Video Documentaries

Shot in 4K, featuring aerial and terrestrial footage. Please contact for licensing or freelance work.



MUNDO À VISTA (World at Sight) - EP06, S02 | Brace yourselves: you’re about to fly over erupting volcanoes and otherworldly craters, not without exploring the jungle in order to find poisonous frogs. Discover a new Central America — Guatemala, El Salvador and Costa Rica —, from an unseen perspective.

NIGER: The Touareg, the Sahara and the great Air Festival

MUNDO À VISTA (World at Sight) - EP05, S02 | Across the immense Sahara’s sand dunes unfolds the amazing culture of the Touareg people. Let’s drink tea inside their homes and travel North to experience the great Air Festival, visiting the world’s tallest adobe minaret - in Agadez - while on the way.

NIGER: Seduction rituals of the Wodaabe people

MUNDO À VISTA (World at Sight) - EP04, S02 | In the heart of the Sahel, surrounded by dunes and arid terrain, lies one of the most fascinating people in world: the nomadic Wodaabe. The male beauty ideal of the Wodaabe stresses tallness, white eyes and teeth. The men will often roll their eyes and show their teeth to emphasise these characteristics, a ritual that puts many seduction strategies upside down.

CHINA: Ancient Traditions

MUNDO À VISTA (World at Sight) - EP03, S02 | Embark in journey to the ancient traditions of rural China, a glimpse from a past not so distante, but already fading away as modernisation and economical development take a higher seat. Get to know four of the last real Cormorant Fishermen in the Guangxi province, which have been extensively documented by Joel Santos since 2006; and also the minority people that still work in Longsheng rice fields, carving the amazing landscapes of the “Dragon’s backbone”. Aired on 18th July by the Portuguese leading TV channels, SIC and SIC Notícias, broadcasted in Portugal and worldwide by cable/satellite services.

GUATEMALA: Lake Atitlan and the Mayan World

MUNDO À VISTA (World at Sight) - EP02, S02 | This second episode will take us the amazing world of the ancient Mayan beliefs, still in practice around lake Atitlan, Guatemala. This mic between catholic, mayan and pagan beliefs is one of a kind and is well laid down on the local handy crafts, which act as a book of memories and traditions. Aired on 11th July by the Portuguese leading TV channels, SIC and SIC Notícias, broadcasted in Portugal and worldwide by cable/satellite services.

GUATEMALA: Holy Week Traditions

MUNDO À VISTA (World at Sight) - EP01, S02 | The second season premiered on July 4th 2019, and will be running an episode per week, in a total of 6 documentaries, shot and directed by Joel Santos and Magali Tarouca, voice and interviews by Teresa Conceição (SIC) and editing by Luís Gonçalves (SIC), for the Portuguese leading TV channels, SIC and SIC Notícias, broadcasted in Portugal and worldwide by cable/satellite services.

MONGOLIA: Reindeer Herding In Snowy Mongolia - The Tsaatan Nomadic People

Navigate the snowy wilds of Mongolia with this nomadic reindeer herding family. Photographer Joel Santos dived 1000 km into the depths of Northern Mongolia, near Khovsgol Lake. Travelling with an interpreter and a fellow photographer from Mörön, Mongolia, the photographer met the Ganbaa family, led by matriarch Purev who lives with Buyantogtokh, a widowed reindeer herder.

ETHIOPIA: Working In 140°F Heat - Salt Desert, Ethiopia

Unforgiving temperatures of up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit beat down on these hardworking salt miners every single day. The salt mines, situated in the Afar triangle, stretch across 100,000 square kilometres and at their lowest point, r+the Danakil Depression, are more than 300 feet below sea level. Professional travel photographer and videographer Joel Santos travelled to the area to capture the dry beauty of this brutal expanse of land.

GHANA: Holy Waters Ghana’s Sacred Meteorite Crater Lake

This one million-year-old sacred lake was created when a giant meteorite crash landed in what was once a lush rainforest. In Ashanti, Ghana, Lake Bosumtwi is revered by locals as sacred and tradition dictates that they can only fish in the lake using wooden planks called paduas. Nowadays the lake - which stretches across 10.5 kilometres - is under threat from deforestation and modernisation.

