Pros work whenever they want to
They make big money
They enjoy photographing along strangers
Nikon pros hate Canon and vice versa
The pro always gets the shots
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Nature photography is much loved and there are a lot of people who dream that one day they can do it for a living. Thus, several myths have been created over the years about the career of a nature photographer. We are going to present some of them and shine a light on the truth behind.
No they don’t. Amateurs do. Being a pro means you have to be on assignment whenever the client or publication asks you too. That could mean being in a foreign country when it’s Christmas back home. There really aren’t a lot of choices for a pro if he wants to put food on the table.
People still assume that if you are a very good nature photographer, one that gets published often, you make a very good living. Sadly, that’s not true. In fact there are very few branches left in photography that still offer a good living by universal standards. If you see a rich nature photographer, it’s probably because he has another job that brings him financial comfort. There are a lot of business people and bankers who love nature photography and some of them are really good too. Most publications try to reward photographers with image credits, and that doesn’t really feed anyone.
I have a friend who moved to Norway two years ago because he loved photographing it so much. When he isn’t somewhere in the world on an assignment, he photographs fjords and other beautiful Norwegian landscapes. The only problem is that he regularly gets emails from people traveling to the country, saying they would like to photograph with him if he has the time. For free of course. This is like going to Paris and asking your favorite chef to cook along with him, just like that. I don’t know about you, but it’s absolute non sense to me. My friend politely replies to most of them, but if he can’t find the time, he politely ignores these requests.
This is a myth made popular by people with too much time on their hands. The choice of brand is something that each of us makes according to personal principles and needs. If one photographer choses Nikon, it doesn’t mean he thinks Canon is garbage. Nor does it work like that the other way around. Pros couldn’t care less about what other people use. All they are interested in is getting the good shots with their own gear.
Nature photography is one of the things you have very little control over. You're basically just an observer trying to capture the perfect moment. Pros have a lot more experience and they develop a sixth sense of anticipation, but none of those guarantees getting the right photos. The difference between a pro and an amateur is that the first one will instantly recognize an opportunity. He will also minimize every chance of failure, but again, he cannot eliminate them completely.