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How can I Become a Wildlife Photographer?

By Kathy Hawkins
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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To become a good wildlife photographer, you will need excellent camera gear, skill, patience, and luck. You will need to be comfortable in the outdoors, and able to get into hard-to-access spots where you can get access to the animals you want to photograph. It is easier to become a wildlife photographer if you live in an area where you'll have the opportunity to see many types of wildlife; otherwise, you'll have to travel frequently to take photos.

As a wildlife photographer, you are likely to spend the majority of your time waiting in a certain location where you are likely to see animals. When they appear, it's similar to hunting — you only have a small period of time to get the photographs that you want to take. Soon, the animal will run off, especially if it spots you trying to take its photograph.

In some cases, being a wildlife photographer can be a dangerous occupation. This is especially true if you are interested in taking pictures of predators such as bears or wolves. Generally, black bears are safer to photograph than grizzly bears or polar bears, which can become very aggressive. However, you do not want to put yourself in a vulnerable position unless you know exactly what you are doing as a wildlife photographer.

Some of the easiest types of wildlife to shoot as a wildlife photographer are birds. By putting a bird feeder in your yard, you'll have the chance to see many varieties of birds, and to take their photographs. For small animals like birds, and when you are taking photos from a distance, it can be helpful to use a telephoto lens, which magnifies the picture. A professional wildlife photographer will often have thousands of dollars worth of expensive camera gear and lenses.

Some wildlife photographers do not shoot in the wild at all, but at game farms or nature preserves, where they can still have access to the animals without barriers. Others shoot at zoos, where they can sometimes get special passes to enter the animal enclosures.

It is very difficult to become a successful, high-paid wildlife photographer. Some of the best in the world work with the famous magazine, National Geographic, and many make profits by selling calendars featuring their work. However, it can be a fun and exciting pursuit to do for the sake of pleasure, if you're not concerned about making a living from your photographs.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon271526 — On May 27, 2012

I want to become a wildlife photographer, so please somebody help me.

By anon162651 — On Mar 24, 2011

I am pretty much interested in wildlife. Also i am thinking of making it big as a wildlife photographer. I just want to know what are the necessary steps, the courses and what other stuff i need to do in order to become a pro! please someone help.

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