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5 affordable ways to become a wildlife photographer and start shooting today

Despite its origin in the 19th century, photography only truly came of age in 1901 when it became available to the masses, with the introduction of a camera that enabled photographers to take pictures with a single ‘click’. We have come a long way since then with advancements that can now capturethe eye of a tinyinsect and a black hole, billions of light years away, with equal ease and finesse.

Wildlife photography is a popular activity that has many takers—perhaps due to the simplicity involved in taking a picture or realizing nature’s unmatchable beauty. But really good pictures often require advanced equipment and forest safaris, amongst other expenses. Despite the falling prices of DSLR cameras, it is still an expensive hobby. Here are a few tips that can help you be a wildlife photographer without burning a hole in your pocket

  • Rent equipment: A basic starter kit for a wildlife photographer would constitute a DSLR, a zoom lens, a macro lens, a tripod, and a kit lens. But you don’t need to own any of these for clicking those amazing pictures. You can simply rent them online! This gives you the flexibility to work with different lenses and cameras for every visit. And the cost for each item is approximately INR 750 per day, which means for a 4 day long trip you will end up spending only INR 6,000 as opposed to a whopping INR 35,000 it could cost to buy a basic DSLR + lens kit

  • Plan in advance: Most national parks and reserves in India, let you book tickets in advance. Thanks to digitization, you can simply book a ticket online in advance and save money! Last minute hotel bookings, safari bookings, flight booking can double your prices and potentially, make to too expensive for you to take the trip

  • Safari sharing: Just like you can pool a cab these days, you can now pool a safari! Several websites and blogs now let you book just one or two seats in a tiger jeep safari thus saving you the cost of booking the entire jeep for just the one or two of you. This can also help you connect with other photographers with similar interests and you could learn a thing or two

  • Teleconverters: For bird photography and even photographing in plains, zoom lenses are a must. But zoom lenses are almost always very expensive. While you can rent a 400 mm lens, renting a Teleconverter instead could potentially increase your range by twice. There may be some restrictions in terms of smaller aperture, slower auto-focus, etc. but with enough practice you could easily manage these issues

  • Intern with a professional photographer: A professional photographer would typically have all the right equipment needed for the job. You can get an internship with the right people to learn the tricks of the trade, tour with them and possibly even handle a camera! The more you learn from a professional, the easier it will be to choose the right camera and click the right photos when your time is right.

The YES BANK Natural Capital Awards is a platform for nature enthusiasts, wildlife photographers and environmentalists to showcase their phenomenal work in conserving Mother Nature and its beautiful creations.

The 2017 edition of the awards consists of five categories – Eco-corporate, (Manufacturing/Services), Pixel Perfect and Trailblazer for photography, and two new categories – Eco-Tourism and Nature Leader. Winners will be awarded at a ceremony in New Delhi in September 2017.

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