Credit: Shannon Wild | Wildlife Photographer

Shannon Wild | Wildlife Photographer

Shannon Wild is an Australian wildlife photographer and passionate conservationist. She has worked all over the World, capturing the beauty and diversity of wildlife on Earth. In the interview below I ask for her advice and knowledge on the industry…

What is your current job title/role? 

I am a wildlife photographer and cinematographer. 

How did you work up to where you are today? 

I’m a self taught photographer and cinematographer.  I started out taking pictures of my pets as a hobby and fell in love with it so tried to learn as much as possible through books and magazines (internet access was not yet common at that stage) and of course lots of practicing, making mistakes and learning from them.  That’s key, to go out and shoot as much as possible.  I had a career as a graphic designer and art director before pursuing photography full time and that certainly influenced how I shoot today.

Shannon Wild | Wildlife Photographer

Credit: Shannon Wild | Wildlife Photographer

What do you love most about being a wildlife photographer? 

I love that I’m able to share the incredibly beautiful things I get to see everyday with people who may never get that chance otherwise. I want to be able to encourage understanding and compassion toward animals through my images and footage.  

Credit: Shannon Wild | Wildlife Photographer

Credit: Shannon Wild | Wildlife Photographer

Are there any downsides to being a wildlife photographer?

There are certainly challenges that come with this line of work.  It can be very dangerous and not just because of the wild animals I work with.  I travel constantly and often to remote places.  I’ve suffered from many health challenges along the way, especially from traveling to or staying in unhygienic places.  It’s also exhausting, constantly travelling and it’s very physical work.  I’ve had my fair share of dangerous animal ‘encounters’ over the last 15 years, the most serious being mauled by a cheetah, which put me out of work for several months.

But, to be honest, the most dangerous, life-threatening experience I’ve had is my body almost completely shutting down from sheer exhaustion combined with illnesses picked up along the way that I never had the chance to recover from – that almost killed me after pushing my body for far too long.  It took a long time to recover and I still am, a year and a half later.

I also recently injured my back quite seriously while filming in India, so that’s been difficult and put me off physical work for several months now.  It’s a challenging job to say the least but the positives of it and my passion for it far out weight any of those. 

Credit: Shannon Wild | Wildlife Photographer

Credit: Shannon Wild | Wildlife Photographer

What advice would you give to people hoping to take up a similar career path to yours? 

Practice!  It’s not rocket science; the things you invest your time in, you’ll become better at.  Take the time to get out there and practice, make mistakes, learn from them and practice more.  Don’t be in such a hurry. Take your time, enjoy the learning process. You don’t have to know everything all at once. There are certain things that can only be learnt with time and practice.  It’s taken me 15 years to get where I am, some things you just can’t rush.

Volunteer as much as possible with wildlife organisations and anything that will get you experience working with animals and photographing them!

Credit: Shannon Wild | Wildlife Photographer

Credit: Shannon Wild | Wildlife Photographer

You can find all of Shannon’s links here:

Career Stories, Conservation Jobs & Careers Advice