MONGOLIA: Hunting With Eagles in Western Mongolia

Eagle Hunters — In 2015 and 2016, videographer and photographer Joel Santos travelled for several days across Mongolia to reach their remote homes of the Kazakh nomads and witness the stringent training they endure to bond with their eagles. With only around 400 traditional eagle hunters left in the world, the custom is precious and unless your father was an eagle hunter, you cannot become one.

MONGOLIA: Rare Look Into Kazakh Nomads’ Epic Migration

Follow these nomadic families across the brutal landscape of Mongolia as they move their entire lives 150km through the mountains. Largely based in Western Mongolia, Kazakhs are a nomadic people who brave blizzards, extreme hot and cold weather and rocky mountain paths several times a year when they move between their seasonal homes. Videographer and photographer Joel Santos ventured to Mongolia’s Altai mountain range twice to shadow families - who have never let an outsider into their camps - as they made the breathtaking journey between seasonal homes.

NORWAY: Lofoten, Norway — Otherworldly Aerial Landscapes

Submerge yourself in the fantastical natural beauty of Norway’s Lofoten Islands with these stunning landscapes, captured by Joel Santos with drone mounted camera. With darkness only creeping in for a few hours in the early morning, Joel only slept for a few hours a night to take full advantage of the light and to capture the towns and villages of Reine, Hamnøy, Sakrisøya, Olenilsøya, Unstad, Uttakleiv, Nusfjord, Henningsvær and Fredvang.

MEXICO: Butterfly Fishermen, Lake Pátzcuaro

Ancient fishing technique documented on the Day of The Dead (2018) . In just one day, as the Earth travelled around the Sun and the mist revolved, the most incredible orange, magenta/violet and pastel hues depicted this narrative.

ETHIOPIA: Playing With Fire - Photographer Gets Dangerously Close To Lava Lake

These fiery images offer a glimpse inside the 'Gateway To Hell' - the world’s oldest continuously active lava lake. Travel photographer Joel Santos, piloted a drone low over the bubbling lake, which reaches temperatures exceeding 1,100 degrees celsius. The lake, which has had a continuous flow since 1906, is situated inside the Erta Ale volcano, otherwise known as Smoking Mountain, in the Afar region of northeastern Ethiopia. The volcano’s last major eruption occurred in 2005, killing 250 livestock and forcing thousands of nearby residents to flee.

Video showcase

Shot in 4K, featuring aerial and terrestrial footage. Please contact for licensing or freelance work.


RISE OVER — Europe, Asia and Africa (aerial 4k)

Compilation of amazing aerial images from Mongolia, Ethiopia, Iceland, Norway, Ghana and Czech Republic. All shot shot in 4K and available for licensing.

RISE OVER: Portugal mainland and Azores (aerial 4K)

Stunning and never before seen aerial images from all over Portugal, including mainland and the islands of Azores and Madeira. Shot in 4K and available for licensing. Check out my new photo guide book about Portugal (both in English and Portuguese, pocket edition and coffee table version).


Three seasons — Spring, Autumn and Winter — showcasing Portugal’s mainland highest mountain. Be amazed by the profound transformation of this territory, rich in tradition and landmarks. Documentary work created for Geopark Estrela, UNESCO, together with fellow journalist and travel photographer Magali Tarouca.

EL SALVADOR: Ilamatepec and Izalco volcanoes

Nature is so incredible and beautiful that, sometimes, it almost makes you cry in awe. This is an extremely rare view over Ilamatepec and Izalco volcanoes, in Santa Ana, El Salvador. No further description is needed, since the video will say it all. I hope you get as emotional as I did!


Find out a little bit more about the photographer/videographer behind the lens


Interview in Iceland — Joel Santos work, motivation and gear

Short interview about my work, my motivations, thoughts about photography and the gear I’ve used while shooting for 5 hours in Iceland.

Travel Photographer Of The Year 2016

Interview with Joel Santos about the Travel Photographer of the Year Award (2016), including images and video footage from the two winning portfolios — (1) Danakil Depression / Salta Desert and Erta Ale in Ethiopia, (2) Bosumtwi's Sacred Lake Fishermen. Aired on RTP África TV channel. Interview by Isabel Rosa (01/2017)