A Lens View of the Wild

Sound technical knowledge and field craft is important to excel as a wildlife photographer

Published: 26th January 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd January 2015 11:14 PM   |  A+A-

This type of photography requires skill and patience. It is not a walk in the park, but has you go through rough terrains. And on the other hand, you, as the photographer, should wait until your subject is ready. They are not your usual models, rather they are the masters of the jungle.

Wildlife photography is challenging as well as rewarding, true to a photographer’s passion. The thrill of getting your shot right is something surreal. You can’t get too near a tiger or a bird, and can only capture pictures during certain conditions and angles.

“In the last two-three years, there has been an increase in the number of students who take up courses in Wildlife Photography. They either do it as a hobby or out of personal interest in pursuing a career,” says Rathika Ramasamy, a wildlife photographer based in Delhi, who also conducts workshops on wildlife photography. Now with different camera lenses and various brands to choose from, photography is changing course to becoming a prominent career option. But when it comes to Wildlife Photography, the monetary benefits are not as high, when compared to other lucrative job options.

What to study

There are no specific degree courses in this field. You can attend many workshops and certificate courses to sharpen and build your skills. Rathika suggests that you do a course in Biology or Zoology and then do a technical photography course. “Those interested in Wildlife Photography can do a course in Biology or Science, something that will help them relate to animals and plants. Major companies while recruiting a wildlife photographer check on their basic graduation,” she says.

She goes on to say that this is a vast subject to deal with as the specifics of each animal have to be studied before the photo session. You need to know their natural habitat, learn about their body language, recognise their call and understand their pattern of living. “For all this, field guides are also available. We also teach these techniques — called ‘field crafts’ — to students who attend my workshop,” says Rathika.

Where to study

Some institutes where you can pursue courses in photography include National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad; Sir JJ School of Applied Arts, Mumbai; Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad; Xavier Institute of Communications, Mumbai; Fergusson College, Pune; College of Art, Delhi University, New Delhi; National Academy of Photography, Kolkata; Shari Academy of Photography and Digital Imaging, Mumbai; Delhi School of Photography, Wildlife Institute Of India, Dehradun and School of Photography, Bharati Vidyapeeth, Pune and Sri Aurobindo Centre for Arts and Communication, New Delhi.


You need to have immense passion for wildlife, nature, and conservation. You should also possess in-depth technical knowledge. Some major companies who recruit professionals include Associated Press-Imaging team, Getty Images and other media agencies; National Geographic Magazine, and other such wildlife magazines. Wildlife Photographers can also freelance for newspapers, magazines, publishing companies, advertising agencies and government agencies. You can also work with NGOs or wildlife conservationists.


Wildlife photographers do not have a fixed income. It depends on your client list and the number of pictures you sell or how much your salary is in the company you work. You could be paid `5,000-`10,000 a month or `30,000 upto a lakh, depending on various factors.

in The last two-three years there has been an increase in the number of students who take up courses in Wildlife Photography...either as a hobby or a career option — rathika ramasamy, Wildlife Photographer


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