Working with National Geographic is, for many photographers, the dream. Whether you’re working with the main magazine, the channel, or one of the off-shoots, the name Nat Geo instantly takes your resumé to another level.

But how does a lowly freelance photographer or videographer end up working with a client of that caliber? You’re about to find out.

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In the video below—another from Albert Ayzenberg‘s educational #BehindtheGlass series—National Geographic Channel Senior VP and Group Creative Director Andy Baker explains what he looks for when he’s searching for creatives.

The main three points Andy makes are:

1. Exceptional work is THE BASELINE. That’s your barrier to entry, not the end goal.
2. Do your homework: understand and know the client you want to work with.
3. Embark on passion-driven personal projects to show off your own sensibility, skill, and vision.

Click play to hear more on each of these points:

To read more on getting your work seen by clients, check out Andy’s in-depth article on this exact subject over on his website The Client Blog. And if you want to keep up with Albert and #BehindtheGlass, check out a.a. productions on Vimeo.