How to become a wildlife photographer?


Are you fascinated by animals? Do you have the patience to wait for that split second and successfully capture moments with your camera? Because these are some of the essential characteristics of a successful wildlife photographer.

Photographing wild animals requires patience because you have no control over the animal’s reaction. Wildlife photography is a creative art form that documents various types of wildlife as well as the aesthetic qualities of the rapidly changing environment in which they live.

Do you aspire to be a wildlife photographer or just explore the field? In either case, you’ve come to the right place! This blog discusses the skills required, colleges and courses, salary, and top companies for the ‘wildlife photographer’ career. Follow the step-by-step guide in the blog to become a wildlife photographer.

Who is a wildlife photographer?

A wildlife photographer is someone who captures images of various wildlife species in their natural habitat. Their work aims to capture wildlife’s natural beauty as well as their behaviour in their natural environment.

Also read: How to become a Product Designer

How to become a wildlife photographer?

Step 1: Stream to select

A specific stream makes little difference in one’s career as a wildlife photographer if one is determined and passionate about the profession.

Choosing the Science stream and studying subjects like Zoology and Biology will help you better understand the animal world.

Selecting the Humanities stream and studying subjects like Geography and Environmental Science will give you a better understanding of the cultural context, geography, history, and customs of natural settings.

Step 2: Certification courses and project courses

The certification courses listed below can help you become a wildlife photographer.

  • Wildlife Photography Online Course
  • Wildlife for Beginners and Amateurs
  • Intro 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
  • A Beginner’s Guide to Wildlife Photography
  • The Ultimate Wildlife Photography Course

Step 3: Educational qualifications

You don’t need any formal education to become a wildlife photographer, though some employers prefer photographers with a photography degree. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 64% of photographers were self-employed in 2020, implying that almost anyone with talent, patience, passion and the right equipment can do freelance work.

How to become a wildlife photographer after 10th?

A Class 10 education is required for a professional photography course. All of the courses listed below, with the exception of the ‘Diploma In Wildlife Photography And Cinematography Course,’ are not specific to wildlife photography. These courses, however, are essential because they cover topics such as photography angles and lighting, as well as technical knowledge of tools such as cameras and an understanding of fine arts.

  • Courses for wildlife photography:
ITI Digital Photography3 yearsUpto ₹1,00,000
Diploma courses in Photography1-2 years₹65,000 to ₹5,00,000
Certificate courses1 -12 months₹30,000 to ₹50,000
Diploma In Wildlife Photography And Cinematography Course6 months₹1,25,000

Lear more: How to become a Creative Director

  • Top institutes in India:
Name of InstitutionLocation
Government Industrial Training InstitutePune
Advanced Training InstituteLudhiana
Le Mark School of ArtMumbai
Morph AcademyChandigarh
Pixel Institute of PhotographyNew Delhi
Advanced Training InstituteKolkata
Institute for Photography ExcellenceGujarat
Visualite AcademyTamil Nadu
A meerkat using the photographer's camera as a watchtower.
“Let me help you to find some wildlife” – probably the friendly Meerkat [Source]

How to become a wildlife photographer after 12th?

Students who have completed their 12th can pursue the diploma course listed below, which is the most popular course for students who want to become wildlife photographers in India.

Aside from that, students can pursue undergraduate courses like BFA in photography, but keep in mind that it only has a topic about “wildlife and nature photography” in one of the semesters and not a dedicated and full-time regular wildlife photography course like the diploma course.

  • Diploma course to become a wildlife photographer in India:
Diploma in Wildlife Photography1 year₹3,93,500
  • Top institute offering the diploma course to become a wildlife photographer in India:
Name of InstitutionLocation
Creative Hut Institute of PhotographyKerala

Read about: Career in Graphic Design in India

To Become a wildlife photographer abroad

Aside from the certification courses mentioned in Step 2 above, students can also pursue undergraduate programmes abroad to broaden their knowledge of wildlife photography.

To be considered for admission to an international university, students must pass their 12th board exams and take IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE, as well as the SAT or ACT.

Students should visit the university’s website for information on the required exams and the university’s selection criteria.

  • UG courses to become a wildlife photographer abroad:
BA (Hons) – Wildlife Media3 years₹38,11,018
BA (Hons) – Marine and Natural History Photography3-4 years₹50,21,915 – ₹66,95,886
  • Top UG colleges to become a wildlife photographer abroad:
Name of the InstitutionLocation
Falmouth UniversityEngland
University of CumbriaEngland

Step 4: How to prepare for the job

  • Get the Appropriate Gear: It may be a sizeable investment at the start of your photography career, but it will all be worth it when you start making money with your photos.
  • Work as a Freelancer: Most wildlife photographers are self-employed and offer their services on a freelance basis.
  • Build your portfolio: A portfolio of work is essentially your resume. As a result, you can present your best work to potential employers.
  • Research the Market to Set Your Prices: The best way to set your prices is to research local prices and your competitors’ prices.
  • Network with other photographers: Connecting with other wildlife photographers or publications that publish wildlife photography will help you find work as a wildlife photographer.
  • Start with Photographing Basic Species: Because travelling to the best wildlife photography locations can be costly, spend some time practising before moving on to more exotic animals.
  • Get to Know the Animals: You will recognize the best poses and situations to capture if you learn how a species behaves.
  • Respect the Animals and Nature: You’re photographing majestic animals to show the world how important it is to protect them. You must never harm or destroy their environment.

