture symbols of the city’s modern renaissance, snapping shots of avant-garde street murals and art installations.
  • Venture out on field assignments to photograph the fairytale castles of Sintra and the golden sands and sea cliffs of coastal Cascais and Lagos.
  • Organize a pop-up show featuring your work for a gallery opening in the heart of Lisbon.


Set out from our home base near the city center to explore the art and technique of photography, working in small groups with our photo instructors and National Geographic photographer. Learn new skills in the classroom, then grab your camera and hit the streets, photographing the Alfama neighborhood's crooked cobblestone lanes, painted Portuguese azulejo tiles, and dramatic modern street murals towering over the sidewalks.

Zoom in on the evocative exhibits at the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT), a modern art mecca housed in a repurposed power station. Stroll the lively Santo Amaro Docks, lined with refurbished warehouses that now hold stylish restaurants, and pop into bakeries selling pastéis de nata—a Portuguese custard tart.

Capture the motion of dancing fountains, quirky trams clattering up steep streets, and tumbling acrobats at the Chapitô circus school. Head outside the city on day trips, framing the enchanting fairytale palaces of Sintra and the charming sherbert-shaded homes of coastal Cascais.

In the evenings, edit your photos, review the day's work, and enjoy seminars given by your National Geographic photographer. Head out after dark to capture Lisbon from a new perspective, shooting in low light to document the city's lively café culture and busy waterfront promenade.

Leave the city behind for a few days and head to the coastal town of Lagos. Snap photos of surfers catching waves and fishermen hauling in their daily catch; and practice food photography on the fresh seafood at local markets. Soak up the sun on the picturesque beaches bordered by red cliffs, and hop in a kayak to capture this stunning scenery from the water. Discover new chromatic palettes during a sunset shoot at Cabo de São Vicente, where famed Portuguese sailors like Henry the Navigator once launched their explorations.

Throughout the workshop, prepare for a final exhibit of large-format prints of the group's best work. Help curate and install the display, and celebrate your growth as a photographer at the opening of our show in a Lisbon gallery.

Our photo workshops are for students in grades 9-12. Students learn important photography lessons in the classroom and apply them in some of the world’s most photogenic places. Then, together with their fellow travelers, they work to organize, curate, and install a pop-up gallery show featuring each student’s original images. Students shoot alongside a team of highly-qualified photography instructors—college graduates with extensive experience in the field, who love working with students. A National Geographic photographer also joins the entire program, inspiring students with their work, and helping students build their own skills. Photo Workshops generally have 25-30 participants, and the student-to-photo-instructor ratio is usually between six and eight to one and never more than nine to one.
We stay in dormitory-style accommodations in Lisbon and in a small, family-run hotel in Lagos. Breakfast is provided at our residences, while other meals range from picnics to sit-down meals at restaurants. Classrooms are equipped with digital projectors so we can share and critique our work.

Krista Rossow, Travel Photographer

Meet Our Expert

For more than a decade, Krista Rossow has worked as a photographer, photo editor, and educator for National Geographic. She began her career as a photo editor at National Geographic Traveler magazine, where she shaped compelling stories from world-class imagery. In her freelance career, she has shot feature stories as a contributing photographer for Traveler in South Africa, Morocco, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Japan, and various U.S. cities. She regularly judges Instagram contests for @NatGeoTravel and photo edits for National Geographic Books. Krista is also a photography instructor, having joined multiple trips for National Geographic Expeditions and National Geographic Student Expeditions around the world. She sees the camera as a tool for understanding new cultures, meeting the locals, and exploring the natural world. Krista will join for the entire photo workshop.

Sample Daily Schedule

This sample daily schedule will give you a sense of a typical day on our Photography Workshop. Our schedule will also remain flexible throughout the program so that we can take advantage of photographic opportunities as they arise.

8:00 AM9:15 AM — Breakfast: Have breakfast with fellow students at our residence prior to your morning classroom session.

9:30 AM11:00 AM — Photo Review and Selection: Gather in the group’s shared classroom to select your best photos from the previous day’s shoot. Instructors and our National Geographic photographer will work with each student to edit his or her work down to the top five images.

11:00 AM12:30 PM — Group Critique: Break into smaller teams of 8 to 10 students. Your photo instructor or National Geographic photographer will lead a group critique and discussion of each student’s top five images.

12:30 PM–1:00 PM — Afternoon Assignment Announcement: Reconvene in the group’s shared classroom and receive your afternoon field assignment from the National Geographic photographer.

1:00 PM–2:30 PM — Lunch and Free Time: Have lunch with fellow students and instructors. Then take some time to relax before heading out on your afternoon assignments.

2:30 PM–7:30 PM — Assignment Work in the Field: Most of the afternoon will be spent in your smaller teams shooting in and around Lisbon. Locations and activities will vary from day to day and will include visits to some of the region’s well-known sites, as well as more off-the-beaten path places that provide lesser known but compelling photographic opportunities.

7:30 PM–9:00 PM — Dinner and Evening Meeting: All students and instructors will meet back at the residence for an evening meeting and dinner. There will also be time to upload photos from the day into your computers.

9:00 PM–10:30 PM — Evening Activity: Head out on the town together for an evening show, or attend a seminar by your National Geographic photographer.