In the past few weeks, I have been asked the same question by many different people again and again. “How can I become a wildlife photographer?” or “How can I start wildlife photography?” First, I didn’t think anything of it, but the more people asked the more it got me thinking. Why do so many people seem to think that it is a big deal to become a wildlife photographer? Actually, it is rather easy to get started. Grab a camera, go find some animals in their natural habitat without changing their behaviour, then proceed and take a picture. Done! It´s that easy to become a wildlife photographer.
The Nike slogan “just do it” is one of my favourite slogans ever and describes it pretty accurately I think. This is not limited to wildlife photography, it works with most things in life. Whether you want to start something or you would like to improve skills in a certain area of your life. What counts most is to just start somewhere, anywhere. Do it now! Go out and explore!
A lot of people (my past self included) think that it´s necessary to first get a DSLR with a rather expensive lens in order to get good images. But the reality is, it doesn´t matter if you start off with a phone camera, a point-and-shoot camera or a DSLR. I figured that out quite quickly after getting my first DSLR in 2011. Obviously, there is a difference in the image quality between a point-and-shoot and a DSLR, but that´s not the point.
Starting a new hobby such as wildlife photography requires nothing else than a camera and the will to put in a lot of hard work. Everything else will come naturally.
The more time you spend in the field, the more experienced you will become. As a result of that, you will soon see big improvements, not just in the quality of your images but also in your photographic understanding.
FIND A MENTOR
One last tip I can give is to find a role model. Having one or many role models in the industry has definitely helped me to become a better photographer so far. Nowadays we luckily have access to tons of websites from all around the world. Go and find other wildlife photographers that are at least one step ahead of you. Search Instagram and Facebook or just google “wildlife photographer”. You will find many people that are well known for their contributions to the industry. Follow them, find out what they do and how they do it. Then see what you can use for yourself in order to improve. Don’t just go and copy someone else’s style or images, rather learn what works and what not.
If you were thinking whether to start with photography (not just of wildlife, but any form of photography) then I hope this inspires you to finally venture into this beautiful craft.
Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.
Until next time.