Wildlife photography is an ideal career for those who love adventure and have an impeccable sense of composition, color, and creativity. A wildlife photographer is required to take photographs that speak louder than a million words. However, becoming a successful professional wildlife photographer is not a cakewalk by any stretch of imagination. One needs to have great determination and a never-say-die attitude as the beginning can be quite tough in this field. It is essential to have a passion for this profession if you want to make a career in it. One is sure to reap rich rewards if he stays on with determination.
What You Need to Have: Having good relationships with the authorities at wildlife parks and sanctuaries is essential for becoming a successful wildlife photographer. You need to be prepared to travel a lot and get permits to work off road and may be even after official working hours. You need to have good communication and persuasive skills for getting these privileges. You also need to be prepared to lug heavy equipment, which is quite often quite expensive and has to be handled carefully. A wildlife photographer is required to have a lot of patience and ability to wait for that perfect moment. It would be a good idea to work as an assistant for a well-established wildlife photographer for mastering the tips and tricks of the trade.
What You Need to Do for Getting There: There is no one single way of becoming a wildlife photographer. You can start by undertaking a course in photography from a reputable institute or university so that you know the technicalities of photography. There are many institutes and universities offering full time as well as part-time courses in photography and anyone can take up these courses after completing 10 +2.
Institutes Offering: A list of institutes and universities offering certificates and diploma courses in photography is provided below.
Degree Courses in Photography (B.A. Three-Year Integrated)
- Utkal University, Bhubaneshwar, Orissa
- Pune University, Fergusson College, Poona
Diploma Courses (One-Year Duration)
- Kashi Vidyapeeth, Varanasi-221002
- Ravishankar University, Raipur-492010
- Sri Venketeshwara University, Tirupati-517502
Other Important Institutes:
- International School of Photography, C-7/143, Safdarjung Development Area, Hauz Khas, New Delhi – 110016
- Academy of Photography, Kolkata
- Film and Television Institute of India. Law College Road, Pune – 411004 (Photography as a subsidiary subject)
- Film and Television Institute of Tamil Nadu, Chennai – 600113 (Photography as a subsidiary subject)
- Fergusson College, Pune (B.A. Degree Course in Photography)
- India International Photographic Council, 12, Modern School, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi – 110001
- MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi – 110025 (Photography as a subsidiary subject)
- National Institute of Design, Allahabad – 211002
- Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, E.M. Bypass Road, Kolkata – 700094 (Photography as a subsidiary subject)
- Southern Film Institute, Thiruvallam, Thiruvananthapuram (One-Year Certificate Course)
- St. Xavier’s Institute of Communication, St. Xavier’s College, Fort, Mumbai – 400001
Remuneration: When you start out in this field, it would be better to do as much independent work as possible. You can then move on to working with newspapers, magazines, wildlife NGOs, or even host exhibitions and enter photography contests on this subject. This will help you and your work in getting noticed, which will ultimately help you in increasing your income. The more exposure you will get, the higher your remuneration will be. Once you have cleared the initial bottleneck and get established as a successful professional wildlife photographer, you can expect to earn anywhere between Rs. 30,000 to 5 lakh per month.