Getting Started in Wildlife Photography

Wildlife photography is probably the hardest specialization to maintain a living through. It's even harder to break into it. In fact, trying to build a career in this field is a huge gamble because it requires time, effort and luck. If you're still determined to try to break into it, then this is what you need to do.

Buy an SLR Camera and Invest in Telephoto Lenses

Wildlife photography is all about capturing beautiful shots. Part of what makes an image look great is depth of field. Using a zoom lenses compromises that, as well as the overall quality of the photo. So, buy an SLR camera where you can quickly change the lenses to suit almost any situation.

You need the telephoto lenses because the only way you're going to get that shot is at a distance. If you try to get close to an animal, it will either run away from you or attack. Don't put your life or productivity in danger. Get the shot from a long distance with a telephoto lens.


If you want to be a pro and go against the big boys, then you need the portfolio to get you there. To have a great portfolio, you need variety. That means traveling a few hundred miles in the faint hope that you'll get a shot of an animal you never see at home. That's why this is a risky and expensive field to try to break into. You could drive 800 miles and spend two nights in a hotel just to come home with no shots at all.

Act Like a Hunter

Hunters have patience. They will spend all day sitting in a tree just waiting for something to walk by. That's the way you need to be too. You need to find a safe place with a great view to set up in. After that, you need to stay there all day and be quiet. Most animals are afraid of people and if you are constantly moving around, they're not going to go anywhere near you.

Safety First

You're dealing with wild animals. Don't carry food on you because that attracts predators. Also, bring something for protection on the off hand chance something tries to attack you. Before traveling to an area, study what predators live there and what attracts them. Be careful, don't do anything irrational.

Have a Business Plan

Once you have a small portfolio built, it's time to step it up. Find which stock photography website buy photos and what they're looking for. Doing this as a weekend hobby is fine, but if you want to be a professional, then you need a business plan.

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