Along with technical photography skills, a career as a Wildlife Photographer calls for patience and knowledge of animals, their behaviour, and the surrounding environment. Wildlife photographers frequently visit wildlife areas because they capture animals’ images in their natural habitat.
Travelling to remote locations involves hiking, canoeing, or kayaking (and bringing equipment with you), which ups the adventure factor. Does this adventure-filled career excite you? Wildlife photography is the ideal profession for you if you are more excited than scared by this kind of adventure.
If you want to know more about a career as a Wildlife Photographer, read this blog to learn everything about the profession, right from what skills you need to have to where you can work. Read on!
What does a Wildlife Photographer do?
A wildlife photographer creates compelling images of the wild and its natural environment through the use of tools, techniques, lights, and lenses. Here is a list of duties associated with a career as a wildlife photographer:
- A wildlife photographer takes pictures of animals in their natural environments. Nature and the subject of the photograph must come first for the person taking the wild photography. Therefore, a career as a wildlife photographer requires one to respect the animals’ routine and personal space.
- As part of their on-the-job training, aspiring wildlife photographers occasionally assist more experienced photographers.
- One of the responsibilities of a career in wildlife photography is to educate people about the importance of protecting wildlife. The photographer’s primary and most important goal when photographing wildlife is to achieve this.
- Several are independent wildlife photographers. Many organizations, magazines, and other publications that support wildlife employ and source independent contractors.
- To create enhanced versions of the animals and environments they are photographing, wildlife photographers adjust, use, and manipulate lights and focus. To accomplish this, they also use other digital technologies.
Career path to become a Wildlife Photographer
To pursue a career as a Wildlife Photographer, you can choose the following paths.
Complete your 10+2 in the Science stream by studying subjects such as Zoology and Biology. Select a Bachelor’s program or a Diploma program in Wildlife Photography. You can also enrol for a master’s degree.
Complete your 10+2 in the Arts stream by studying subjects such as Geography and Environmental Science. After your 10+2, you can opt for an undergraduate degree in wildlife photography followed by a postgraduate degree.
Salary in different career stages of a Wildlife Photographer
You must be wondering if a career as a Wildlife Photographer is lucrative. Take a look at this graph to see the career progression this profession offers.
Skills to become a Wildlife Photographer
If you want to pursue a career as a Wildlife Photographer, these are a few skills you need to develop.
- A naturalist’s sensitivity, ability to blend in, and ability to maintain silence are among the qualities they also possess, in addition to extreme patience, mental clarity, and strong communication skills.
- The photographic skill is one of the most crucial for wildlife photographers. Develop your skills in the common photography styles used by photographers. Full-scale photography refers to extreme close-ups and is the technique used for dazzling focal points in photographs of minute objects, such as water drops, insects, and flower parts.
- Along with extensive knowledge of the subjects, they should also possess a great passion for wildlife, the natural world, and conservation.
- The ability to expose correctly, good fieldcraft and stalking skills, keen eyesight, true-colour vision, stamina, coordination, efficiency, and a willingness to work outside in all weather conditions are among the sound technical skills that one should have.
- They should also feel very at ease spending extended periods outdoors, such as when camping, hiking, or practising survival skills.
- To obtain permits and enter the forbidden areas, they must also possess the patience to wait for the ideal opportunity and the interpersonal communication skills to deal with the wildlife park authorities.
Is Wildlife Photography a good career?
In addition to the possibility of freelancing, the private sector offers many career options. Numerous media outlets, including newspapers, nature, travel, and tourism magazines, wildlife NGOs, etc., hire wildlife photographers. A different choice is to join a wildlife channel. Working as a photojournalist is yet another option available to wildlife photographers.
With a career as a Wildlife Photographer, you also have the chance to market your work to potential clients like websites, art galleries, and publishing houses. They could organize exhibitions and participate in photography competitions. One could create cards and calendars using photos and even start a company selling them.
While others choose to pursue creative careers like running tour businesses for nature lovers, such as birding camps for birders, bear or tiger or mountain species trail tours for animal lovers, etc., which will enable them to make money without sacrificing their passion.
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Industries hiring a Wildlife Photographer
You must be wondering where you can find employment to pursue a career as a Wildlife Photographer. Here’s a list of the industries you can consider working for.
- Advertising Agencies
- Event Management Organizations
- Industries and Medical Institutes
- Photo stock websites
- Press and Publishing Houses
- Wildlife channels
- Wildlife NGOs
Top recruiters for Wildlife Photographers
Here is a list of the top agencies in India for hiring photographers if you want to pursue a career as a Wildlife Photographer.
- Best Indian Sites
- Click Indi
- Freelance India
- Photographers Direct
In addition, photographers can open their studios and agencies by offering a wide range of photographic services.
Courses to upskill as a Wildlife Photographer
If you want to pursue a career as a Wildlife Photographer, consider taking these courses to enhance your knowledge and develop your skills.
- A Beginner’s Guide to Wildlife Photography
- Certificate course in Nature and Wildlife Photography
- Certificate course in Wildlife and Travel Photography
- Heather Angel Wildlife Photography
- iPhotography’s Wildlife Photography Course
- Intro to Wildlife Photography
- The Ultimate Wildlife Photography Course
- Wildlife for Beginners and Amateurs
- Wildlife Photography Online Course
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Qualifications to become a Wildlife Photographer
Apart from the skills mentioned above, you need to meet certain educational qualifications to pursue a career as a Wildlife Photographer. In this section, we shall be discussing everything you need to know about the undergraduate and postgraduate courses you can opt for.
