Wildlife photography is a hot market for the freelance photographer who is capable of finding and capturing the beauty of wildlife subjects. There are numerous markets for wildlife photographers. Magazines such as National Geographic, Preservation and Birds and Blooms pay good money to the talented freelancer who can turn out unusual and compelling photography. If you love animals and appreciate the peaceful beauty of a forest at dawn, you can turn your passion into a career you’ll enjoy.
1. Look for photographic content you don’t see often. This could be animals in settings where they aren’t expected or photographs that catch animals hunting, fighting or mating. Pay attention to composition. The focus of your shot should highlight your subject, but look for ways to make the setting complimentary. Combine animals with plant life so they enhance one another. These are the types of photographs wildlife editors want to see. Photos that display a sense of danger are also welcome. A photograph from the top of a mountain might sell, but a photograph from the top of a mountain with a cougar in frame is sure to sell. Photos like these showcase a combination of danger and beauty that can be captivating.
2. Buy a copy of “The Photographer’s Market” by “Writer’s Digest” books. This book is a market resource guide for photographers that contains complete submission guidelines to all types of magazines. More than 300 of the markets are wildlife related. A copy of this book can cut your marketing time down a great deal. The listings tell you what type of photographs a publication looks for, where and submit your photographs and how much you can expect to be paid. Choose a couple of markets, read the guidelines and submit your work as directed.
3. Write a short letter. Even if the guidelines don’t require one, a short letter introducing yourself and pointing out a few good photograph sales you’ve made relating to the wildlife field is a way to show your professional track record. It might even give you an edge. Close the letter by thanking the editor for his or her time and let him or her know you look forward to working with them. Ending the letter on a strong, confident note is better than writing, “I hope you will consider my work.” Wait the appropriate length of time (as stated in the guidelines) before you follow up.