Beth Mancuso becomes a finalist in National Geographic Photography Contest with images from the Santa Monica Pier

The Santa Monica Pier and Ferris Wheel at night

National Geographic held an “Assignment Inspiration” photography contest this past summer on Instagram. We caught up with Beth Mancuso, one of the three finalists from the contest, whose pictures from the Santa Monica Pier helped get her in one of the top three spots of the contest. We asked Beth about her background in photography, experience with the contest, and what her favorite part of shooting at the Santa Monica Pier was. Read below to see what we found out!

Where are you from? Zimmerman, MN

How’d you get started in photography? I picked up the camera when my children were young as a way to document their childhood. From there it evolved into a portrait business. I did portrait work for ten years. Over the years my focus has shifted from portraits to teaching. I now teach online courses and host in person photography workshops.

What is your style? What subjects are most interesting to you? I would describe my style as colorful and artistic. I love photographing many things, but probably my favorite subjects are landscapes and self portraits.

How did you learn about the Nat Geo contest? I saw an ad they ran on Instagram, and figured it was worth entering. I never thought I would be chosen!

What did you think of LA/Santa Monica? While I can totally appreciate LA and all the art, food, and culture it has to offer, I prefer my country living. Santa Monica was a cute little beachside town. I loved the time I got to spend there.

Why did you pick the Pier? I love the history that is tied to the Pier, it’s such an iconic part of California’s history. I also thought it had many great elements that I love to photograph like light, colors, motion, and water.

What challenges did you have shooting at the Pier? The theme for that shoot was “Unique Reflections” so I was seeking out reflective surfaces. There weren’t as many as I had thought there would be. I also wasn’t allowed into certain areas that I had thought I would have access to. I still was able to get some great shots though!

What was the best part of shooting at the Pier? I loved the overall happy vibe that I felt while there. I also loved all the lights at nighttime.

Do you have any favorite images from the Pier? Yes! I have a few I really love. I love the image of the couple coming out of the diner, and also the shot of the amusement park at night.

What’s next for you/what can we look forward to in your work? I plan to host more photography workshops and keep traveling and taking pictures as much as I possibly can.


Check out these fantastic shots that Beth took at the Pier!

You can see more of Beth’s work on her Instagram @intothewild.wego or her website.

Pacific Park and the Santa Monica Pier have been featured in thousands of movies, TV shows, still photo shoots, and more. It is also the number one most Instagrammed spot in Los Angeles and serves at the backdrop to countless photographs. To learn more about booking a film shoot on the Santa Monica Pier, read our tips & tricks here.

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