Get Help using National Geographic Creative


Currently, in order to access and use lightboxes on the Photography section or bins on the Motion section, or to download/purchase photographs or video clips from, you must log into each section independently. You will need to set up a user profile on each product page and control your shared content from the appropriate page.

Click here to register for National Geographic Creative: Photography

Click here to register for National Geographic Creative: Motion



Rights Managed

Rights Managed images are priced according to specific usage. To determine fees place images in shopping cart and answer licensing questions.

Royalty Free

Royalty Free licensing is a specific type of photo license where the fee is determined not by the usage rights licensed, but by the file size requested. RF images in our collection range in price from $145 - to $500. Once licensed, RF images can be used in an unlimited number of projects by the licensee, but rights may not be transferred from one licensee to another.


Searching our database of National Geographic photographs is easy! Simply enter descriptive text relating to the images you are looking for in the search field at the top of the home or photography page.

Basic search guidelines

  • All searches are case sensitive
  • Always double-check for misspellings and typos
  • A space between words or quoted phrases results in an implied "AND", so there is no need to use the word "AND" in an image search
  • Use quotation marks "" to search for specific phrases. By putting double quotes around a set of words, you are specifying a search for the exact words in that exact order. Please be aware that you might miss valuable results using a phrase search. For example, a search for "Alexander Bell" (with quotes) will miss the pages that refer to Alexander G. Bell.
  • The following punctuation is ignored from the search terms: !#$%&'*+,-./:;<>+?@{\}[]^_


Lightboxes are groups of images that you assemble and name so that you can view, add to, delete from and share the images collectively. You must be registered and logged-in to use the many lightbox features.

You can access your lightboxes from the bottom of a search results page or from the "Your lightboxes" button in the top right of any National Geographic Creative: Photography page.

To navigate from one lightbox to another, click on the drop down menu on the left side of the lightbox toolbar.

Creating and Managing Lightboxes

  • When you initially register for National Geographic Creative: Photography, you will see a default lightbox named "Your lightbox" at the bottom of a search results page. This is an empty lightbox to get you started. You can begin adding images to this lightbox by clicking the grid (enter icon graphic) icon underneath image thumbnails on a search results page.
  • You can change the name of this initial lightbox at any time by clicking "Rename" in the lightbox toolbar. Naming your lightboxes something that relates to the project that you are researching images for helps you and our staff keep track of your edits and needs.
  • Your active (or most recent) lightbox will always be available to be viewed at the bottom of a search results page. To hide this scrolling view of images within your active lightbox, click "Hide Lightbox" in the lightbox toolbar.
  • The lightbox toolbar contains controls for all lightbox functions including
    • navigating to any of your lightboxes
    • downloading high res images for comp-ing (for approved user profiles only)
    • create a new workbox
    • rename your active workbox- you may also add comments to your lightbox with this function
    • share your workbox with others (see more information about sharing lightboxes below)
    • print your active lightbox
    • permanently delete the active lightbox
    • view your active workbox full screen

Sharing lightboxes:

  • To share a lightbox, click the "Share" button in the lightbox toolbar. A window will open and ask you for the recipients e-mail address. You may also add optional comments that you would like the recipients to see when they open the lightbox.
  • NOTE: The recipient now owns their own, complete copy of your lightbox that can be edited independently of the lightbox that was originally sent.



Here are some tips for getting better results from your searches.

Choose Words Carefully.

Use specific words to describe exactly what you're looking for. More general terms give a larger number of results, so try to narrow your search.
For example:

Including and Excluding Words

Including Words: By default, search returns all results that include all of your search terms.

Excluding Words: To exclude words, precede them with NOT. No results containing those words show up in your results.For example, if you want to see video about dogs with no mention of poodles, search for dogs NOT poodles.

Watch for words with more than one meaning. For example, if you're looking for a clip with someone who goes away on a trip, search trip NOT fall or search trip AND vacation.

Either Or

By default search will return results that match all of the words you type in. For example the search boy trampoline pool, finds results that contain all of these terms, not those that contain just some of the terms. If you are equally interested in two or more alternatives, use OR in capital letters. For example, search for boy trampoline OR pool. Search will interpret this as: boy AND trampoline OR pool.

If you are equally interested in two or more alternatives, use OR in capital letters. For example, search for boy trampoline OR pool. Search will interpret this as: boy AND trampoline OR pool.

Word Order

To search for an exact phrase, just put quotation marks around two or more words. For example, search on "Don't do that".


Learn more about managing your bins


A bin is a collection of clips. It may contain any number of any types of clips.

You can create, name, delete and share bins associated with your account.

You can add and remove clips from any of your bins.

"My Clips" bin

You initially have a bin called "My Clips," which is your default location to save clips.

When you have interesting clips in "My Clips" that you want to save, you can rename your "My Clips" to something else, and a new "My Clips" will be created if you have no other focused bin.

You may also delete your "My Clips" bin. A new, empty "My Clips" bin will be created if you have no other focused bin. The only way this is different from deleting all clips from the bin is that the History of the bin will not show it as ever having had any content.

Even if you are not logged on, you still have a My Clips bin. However, since you are not logged on, the contents of this bin are temporary, and may go away if you do not log on.

When you log on, all the clips in your not-logged-on "My Clips" bin will be added to your logged-on "My Clips" bin, at which point they become permanent (unless you remove them later).

Bin Members

When looking at a bin, you will see a section titled "Access to this Bin." This is the list of "members" of this bin.

If you created the bin, then you will be the Owner of the bin. Owners have full access to the bin, including the ability to delete the bin, and give ownership to someone else.

Other users in the system can have one of three access levels to a bin: Edit, View, or No Access.

An Editor can change members of a bin, add and remove items from the bin, and edit the name of a bin.

A Viewer can look at the contents of a bin, but cannot modify it.

A user with No Access cannot see the contents of the bin.

There is also a "Public" member of the bin that cannot be deleted. This represents the access level that anyone not on the membership list has.

On the "My Bins Manager" page, you can filter bins by your access level, and sort them by who owns them.

The "My Bins Manager" page will list every bin that you are an owning, editing, or viewing member of.

The "My Bins Manager" page will not list bins you have "No Access" to, or bins that you have "Public" access to, but are not listed as a member of.

The only way to find a bin that you are not a member of is for the owner to invite you to view it via an email.

To add someone as a member of a bin, you can type their user name or email address into the Add Member field and click the Add button.

Bin Management

When doing a search, click the plus sign under a clip to add it to your My Clips bin (actually, this adds the clip to your "Focused" bin, see below for more details)

Focusing on a Bin

The name of your "Focused" bin is shown at the top of the "My Clip Bins" drop-down menu. This is initially the "My Clips" bin.

On the "My Bins Manager" page, you can focus on a bin by selecting the radio button to the left of your bin details. Your focused bin becomes the default bin that all operations (such as one-click adding a clip) will use.

If you are within a bin, you can focus on that bin by clicking "Focus On This Bin" found in the Options menu to the left of your clips.


You may designate some bins as your "Favorite" bins.

Favorite bins show up at the top of any drop-down list containing bin names (after the focused bin).

To manage your favorites, click on "Manage My Bins" within the "My Bins" drop-down menu. On the top right under "Bin Management Options" select "Manage my favorite bins".

If you don't have any (or enough) favorite bins to fill the drop-down list, the remainder of the list will display your most recently accessed bins.