Nature Photographer

Snap pictures of landscapes and wildlife for magazines and journals.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$17,000 – $63,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Nature Photographers do?

A Nature Photographer takes pictures of wildlife and the natural environment. Unlike a traditional Photographer, who has some control over their subjects, as a Nature Photographer, the closest you can come to arranging your set-ups is to place a bird feeder in your backyard. So instead of setting up shots, you go find them.

This means that as a Nature Photographer, you enter the habitats of animals and plant life and take pictures of them on their territory. You may sit for hours to get that perfect shot of a hummingbird taking off into flight, or may instantaneously snap an incredible shot of the sun setting over the waterfall.

Your day is never typical. One afternoon may find you sitting in a pristine park to shoot the undersides of tree branches, while the next could include crawling through mud to get the perfect shot of a purple flower. After you get your shots, you develop and manipulate your photographs to produce your final product. This part entails many hours spent in a darkroom perfecting your work.

Some Nature Photographers work for nature magazines, but most are freelancers who set their own hours and prices for their work. You are able to plan – or not plan – each day of this job as you would like: organizing where you will hunt out nature’s perfect scenery or pulling over on a moment’s notice to capture the deer running along the highway.


Should I be a Nature Photographer?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.

  • How to become a Nature Photographer

    Most Nature Photographers have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9cddaa&chl=no+college+%2864%25%29|certificate+%2829%25%29|associate%27s+%284%25%29|bachelor%27s+%284%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,64,64
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