Yellowstone High School Photography Workshop

With its erupting geysers, endless grasslands teeming with wildlife, and gem-colored geothermal pools, Yellowstone National Park is an ideal setting to explore the field of photography. Venture into this geological wonderland with a National Geographic photographer to document bears and bison, pronghorns, wolves, elk, bald eagles, and more. Explore the techniques and craft of photography during daily hands-on lessons, take compelling landscape photos that capture the magic of this national park, and discover its unique geologic phenomena through your camera’s lens.

July 2-13, 2019
Airfare is not included. The program begins and ends in Bozeman, Montana.

Trip Highlights

  • Practice landscape photography amid the wilds of America’s first national park.
  • Alongside a National Geographic photographer, capture the pageantry and thrill of the Livingston Roundup Rodeo.
  • Head out on a sunset shoot to document bison and wolves at dusk, then point your camera skyward and master the art of star photography.
  • Exhibit your work at a pop-up gallery show in downtown Bozeman.


The workshop begins with two nights in the mountain town of Bozeman, Montana, where we’ll get to know each other and prepare for our time in Yellowstone National Park. Once inside the park, delve into the art and technique of photography, working in small groups with our photo instructors and National Geographic photographer. Head out on photo shoots each day, trying out new techniques with the wildlife and landscapes you encounter. Practice managing light and depth of field, work with flash, and learn to improve your composition. Then return to the classroom to review and edit your images and prepare for the next day’s assignment.

Hone your eye for great landscape shots during visits to vibrant hot springs, geyser basins, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. On an excursion to the OldWest town of Livingston, Montana, take portraits and action shots of cowboys and cowgirls at the famous Livingston Roundup Rodeo. Find your adventurous spirit while white-water rafting down the Yellowstone River and hiking through fields of alpine wildflowers.

In the evenings, review the day’s images, work on editing your photos for the final gallery show, and attend talks given by our National Geographic photographer. Then head out after dark to photograph
Yellowstone’s nocturnal ecosystems. Capture the glow of the golden hour during a sunset shoot in the Lamar Valley, practice taking wildlife photos in low lighting, and master the art of star photography under Yellowstone’s vast night sky.

Throughout the workshop, we’ll prepare for a gallery show of large-format digital prints of the group’s original work. Spend your last two days back in the lively mountain town of Bozeman, organizing, curating, and installing your exhibit. Celebrate your work with an opening party at the gallery on the final night.

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.
This photo workshop includes several active excursions such as hiking and trekking. Students should be physically fit and enthusiastic about outdoor exploration. Throughout the workshop, students will participate in daily shoots and edit-and-critique sessions. The program culminates with a pop-up gallery opening featuring large-format prints of the students' work.
We stay in dormitory-style accommodations in Bozeman and in a mountain lodge in Yellowstone. Classrooms are equipped with projectors so we can share and critique our work.

Drew Rush, Wildlife Photographer

Meet Our Expert

Drew Rush is a wildlife and natural history photographer with a passion for following wildlife in national parks around the world. Before embarking on a career in photography, Drew spent ten years guiding on the Snake River and taking people into the heart of Yellowstone National Park. His photography has appeared in numerous international publications and books, such as National Parks magazine and National Geographic: Complete Photography. Drew has a long history of working in and teaching about the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and Grand Tetons region on several long-term photographic projects for National Geographic magazine. He has also worked on collaborative projects studying long-distance lynx migration through Alaska with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as monitoring wolf populations with the U.S. National Park Service. Drew’s images have been displayed at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming, and he is represented by Nat Geo Creative. Drew will join the Yellowstone photography workshop.

Sample Daily Schedule

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

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM — Breakfast: Eat breakfast together with your group at our accommodations.

9:00 AM – 11:00 AM — Photo Review and Selection: Trip Leaders and the National Geographic photographer work with each student to select the best photos from the previous day’s shoot.

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM — Group Critique: Trip Leaders and the National Geographic photographer lead a group critique and discussion of each student’s top images.

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM — Lunch and Free Time: Eat lunch together as a group and then take some time to relax before heading out on your afternoon assignments.

2:00 PM – 6:00 PM — Assignment Work in the Field: Break into smaller teams shooting in and around Yellowstone National Park. Use a long lens to capture the majestic elk and bison, work on portraiture of fellow students at sunset, and master motion photography at one of Yellowstone’s many waterfalls.

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM — Dinner and Evening Meeting: Eat dinner together as a group and gather for a group meeting to discuss the day’s highs and lows and learn about the next day’s activities.

8:00 PM – 10:00 PM — Evening Activity: Head out on the town together for an evening show or attend a talk by your National Geographic photographer.