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Photography as a career option? Here's an insider guide

Wildlife photography has emerged as one of the most exciting career options by youths off-late. Even professionals with cherished career outside are taking to it. To understand briefly, wildlife photography is concerned with documenting various forms of wildlife in their natural habitat.

Vani Mehrotra Written by: Vani Mehrotra @vani_mehrotra New Delhi Updated on: July 24, 2020 13:33 IST
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Image Source : PIXABAY

Photography career options. Here's what you should know

Once the coronavirus pandemic subsides and exam results of various universities and colleges are out, there will be a rush for admissions in colleges. It is that time of the year when students out of Class 12 or passing graduates decide on their future course of action. Apart from traditional streams in Science, Arts and Commerce, students can also choose a career option in the field of photography among others. 

Photography again has various genres. 

Wildlife photography has emerged as one of the most exciting career options by youths off-late. Even professionals with cherished career outside are taking to it. To understand briefly, wildlife photography is concerned with documenting various forms of wildlife in their natural habitat. It requires great skills and some fieldcraft to capture the best moments.

Some animals may be difficult to approach and so it is extremely important to study the animal's behaviour to be able to predict their actions. Photographing some species may also require stalking skills or the use of a hide/blind for concealment. spoke to Aarzoo Khurana to understand the fine aspects of wildlife photography. 

The information may also prove to be very useful especially for those considering wildlife photography as their career option. 

How do you look at wildlife photography?

Wildlife photography is pretty interesting especially if you love travelling and nature. You can visit different national parks and wildlife sanctuaries and go on safaris to experience the beauty of nature and you can also click some engaging moments that you may encounter in the jungle. 

Any advice for those considering wildlife photography as a career option?

You need to study all the aspects of wildlife photography before opting for it as a career option. It is very important to understand that choosing wildlife photography as a career option may not fetch you a lot of money in India, especially in the beginning. To earn, you may need to diversify your means of earning. You may try selling your images on stock websites. Later, after gathering considerable experience you may consider undertaking workshops and programs to teach the younger talent, which may also help you financially to some extent. 

What should the beginners know of their first shoot?

The aspiring wildlife photographers should just pick up their cameras and start exploring, to begin with. Try different angles, experiment with lighting, read about the subjects and expect no financial returns anytime soon. Patience is a virtue. In addition to that, respect nature and pay due attention to your surroundings in the jungle, follow the code of conduct inside the forest, appreciate the beauty of nature and do your bit towards animal welfare and wildlife protection. Talking about the subjects, big cats are fascinating to shoot, however, other animals and mammals also have their own charm. The key is to sit and observe a bird, or any animal and wait for that perfect shot. Beginners should try and fall in love with nature to come out with the best shots. 

What according to you constitutes an unethical part of wildlife photography?

There are times when photographers take to unethical means like bating or playing bird calls. At times, people also create different noises and sounds to gain the attention of an animal they are trying to click. Sometimes this irritates the animal and it undergoes unnecessary stress.  Other than this, there may be times when the animal is not very cooperative. During such times, the photographer should not make attempts to chase or stalk the animal, which may also prove to be dangerous. It is important to remember that a stressed-out animal would never give you a worthy image.

How difficult is it to capture animals?

Animals never pose for you and so you need to find that perfect window to release the shutter. There are times when a single shot is a taxing struggle and then there are also times when breathtaking shots happen in a flurry unexpectedly, which adds to the charm of the wildlife photography. 

Is wildlife photography possible throughout the year?

Weather conditions in forests are always extreme. One can capture beautiful migratory birds in the morning but during winters, jungles are usually covered with thick fog, which makes it challenging to operate the camera as your fingers tend to freeze due to extremely cold weather conditions. Also, wearing gloves while shooting in winters becomes an issue. During monsoons, you may face other challenges as you always need to protect your camera from the mist or moisture in the air, which can affect the sensor of the camera. During summers, the sun is scorching and the heat ways spoil a number of our images, especially at noon.

Something that should always be kept in mind while on a safari

Always try to capture the wilderness in its natural setting without staging, baiting, or disturbing the animals or their natural surroundings and habitat. Understanding the importance of jungles and the preservation of wildlife is the need of the hour. 

Your opinion about Indian Wildlife Conservation?

The rapid loss of species we are seeing today is estimated by experts to be between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate. The natural extinction rate is the rate of species extinctions that would occur if we humans were not around.  As per the calculations of experts, every year around 0.01 and 0.1 per cent of all species will become extinct. Now, if we take the lower estimate of 2 million different species to be true, then 200 and 2,000 extinctions occur every year. But if the upper estimate of species numbers is true - that 100 million different species are co-existing with us on our planet - then between 10,000 and 100,000 species are becoming extinct each year. We are standing at that point in time where we can't choose to delay the conservation process any further. Every individual should adopt at least two habits every year which can contribute to saving mother nature. Be it giving up the use of straws or switching to bamboo toothbrushes, be it collecting 2 plastic bags during a visit to a place close to nature or be it having a small discussion about conservation with your family and friends. To all those who are reading this, try to do at least something to conserve the environment. And if you cannot be a contributor to the conservation process, try and refrain yourself from damaging the environment further. 

Here's a list of some institutes providing Undergraduate diploma/degree in photography in India

  • Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University, Hyderabad
  • Nation Institute of Design, Multiple Locations
  • National Institute of Photography, Mumbai
  • Delhi College of Photography, Delhi
  • Sir JJ Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai
  • Mass Communication Centre, Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi
  • Symbiosis School of Photography, Pune
  • Raghu Rai Centre of Photography, Gurgaon
  • Indian Institute of Digital Arts & Animation, Kolkata 

Here's a list of some institutes providing a Postgraduate diploma/degree in photography

  • Sir JJ Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai
  • The Indian Institute of Digital Art and Animation, Kolkata
  • Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi
  • Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University, Hyderabad
  • Asian Academy of Film and Television (AAFT), Noida

Also Read | Young photographer captures 'real Bambi' in the woods, and it's INCREDIBLE!


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