Portrait of the Zoo Photographer – What it Takes to be a Zoo Photographer – Attitudes and Characteristics of The Zoo Photographer

So you want to be a zoo photographer?

The zoo photographer’s career might not be as glamorous or as lucrative as that of the wildlife or nature photographer. The latter travels to remote and faraway places, meet interesting people, immerse in a different culture, take pictures of rarely seen animals, and appear on television. The former, however, goes to man-made edifices where the wildlife is trapped inside cages. The zoo photographer walks along cemented pathways, following directions to different areas of the zoo, and take pictures of animals that thousands of people have already seen. However, zoo photography has its own intrinsic rewards, including the pleasure of seeing animals in a safe environment.

Can anyone become a zoo photographer? Anyone who has a camera and would like to go to the zoo and take pictures of animals can be considered to be practicing zoo photography. Anyone who has decent skills with the camera can take great pictures of animals. But becoming a zoo photographer takes more than photographic skill. A person who actually enjoys zoo photography is someone who exhibits these facets of his/her personality.

More than skills

The patience of a saint

To take great pictures of animals, the zoo photographer must have the patience of a saint. The zoo animals do not comprehend human’s ridiculous need to take pictures. Thus, they will not pose themselves for the mere sake of a perfectly composed photograph! They would rather stay in shaded areas to be more comfortable. But sometimes, they will also want to explore their cage. Thus, if the photographer is patient enough, he/she can take pictures of the animals during these moments.

The passion of a lover

Chances are, there will be no great financial reward for pictures taken at the zoo. A photographer will have a very difficult time making a lucrative career out of zoo photography. Thus, the fun of taking pictures of animals at the zoo rapidly loses its appeal. Very few photographers have the passion and dedication to take pictures of animals, zoo after zoo and after zoo.

The madness of a genius

People know the most irritating attitude of geniuses – that these geniuses know something but they don’t bother to explain it in plain English. The truth is that even zoo photographers could not really explain the attraction of taking pictures of animals. Some call it an affinity with animals. Others think that it is the photographers’ compassion that propels them to take pictures of animals. But no one really knows the real reason.

The stamina of an athlete

The zoo photographer must have the stamina of an athlete due to the simple fact that the zoo is not a small place. It is easy to give up zoo photography because it is hard work. Touring the whole zoo can be physically demanding, but zoo photographers must endure and persevere.

This post is part of the series: Taking Pictures at the Zoo – Tips and Techniques

There are several things you can do to prepare yourself for taking the best pictures at the zoo. This series will provide you with tips, tricks and techniques that will have your zoo photos look like snap shots taken directly from the wild.
  1. Portrait of the Zoo Photographer – What it Takes to be a Zoo Photographer
  2. Zoo Photography Professional Etiquette – Rules You Should Follow When Taking Pictures at The Zoo
  3. Safety in the Zoo – 3 Tips on Staying Safe When Visiting the Zoo
  4. Taking Pictures at The Zoo – Camera Equipment You Need to Have
  5. Taking Pictures at the Zoo – What Not to Bring
  6. 4 Tips on Taking the Best Pictures of Zoo Animals
  7. The Best Times to Take Pictures at The Zoo
  8. 4 Tips on How to Take Pictures Through Bars and Cages at The Zoo
  9. It’s Not All About The Animals – Taking Photos at The Zoo
  10. Tips on How to Take Pictures of Zoo Animals Through Glass