How to become a Wildlife Photographer in India:
A wildlife photographer is a person who documents various forms of wildlife species in their natural habitat. As far as India is concerned, we are blessed with Indochinese tigers and Asiatic lions, Bactrian camels and clouded leopards, and also Indian Elephants and Great Indian Rhinoceros. Today, we will be discussing the qualifications, salary, responsibilities, skills, etc to become a wildlife photographer in India. India has the Western Ghats, the Eastern Himalayas and Indo-Burma (North-East region) to explore, but at the same time, they are facing an uncontrollable human encroachment. So, here pitch-in the wildlife photographers, holding responsibilities on their shoulders to raise awareness and educate people about the wildlife conservation.
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A wildlife photographer who has cleared a 10th/12th standard and a diploma/certificate course in professional photography or wildlife photography is well qualified to become a wildlife photographer. And there is no age limit for this profession.
There is an online community, India Nature Watch (Kalyan Verma and Sudhir Shivaram) for wildlife photographers, which is the largest online portal for the young budding photographers in Asia.
- You should have a strong passion for wildlife, nature, and conservation
- You should have a ton amount of patience and perseverance
- You should use your presence of mind most of the time
- You should an expert in time management
- You should be confident in vigilance (for animals) and versatility (to an environment)
- You should be a knowledge seeker
- You should be strong in your technical skills, like correct exposure, field craft skills, true-color vision, and handling region-specific micro-camera lens efficiently.
Once every amateur photographer reaches that professional level, he/she has some imperative responsibilities other than photography.
Their main objective is to work closely with the wildlife conservation activists, scientists, policymakers, journalists, and educators (professors and teachers) to raise awareness and educate people about the rich natural resources and help preserve them.
Publishing videos, books and articles related to wildlife, endangered species, niches of animals, etc and sharing their in-depth knowledge and experience to the people.
Photographers can give the guest lecture about practical challenges and its handling-techniques in colleges, universities, photography schools and academies.
Like in every profession, a fresher gets a minimum salary between Rs. 7,000 – 12,000 a month depending on the company. But once got enough experience, they can earn like anything between Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 5 lakh a month.
Nature of work:
Every day getting up early at 3.00 am in the morning, going to the field and arranging the camera, lens in the perfect location and ensuring to camouflage it before the animals wake-up. Start shooting thousands of photographs in a day to get one or two best pictures. Meanwhile eating, relaxing and using the open-toilet facility in the forest.
After the sunset, returning back to camp and transfer photos from memory card to a computer/laptop. Meet forest officers to check for animal movement and do some reconnaissance for the next day.
Finally, a wildlife photographer has to travel, learn, and communicate with other people. They will hardly find time for their family and friends. And they are sometimes exposed to danger and mishaps.
The Best places in India:
The Indian subcontinent is featured with a diverse landscape and climatic conditions serve as natural habitats for a wide range of flora and fauna. Here come the top 10 destinations for wildlife photographers starting from the Himalayan peaks (North), through deserts, forests, lakes, and rivers to the coastline of Indian Ocean (South).
- Bandhavgarh National Park (highest density of Bengal Tigers)
- Corbett National Park (Royal Bengal Tigers and Great Indian Elephants)
- Ranthambore National Park (Tigers)
- Sundarbans National Park (Bengal Tiger UNESCO World Heritage Site)
- Gir National Park (Asiatic Lions, Leopard, Jackals, and Antelope)
- Kaziranga National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site, Great one-horned rhinoceroses)
- Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary (UNESCO World Heritage Site, Birds)
- Kanha National Park (Tigers)
- Periyar National Park (Tiger, Elephant)
- Pench National Park (Bengal Tiger, Birds)