Wildlife photography is one of the most amazing photography genres. Professional wildlife photographers take pictures of wild animals in their natural environment. It’s definitely beautiful and meaningful photography. But it also needs a lot of work, time, and patience. Read our tips and learn how to become a wildlife photographer!
1. Get the Appropriate Gear
Like other niches of photography, wildlife photography also starts with the equipment. It might be a bigger investment at the beginning of your photography, but when you start making money with your photos, it will all come back. You will need a quick camera, a telephoto lens, tripods and memory cards for sure. Bean bags, rain covers, headlamps and maybe even camouflage clothing can come handy. Read our article about a wildlife photographer’s essential gear here.
2. Learn to Take High-Quality Photography
This might be a bit of obvious advice: you need to take high-quality photographs to become a professional wildlife photographer.Your wildlife photography has to be outstanding if you expect people to pay for it. There are lots of photography schools out there. You can even get a degree and learn how to become a professional. Sure, workshops and courses are great to improve your photography. I’m all about lifelong learning. But I do not believe that you need to get a certificate to become a great wildlife photographer. What you need are practice, patience and great efforts. Get comfortable with using your camera and learn a lot about lighting. You could even assist a wildlife photographer and learn from them.If you don’t have this option, check out the portfolio of the best wildlife photographers. Their pictures offer great sources of inspiration. You can learn about composition and even about the best poses for certain species.
3. Work as a Freelancer
Many soon-to-be wildlife photographers dream about working for magazines such as Geographic. But there are only a handful of positions and they are already covered. But it doesn’t mean you cannot get your photography published in a famous magazine! The majority of wildlife photographers are self-employed. True, freelancing doesn’t provide a constant income. But you can decide whom to sell your photography and choose your own clients.
5. Start with Photographing Basic Species
Photographing lions in Africa or tigers in Asia sounds like a dream. But you don’t have to start this big at first. Especially because travelling to the best wildlife photography locations can cost a fortune. Start with basic species you can spot near your location. Wander around in forests or go hiking to the mountains. Get photos of birds, rodents or deer. Take your time to practice before you get into photographing more exotic animals.
6. Be Very Patient and Be Ready
Wildlife photography requires lots of patience. The animal you want to capture may not show up for hours or even days. Or the weather is not in your favor and you have to come back another day. But you also have to make sure you are ready when the perfect moment arrives. You often have to capture wild animals in motion. It’s essential that you know how to take sharp photos of moving objects. Think about wildlife photography as if you were a lion for its prey. It might not come for days and the lion stays hungry. But it never gives up and when the time comes, the lion is ready to chase and capture its dinner. Be like the lion – patient and always ready.