Degrees in India
Here’s a list of the undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs you can study in India to pursue a career as a Wildlife Photographer.
Undergraduate courses in India
- B.A. (Hons) Communication Design – Photography
- Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts and Photography)
- Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Photography and Digital Imaging
- Diploma in Photography
Postgraduate courses in India
|MSc Biological Photography and Imaging||1 year|
Here’s a list of the undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs you can study abroad to pursue a career as a Wildlife Photographer.
Undergraduate courses abroad
- BA (Hons) – Marine and Natural History Photography
- BA (Hons) – Wildlife Media
Postgraduate courses abroad
|Master of Fine Arts in Photography||2 years|
|Master of Fine Arts in Wildlife Photography and Media||2 years|
Read this blog to know more about a career as a Wildlife Photographer- How to become a Wildlife Photographer?
Best places in India for Wildlife Photography
This is a list of a few of the best locations in India you can visit to pursue a career as a Wildlife Photographer.
- Bandhavgarh National Park (highest density of Bengal Tigers)
- Corbett National Park (Royal Bengal Tigers and Great Indian Elephants)
- Ranthambore National Park (Tigers)
- Sundarbans National Park (Bengal Tiger UNESCO World Heritage Site)
- Gir National Park (Asiatic Lions, Leopard, Jackals, and Antelope)
- Kaziranga National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site, Great one-horned rhinoceroses)
- Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary (UNESCO World Heritage Site, Birds)
- Kanha National Park (Tigers)
- Periyar National Park (Tiger, Elephant)
- Pench National Park (Bengal Tiger, Birds)
Common challenges faced by Wildlife Photographers
Here are a few challenges you might face if you want to pursue a career as a Wildlife Photographer.
- Environmental Factors: Working within the natural habitat of their subjects is one of the most difficult challenges for wildlife photographers. Poor weather, inclement weather, and extreme environmental elements can endanger photographers’ safety by making image capture difficult or impossible. Trekking deep into the rainforest, braving heat, rain, and other harsh conditions in search of animals living in remote habitats can be dangerous and difficult. Extreme weather can also impair visibility and prevent access to potential subjects.
- Finding Wildlife to Photograph: Wildlife is difficult to predict, especially when photographers are attempting to capture specific behaviours or actions. Wildlife may be hiding, sleeping, inactive, or camouflaged, making them difficult to find and photograph. Even if you have the necessary skills and equipment to capture images in the wild, you must first be able to locate wildlife.
- Getting Close to Wildlife: Wildlife photography can be challenging because animals are usually highly sensitive to disturbances or changes in their environment. Photographers must carefully plan their shots to avoid spooking or scaring their subjects. It is a common misconception that specialized equipment such as telephoto lenses can compensate for the physical distance between the photographer and the subject. Beautiful wildlife photography may necessitate getting up close and personal with your subjects.
- Physical Risks: Wildlife photographers frequently work in remote areas where they are vulnerable to animal attacks. Wild animals, especially when their natural habitat is threatened, can be unpredictable and dangerous. Because predators often react quickly when humans get too close, some types of photography, such as landscape shots with large predators like bears, wolves, and tigers, are nearly impossible to capture safely. When photographing sensitive and endangered populations, they must also be mindful of their impact on animals and ecosystems. By disrupting animal behaviour, wildlife photographers may endanger their subjects. They must maintain a professional, ethical stance that is respectful of the environment and its inhabitants at all times.
- Working With Available Light: Wildlife photography takes place in a variety of lighting conditions. While photographers are permitted to bring their artificial light sources to supplement natural light, they are not permitted to use off-camera flashes, and their on-camera flashes are frequently insufficient to provide the range of lighting required to capture images from a distance. Furthermore, many photo opportunities arise when it is either too dark or too cloudy. This means that wildlife photographers frequently work in low light or with poor visibility, which can make capturing images at high speeds difficult. They must work quickly to select compositions, determine exposure times, and focus the camera while adjusting to the available light.
That’s all you need to know about a career as a Wildlife Photographer. We hope this blog helped you and answered all your questions about how you can become a Wildlife Photographer, what skills you need, and where you can work. Good luck!
FAQs related to a career as a Wildlife Photographer
What are some equipment’s a Wildlife Photographer works with?
Bean bag – lens coat, lens sack
Camera bag capable of holding long lenses
Long-lens camera bag
Long lens rain cover
What are some job roles you can consider to become a Wildlife Photographer?
Event and Concert Photographer
What are some skills required to become a Wildlife Photographer?
Ability to work independently
Good fieldcraft skills and stalking skills
Knowledge of environmental regulations and animal safety
Outdoor survival skills
Proficiency in using camera equipment
Professional photo editing skills
What are some industries that hire Wildlife Photographers?
Event Management Organizations
Industries and Medical Institutes
Photo stock websites
Press and Publishing Houses
How much does a Wildlife Photographer earn?
The average annual salary of an entry-level Wildlife Photographer in India is approximately ₹1,23,400.
Why wildlife photography is the best?
When people are capable of appreciating the beauty captured by the photographer, they learn more about wildlife and conservation and become more interested in ecology and conservation. Ecotourism has grown significantly in National Parks and Sanctuaries, which has also had a positive impact on the economy as well.