How to Become a Wildlife Photographer

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Photographing wildlife can either be a thrilling hobby or a lucrative career. Whether your goals include award-winning photographs in National Geographic or simply capturing the fox that lives nearby, you'll need to prepare in order to become a successful wildlife photographer.

  • Take classes other than traditional photography classes. Wildlife biology classes are especially beneficial to a wildlife photographer. You'll need to understand animal behavior patterns to effectively capture the behavior on film. Consider nature and survival classes, as well. Wildlife photographers travel to remote areas of the world and often spend days at a time outside.

  • Practice photographing animals. It might go without saying, but the more experience you gain photographing wildlife, the more successful you'll eventually be. Don't limit yourself to wildlife. Take photos of your dog or cat. Try to catch them running or stretching. The best wildlife photographs use the animals' eyes as a focal point.

  • Experiment with your camera settings. You'll have less than a second to capture that perfect photograph, and you don't want to ruin the photo with inappropriate settings. Take photos at different times of the day and learn how your camera reacts.

  • Read about wildlife. The more you know about your subject the more proficient you'll be at photographing it. Don't limit yourself to text books. Find books and stories that interest you. You'll be more likely to retain the information.

  • Attend photography seminars and classes. Learn everything you can about your craft. Although your goal is to become a wildlife photographer, you should also be skilled at photographing people and nature scenes.

  • Study under an established wildlife photographer. Find a local photography club and you'll also find skilled amateur and professional photographers. Take the time to learn their strategies and tips, including the best areas and times to find active wildlife.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wildlife is typically the most active at dusk and dawn, so schedule your practice sessions around those times.

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