Wildlife Photographer

What is Photography?

Photography is the science, art, and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an imge sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film.

Photography Responsibilities

1) Create artificial light, using flashes and reflectors.

2) Determine desired images and picture composition; and select and adjust subjects, equipment, and lighting to achieve desired effects.

3) Develop and print exposed film, using chemicals, touchup tools, and developing and printing equipment, or send film to photofinishing laboratories for processing.

4) Enhance, retouch, and resize photographs and negatives, using airbrushing and other techniques.

5) Estimate or measure light levels, distances, and numbers of exposures needed, using measuring devices and formulas.

Careers in Photography (higher level positions)

  • Photojournalism - This job is to take photos of newsworthy events. The exciting part of this job is that it is dynamic; no news piece is the similar to another. Photojournalists in the United States can expect only a modest salary, with average pay of just $40K per year.
  • Commercial photography - You can take photographs of merchandise, home décor, fashion, automobile trends and other areas in this job. The photos are usually taken and sold to advertisers and product lines. Median pay for Commercial Photographers in the United States lies in the neighborhood of $47K annually.
  • Travel photography - as the name suggests, this area of photography requires a lot of travel locally and internationally. You capture people, places and their cultures. The average salary for travel photography jobs is $28,000.
  • Forensic photographic - this is a career path for a person with an eye for detail and threading stories together. This will involve working with agencies of law enforcement like the police to take photos of crime scenes for evidential purposes. Recent job postings reveal that crime scene photographers earn an average salary of between $24,960 and $51,000, with salary ranges often dependent upon experience.

Education/Training Requirements

Working as a wildlife photographer requires little to no formal education. But wildlife photographers who work for a company may need a college degree. People who are interested in freelance work, a number of community colleges, organizations and even wildlife photography magazines offer courses and workshops. Prospective wildlife photographers are often encouraged to pursue positions as assistants to photographers as a form of on-the-job training.

Photography training is commonly available through certificate and associate degree programs offered by 2-year community colleges. Bachelor's and master's degree programs in photography can also be found in 4-year schools' visual or fine arts departments

Abilities and Characteristics

1. You need passion. You need to think about, dream about, talk about and live photography.

2. You need to be dedicated to the craft of photography. This doesn’t mean you need to be an expert. It means you need to be dedicated to BECOMING an expert. No matter how long it takes.

3. You need to be a story teller. Story telling is at the heart of good photography, good photographers need to be able to tell stories with their cameras.

4. You need to care about your subject. You need to be a subject-matter expert, whether it’s birds or people or cars or waterfalls. Good photographers learn all there is to know about their subjects BEFORE they pick up a camera. Always photograph your subject as if it is the only way it will be remembered throughout all time.

5. You need patience. You need to be willing to practice and study often. And you need to be willing to search out or wait out the light.

6. You need a sense of wonder and imagination. You need to be curious about everything you photograph and then you need to be able to play with that curiosity to see what you can come up with.

7. You need to share. You need to be willing to pass on what you learn willingly to others. You need to show your photos to everyone. You need to protect and preserve for others all your important photographic memories.

8. You need to be the kind of photographer who makes OTHER people want to become a photographer.

Wildlife Photography Salary

The average salary for wildlife photography jobs is $41,000. Average wildlife photographer salaries can vary greatly due to company, location, industry, experience and benefits.