Wildlife Photographer Beginner's Guide

Wildlife photographer Stephen J. Krasemann shares the secrets of the trade in this beginner's guide, including equipment, preparing work for submission, markets, and publication information.

| May/June 1975

Successful wildlife photographer Stephen J. Krasemann of Hartford, Wisconsin, shares his secrets of the trade in this beginner's guide to creating a home-based business in wildlife photography. 

All you folks who've moved back to the land have one thing in common: You live surrounded by the woods and fields. To find wild creatures in abundance, you need only to step out the door . . . and that fact can be profitable as well as pleasant.

Remember the bird that nested in the front yard last year, or the snake you chanced upon in the garden, or that beautiful spider web down in the meadow? Well, all of them could probably have been turned into moneymakers.

And just how do you cash in on a spider? By taking its picture, that's how. Every year many people earn extra income from freelance nature photography . . . and a few of them prove talented enough to make the taking of wildlife pictures a full-time occupation. Such photos portray many subjects — birds, mammals, insects, plants, flowers, and scenic landscapes — and are bought in huge quantities by a wide variety of markets. An observant eye for the outdoors, plus a reasonable level of skill with a camera, could very well bring you the extra income every homestead needs.

Photographer Equipment

A start in nature photography doesn't require an outlay of hundreds and hundreds of dollars. To begin building a portfolio you need only a camera, lenses, and film. Your equipment does, however, have to meet certain' standards if you want your wildlife pictures to be of salable quality.

First, the camera must be able to focus clearly. If a finished photo isn't really sharp, few markets will have any use for it. Second, you must be able to vary the amount of light that reaches the film. This can be done either by means of variable shutter speeds or by a diaphragm in the lens that opens and closes to control the entry of light. Both methods are satisfactory.

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