How to Become a Successful a Wildlife Photographer

wildlife photographer

To become a wildlife photographer one has to love and care for animals. You can begin your first step towards wildlife photography as soon as you lay your hands on a camera.Know how to become a wildlife photographer and make money.

At the beginning stage, a professional camera is not required. Wildlife photographers take pictures of animals in their natural habitat and sell them to magazines and other publications for a price.

Though formal education is required to become a self-employed wildlife photographer, some magazines and publications hire photographers with a degree in photography. You can obtain any level programs in photography or a Bachelor’s degree course in photojournalism. Many institutes offer part-time as well as full-time Degree, Diploma and Certificate courses. Wildlife photography jobs are for those who love animals and have a passion for wildlife.

How to Become a Wildlife Photographer

Becoming a professional wildlife photographer takes years of dedication, patience, practice, and perseverance. As a wildlife photographer, you should be willing to go out of your comfort zone and wait for hours to make a perfect shot. You don’t need to go into the wilderness to begin your career with. You can start taking snaps of your cat, dog or any other animals, birds or insects you have in your neighborhood.

Once you are comfortable with handling your camera and equipment, it’s time to hit the road. Look for a wildlife habitat near your place. Start walking with all everything you need while you look for the target animal. If you have found what you were looking for, then it’s time to be as stealthy as a hunter.

Any noise from your end can make the animal flee. You can choose to become an opportunist, where you photograph any animal that happens to cross your path or be particular to photograph only certain species or types of animals and birds.

[Also Read: How to Make Money as a Stock Photographer]

Skills Needed in Wildlife Photographer Jobs

The first and foremost skill needed to become a wildlife photographer is to learn how to control your camera and to see the picture. You must have lots of patience to wait for the picture-perfect moment.

Having a good interpersonal communication skill is an added advantage as you might have to deal with wildlife authorities to seek permits and visits to the restricted areas. You must have good stalking skills, sharp eyesight, efficiency and stamina to work and adapt in all weather conditions. Above all, one should have respect for nature and maintain the serenity of the wildlife habitat.

You must possess technical skills like controlling the different lighting conditions, adjusting the shutter speeds and aperture to adjust the camera to different animals and situations. Having a basic knowledge of Photoshop and software programs like Pixlr, Acorn and Affinity photo lets you edit your photos.

You should have good survival skills to communicate with native tribes and inhabitants. As a wildlife photographer, you should have a focused thought and determination to pursue your career. Use your creativity as photography is about having an eye for every detail.

Wildlife Photographer Portfolio

As a wildlife photographer, your portfolio is what helps you in building your clientele. A good portfolio in addition to looking neat and organized must stand out from the portfolio of other wildlife photographers. To build a unique portfolio you must use a quality platform.

Choose a platform that offers different templates and several plugins so that you can set up an online wildlife photo store easily. Make sure that your website looks minimalistic.

Simple templates will make your clients focus on your art rather than the background of the website. Optimize your portfolio for desktop as well as mobile devices. These days magazines and publications use phones and tablets to search for local wildlife photographers and so mobile optimization is crucial.

Career Prospects

Professional wildlife photographers are employed by editors of magazines, newspapers, publications, and advertising agencies.  You can also join a wildlife channel or choose to work as a photojournalist. You can sell the photographs you have taken to websites, art galleries, and publishing companies. Your photographs are used to design calendars and cards.

Wildlife Photographer Salary

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average median salary of all photographers as of 2018 was $34,000 per year. However, it is difficult to determine the average salary of freelance wildlife photographers at the initial stage. Some make very little money in this profession, while others manage to get lucrative paychecks. The wildlife photographer’s salary is highly dependent on an individual’s talent and the ability to grab good job offers.

[Also Read: 9 Tips To Be A Successful Freelance Photographer]

Is this Job for You?

You can consider building an offbeat career as a wildlife photographer if you have a liking for animals and passionate about photography. (1) You get an opportunity to travel a lot and discover nature. Seek employment with nature magazines, publications, newspapers, and wildlife channels to enhance your career as a wildlife photographer.