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Career in Wildlife Photography

Wildlife Photography

Wildlife photography is ideally suited for someone who thrives on adventure, has an impeccable sense of composition, colour and can capture images that speak a thousand words. However, establishing yourself as a professional wildlife photographer is no cakewalk, which is why, many talented photographers remain amateurs. The climb can be hard and long and the financial returns are not very satisfactory in the beginning. Only those with tenacity and a never-say-die attitude coupled with a real passion stick to this profession and go on to become celebrities like Mike Pandey or Naresh Bedi (both recipients of the Wildscreen Panda Award, better known as the Green Oscar). To become a wildlife photographer you need to build a good relationship with the wildlife parks authorities to visit the restricted areas, get permits to work off-road and maybe even after official hours. It’s very difficult to get these privileges. If the South African jungle trails excite you, do try to go to the Kalahari, which is reputed to be a wildlife photographer’s delight. It’s always a good idea to draw out thumbnail sketches so that your pictures have a narrative quality. Be prepared to lug heavy equipment, which incidentally doesn’t come cheap. Depending on your assignment — a travel photofeature — it may take three to four days, or even a year or more. You need a lot of patience for that perfect moment. Since few full-fledged courses are available in this field, it would be a good idea to work with an established photographer as an understudy before starting out on your own. You’ll gain invaluable learning experience and master some very useful ‘insider’ tips and tricks of the trade. Three-time green Oscar winner, Mike Pandey and the Bedi brothers are among some brilliant veterans in this field who have inspired many youngsters like you to tread this adventurous path. Although most of the known names in photography are selftaught, change is in the air. A number of photography schools have mushroomed all over the country.