12 most important skills for becoming a wildlife photographer

Photographers running away from a bear.
“I’ve been trying to reach you guys about your car’s extended warranty” – Mr. Bear [Source]
  • Proficiency in using camera equipment
  • Good fieldcraft skills and stalking skills
  • Sharp eyesight
  • Stamina
  • Coordination
  • Efficiency
  • Extreme patience
  • Professional photo editing skills
  • Outdoor survival skills
  • Knowledge of environmental regulations and animal safety
  • Researching skills
  • Ability to work independently

Salary of a wildlife photographer:

Salary in In India

In India, the average annual salary for an entry-level wildlife photographer is around ₹1,23,400.


Salary Abroad

The following are some entry-level wildlife photographers’ salaries from around the world.

CountryAnnual Salary
United States$24,986
Finland21 579€
United Kingdom£19,759
South AfricaR108,290
Australia$40,172 (AUD)
New Zealand$44,095 (NZD)
Mexico$90,592 (MXN)

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Sectors in which wildlife photographers can work

There are numerous job opportunities available for those interested in pursuing wildlife photography as a career. Several of them are listed below:

  • Freelancing
  • Travel and tourism publications/magazines
  • Wildlife NGOs
  • Wildlife channels
  • Photo stock websites
  • Publishing houses

More about wildlife photography?

As you have reached this part of the blog it means only one thing- you might be a future wildlife photographer! So, as a bonus, a few websites of popular wildlife photographers are added here. So do check them out and have fun exploring more!

A rhinoceros gets belly rubs from a photographer.
“Excuse me, wildlife photographer, belly rubs, please?” [Source]

Wildlife photography is a distinct field that necessitates a distinct mindset in order to be successful. Follow the steps outlined in the blog to get your work noticed, and you should have a good chance of starting a career as a wildlife photographer. Best wishes and happy clicking!

Career options for creative people

FAQs related to how to become a wildlife photographer

How much do wildlife photographers make in India?

Ans: In India, the average annual salary for a Wildlife Photographer is ₹4,32,500. A Wildlife Photographer’s average starting salary is ₹1,23,400. The highest salaries can exceed ₹1,00,000.

How do I start a wildlife photography career?

Ans:  Here are 10 steps to getting started as a wildlife photographer:
1. Get the necessary equipment.
2. Learn to Take High-Quality Photographs
3. Work as a Freelancer
4. To set your prices, conduct market research.
5. Begin by photographing common species.
6. Be Patient and Prepared
7. Prepare to travel
8. Learn about and respect animals and nature
9. Create your portfolio
10. Network with other photographers

Can wildlife photographers make money?

Ans: Here are seven ways successful wildlife photographers Marina Cano, Vladimir Medvedev, and Radomir Jakubowski made money by photographing the natural world:
1. Increasing your social media following
2. Publishing photobooks
3. Organizing workshops
4. Creating your own brand
5. Print sales and exhibition
6. Investigating novel formats
7. Making various products for sale

Is there any career in wildlife photography?

Ans: Wildlife photography has recently emerged as one of the most exciting career options for young people. Before pursuing wildlife photography as a career, you should thoroughly research all aspects of it. It is critical to understand that choosing wildlife photography as a career path will not earn you a lot of money in India, especially at first. To earn, you may need to diversify your sources of income. You could try selling your images on stock photography websites. Later, after gaining significant experience, you may consider conducting workshops and programmes to teach the younger talent, which may also help you financially.

Where can I sell wildlife photos?

Ans: These are the 10 locations where wildlife photographers look to fund their photographic adventures:
1. Nature Picture Library
2. Animals Animals
3. FineArtAmerica
4. Sea Pics
5. Minden Pictures
6. iStockPhoto
7. Shutterstock
8. National Geographic Images
9. BigStockPhoto
10. Adobe Stock

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How to become a Wildlife Photographer? Top 10 Skills required to become a Wildlife Photographer Top 10 colleges to become a Wildlife Photographer in India Top 10 colleges to become a Wildlife Photographer Abroad
How to become a Wildlife Photographer? Top 10 Skills required to become a Wildlife Photographer Top 10 colleges to become a Wildlife Photographer in India Top 10 colleges to become a Wildlife Photographer Abroad