Shannon Wild is an Australian wildlife photographer, author and presenter based in South Africa and an official contributing photographer and cinematographer for WildAid. She also leads various Wildlife Photography Safaris, Workshops & Expeditions throughout Africa and beyond.
How did you get started as a professional wildlife photographer and what influenced you to make that choice?
I’ve always had a passion for animals since I can remember. I was that kid who spent hours following and catching lizards and insects. After finishing school I pursued a career as a graphic designer and later art director for many years. I started taking wildlife photos on the weekends and it quickly became an all consuming passion. After a few years I made the leap into photography full time, that was 12 years ago. Wildlife photography is such a competitive niche so over the years I’ve shot many non-wildlife jobs including food, industrial, corporate and lifestyle while I tried to make a name for myself for my animal photography.
How do you pass the ‘waiting time’ out in the wild?
I’ll often read, either Kindle on my iPhone or more often than not power can be an issue so a good old fashioned printed book. I don’t really read much fiction, I prefer non-fiction and biographies. I want to learn constantly so it will usually be wildlife and nature related.
What photograph are you the most proud of?
I’m most proud of my photo ‘White Rhino with Cattle Egrets’. It’s a once in a lifetime shot that I can still hardly believe I managed to capture. People often assume or ask if it’s a composite. It’s not. I got into a low position primarily to photograph the rhino against a very moody sky. As I started to shoot, several cattle egrets came in to land on and around the Rhino, as they often do, looking for insects disturbed by the rhino walking through the vegetation. One of the frames I captured looks as though it’s a landing sequence of a single egret. I didn’t realise I’d captured this image until I reviewed the shots on my laptop. I almost screamed with joy!
What suggestions or advice can you offer someone who wants to get into wildlife photography?
It’s definitely not an easy way to make a living. It takes a long time to make a name for yourself, lots of shooting, lots of patience and networking is always key just like with any industry. You need to learn animal behaviour and field craft as well as your equipment inside and out.
It’s a niche industry but also very competitive. Diversification is key, which is why I also author photography books, do speaking engagements, run photographic workshops in several countries. I will also shoot lifestyle and travel work that is wildlife focused such as for lodges and safari tour companies. I also have a YouTube series about wildlife and photography called Shannon Wild.
Tell us about your workshops and other fun opportunities for people to learn from you?
I run a variety of workshops in South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania and Namibia. These range from short, personalised workshops, 5-9 day safaris and even 18 days expeditions. I help provide stunning photographic opportunities while being at the disposal of the client to help, whether it be technically or creatively to get the best from your gear.
In 2007 Shannon founded Wet Nose Fotos - Pet Photography & Education as a pet focused photography service.
What do you consider your greatest achievements in your career to date?
To date I’m most proud of becoming an official contributing photographer for WildAid.
We love inspiring quotes, any favorites?
There are quite a few, but this one in particular -
"Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value." – Albert Einstein
Shannon Wild is a weekly series on AnimalBytesTV, which follows Shannon’s adventures with some amazing wildlife in her search for the perfect shot. You can learn more about Shannon on her wesbite, shannonwild.com and be sure to follow her photographic journey on Instagram @shannon__wild