Ways & How

How to Become a Wildlife Photographer

How to Become a Wildlife Photographer

Have you ever wondered about combining your love of nature, animals, and photography? Though it seems like a long shot, you can actually get paid for doing something that you thoroughly enjoy. As a wildlife photographer, you get to explore the outdoors and capture inspiring shots of nature’s beauty. You can create your own prints to sell privately as well as submit them to interested publications. Read the steps below on how to become a wildlife photographer to start an exciting career.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the job. In general, such a career requires extensive travel. You have to go where the action is. Therefore, you need to be comfortable working outdoors for long periods of time. Photography skills on their own do not suffice; you need basic survival skills. You may spend hours, days, or even months outdoors, just waiting for the perfect shot. Since you will face wild animals, you should have the knowledge necessary to stay safe and hidden. Patience is a very important virtue for wildlife photographers.

  2. Make sure that you meet the requirements.

    Most wildlife photographers who work for companies or publications may need a college degree from a photography school. The best way to enter this career is with a degree in zoology and a minor in photography, as these areas of study give wildlife photographers extensive knowledge about the two essentials: animal behavior and photography. If you are interested in freelance work, however, you can instead take short photography courses and attend workshops. You could also look for entry level jobs, internships, or shadowing opportunities, such as assistant to a wildlife photographer, as this gives you the necessary experience to pursue your chosen career.

  3. Invest in a good camera. You need to have high quality cameras and lenses. You may need to shoot photos from far away or close up depending on the subject matter. You should have the necessary lenses and other equipment to adjust to varying angles, distances, and lighting conditions in order to get the best shots.

  4. Choose your expertise. You don't have to photograph all kinds of wildlife. While you can practice on a variety of animals, it will be more helpful for you in the long run if you just focus on one type as a subspecialty. That way, you gain credibility as a great photographer of that specific kind of wildlife. Either focus on your interests or consider branching out into an area with the fewest specialized wildlife photographers.

  5. Make a portfolio. To get assignments from publication editors, you should be able to demonstrate your ability and experience with a portfolio of captivating wildlife photos. You can simply take the opportunity to photography animals in nearby locations, such as national parks.

  6. Market your photographs. At first, you may need to work on a freelance basis as you sell your shots to publishers and photo libraries. Always be on the lookout for any publications needing wildlife photos. Who knows, this might be the beginning of your stint with National Geographic or Discovery Channel.

Just like any other job, wildlife photography is not a walk in the park. Knowing how to become a wildlife photographer initially prepares you. And of course, you need strong photography skills and knowledge about animal behavior. Furthermore, you must have the ability to adapt to various conditions outdoors and the patience to get that perfect shot. Eventually, your hard work will pay off once you sell your photos and make a name for yourself.


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