It seems almost glamorous to become a good wildlife photographer. I have been doing blogs about different types of photography, and I’ll tell you now, that to be a good wildlife photographer isn’t an easy job. But, if you have the money to invest in some serious equipment, and then learn what it takes, you might make it in this field of photography.
I found this great article about the 10 Golden Rules of Wildlife photography written by one who knows what it takes: Carlos Pereira from Picture/Correct. It’s a great article and hope you will enjoy this:
Generally speaking, people give close attention to good quality work. A good craftsman is appreciated; his skill, creativity and professionalism exude quality. Photographing wildlife is no different; the successful photographer must give attention to every aspect of his craft and treat it professionally. The following golden rules provide a strong foundation:
1. Has good equipment and knows how to use it well.
Depending on the type of wildlife you photograph, this is an area where your camera system plays an important role. When photographing a subject there’s no time to fumble with the tools in hand – the photographer, like an experienced car driver operates his machine fluently, almost without thinking.
2. Is passionate about the craft and wildlife.
Unless you’re passionate about wildlife you won’t go far. Why not? Because you need dedication. A wildlife photographer may spend many hours, days even years trying to get the right picture. Do you think I’m exaggerating? Let me tell you that some of the images that won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition took some of those photographers years to perfect.
3. Clothing and equipment doesn’t give away position.
This rule may appear insignificant, but it isn’t. The color of clothing or any reflection coming from the photographer or equipment has frightened wildlife and brought an end to a session.
4. Never causes stress to the subjects for the sake of a picture.
5. Is always safety conscious.
Animals and even some birds of prey are unpredictable. Safety of self and others is paramount.
6. Is positive, perseveres and has lots of patience.
If there’s an area in photography where failure is tied very tightly to a photographer, is when these qualities are seriously missing. Wildlife photography by its nature is a waiting game, persisting again and again.
7. Is willing to get up before sunrise.
Early morning and late afternoon are the best times. This is the period the wildlife is feeding and very active.
8. Sends his best shots to competitions, isn’t afraid of failure.
Photographers need to continue stretching their abilities – competitions are an excellent way to learn. Failure is often taken negatively, that shouldn’t be the case. While not pleasant, it should serve as an incentive to press on and not taken personally. Sometimes magazine editors will reject some work, not because it isn’t up to standard, but because it was sent at the wrong time or in the wrong way. Maybe they just had a recent feature covering that same subject and there isn’t room for another one soon.
9. Takes time to do in-house research about his subject matter.
10. Is technically proficient.
The photographer must know how to get sharp pictures, compose the subject, know what’s the best light, how to use fill flash and all the techniques necessary to create a good picture.
About the Author:
Carlos Pereira (mountain-light) received a qualification from the British Institute of Professional Photographers. He developed a successful business in the UK as a wedding and Portrait photographer. He received further training in the USA from Monte Zucker, a master photographer. His Wildlife and Portrait photographs have been published in the UK and European photographic magazines. He concentrates his photography as a travelling photographer and a teacher, offering his expertise as a nature photographer through digital books. His vision has been moulded by the classic portraiture that was his business for a number of years.
Now, here are some great wildlife photos, taken by the professionals: