Wildlife photography is a popular photography niche. It involves taking photographs of animals in the wild when they are in their natural environment. You would have seen wildlife photos in top magazines and websites. There is no reason you can’t take similar photos and become a well-known wildlife photographer.
If you want to get into wildlife photography, then our guide will be helpful. We give you useful tips to help you become a wildlife photographer and be successful.
Tips to be a wildlife photographer
1) Equip yourself on all fronts
There are two things you need to become a wildlife photographer, the first is the necessary equipment and the second is photography skills. Let’s first look at the equipment you need to take up wildlife photography. You need a good quality camera, ideally a DSLR. Good quality lenses, a tripod to prevent camera shake, memory cards, batteries, a battery charger, a camera bag, and covers to protect the camera from rain are the equipment you need.
You also need to be skilled in wildlife photography. Photographing wildlife is unlike regular photography. It calls for a lot of patience, and you may need to wait hours to get the photo you wanted. Animals are fast, and you need to be very fast to ensure you don’t miss out on the picture. This calls for quickness in taking photos and a camera that is reliable.
2) Start practicing
You can’t expect to start shooting in the wild straight away. You need some practice. Start by shooting animals and birds in your locality or in your city. Then move to the outskirts or rural areas to practice your photography. This will help you get practice, which is the key to becoming perfect. Practice shooting animals, birds, and insects. This will help you understand how to compose a shot. You will also learn all the settings of your camera. This is important because in the wild you will not get the time and need to be adept with using your camera.
3) Decide how you would work
Every wildlife photographer wants to work for National Geographic, but unfortunately, they don’t have so many jobs. In an ideal situation, you need to be employed by a newspaper, magazine, or website. They would then pay you to take wildlife photos. But this again is not easy. You can choose to be a freelance photographer and take photos to prove your ability. Once you create a portfolio of quality photos, you can then get good business.
As a freelancer, you need to spend your own money to travel and shoot photos. You need to sell the photos later to clients. You can approach media houses, websites, or other organizations that would use wildlife photos. Another option is to sell these photos to a stock photos website. There would be many content creators who need good photos and would be willing to pay for them. Start taking quality photos, and you will soon be able to get a market for them.
4) Do a lot of research
Research is essential before stepping into the wild. Know about the forest or national park where you intend to shoot photos. Find out information on wildlife available and any rules/restrictions. Study the animals you plan to shoot. You need to understand more about them and their behavior. This will help you when you are shooting pictures. You will also come to know where you can find the animals. (eg: near a water source in summer).
5) Safety first
Wildlife is unpredictable. Wild animals look cute on TV, but can be very aggressive. Even docile-looking animals are capable of attacking and causing damage. So, take care of your safety, especially while shooting carnivorous animals. Stay at a distance and ensure you know where to run if required. Keep a first aid kit with you to deal with emergencies. Watch out for snakes and insects in the bushes. Remember, animals have a very good sense of smell. So, be downwind of the animal to prevent it from smelling you.
6) Be patient and be ready
Patience is the biggest trait needed for wildlife photography. You may need to wait on a tree top or behind bushes for the animal or bird to turn up. Camouflage clothing may be helpful, so the animals don’t get spooked. Your camera must be on, and you must be ready to click within seconds. Use the burst mode and take as many photos as possible. You can then choose the best photos while editing. Shooting in RAW mode as editing is easier later.