Wildlife Photography

Wildlife photographers spend time in the natural habitats of their subjects — ie mammals, birds and other ­creatures of the wild — shooting photographs. It’s a profession that requires a ­passion for wildlife, nature and ­conservation, along with ­in-depth knowledge of the subjects one is after.Since wildlife ­photography is regarded as one of the most challenging forms of ­photography, right attitude and constant upgrade of photography skills are important to make a mark in this field. Also, you should be acutely aware of ­subject’s safe zone and local regulations if you are in ­protected areas. You have to take care of yourself and ensure the well being of the subject you are ­photographing. Wildlife photography is all about ­endurance and acute ­understanding of ­behaviour of wild animals. Therefore, one must study ­animal ­behaviour to have a better chance of anticipating action.

The ­Payoff

When one starts out, one should do as much independent work as one can. Then, one could share the work with newspapers, ­magazines, wildlife NGOs, or one could host exhibitions and enter photography contests. One could use one’s ­photographs to design cards and calendars, maybe even launch a brand. Income at this level is around Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 10,000 per month, depending on one’s ­ingenuity. Established wildlife ­photographers can earn anything between Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 5 lakh a month

* Love for nature and animals is a prerequisite

* Extreme patience

* Presence of mind 

* Strong communication skills

* Respect for nature in all its forms

* A naturalist’s sensitivity

* Ability to blend in and maintain silence

Getting there

One can start as soon as one can lay one’s hands on a camera. Beginners can start observing their surroundings first and shoot common animals and birds. One can also join a basic ­photography course and build knowledge from there. With ­digital photography, some basic knowledge of ­computer and photo software can be useful

Institutes and URLs

* Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun; - www.wii.gov.in

* National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad - www.nid.edu

* Canon Education Portal - www.usa.canon.com

Pros and cons

* Lots of travel

* Less time for family 

* Feeding one’s love of nature

* Freedom to operate ­independently

* Exposure to danger

* Contributing to saving the ­creature you love

* No steady income