What is the definition of a professional wildlife photographer?

Started Aug 29, 2013 | Discussions thread
fredlord Senior Member • Posts: 2,662
Re: Professional is one who is earning a living.

Wildlife photographers are sort of like actors or athletes. Many try to make it big for a while but very, very few succeed in making a career of it.

The problem now is that one of the old income mainstays, stock image sales, is so incredibly diluted that it's almost impossible to rely on making a living doing nothing but photography. Most "wildlife photographers" now can only make a living by giving instructional photography tours and/or lecturing on the subject while showing examples of their work. An acquaintance of mine who has nearly a half-million images in stock now has to do tours, teach, and lecture to make ends meet.

There are literally millions of would-be novice wildlife photographers out there who, through sheer numbers, inundate the market with images. They're willing to pay to work or work for nothing and undercut anyone else to just be able to say they're wildlife photographers. Quite a few of them have made their money elsewhere, retired and have no real income worries. I know several of those out doing wildlife photography right now. They did not rely on talent to succeed to say the least.

It used to be they would become wildlife photographers in order to do something they loved and make money at it. It was a tiny and extremely dedicated group. Now, most make their money and THEN enjoy themselves.

Wildlife photography, itself, is really not that much in demand as a commodity. Submitting stock images now is like buying lottery tickets. The chances of a win are miniscule. Most of my sales are for less than a dollar an image now.

Just like professional athletes and movie stars, it takes a transcendent talent and maniacal perseverance to succeed. There is no glamour to it when you have to fight just put bread on the table.

One of the example given, Moose Peterson, does not make sufficient income solely from his photography any more. He too tours, teaches, lectures, and endorses products to make a living.

-- hide signature --

Fred Lord

 fredlord's gear list:fredlord's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EOS 5DS R Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Sigma 15mm F2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye +7 more
Post (hide subjects) Posted by
(unknown member)
(unknown member)
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow