094: Pandas & Peace with National Geographic Photographer Ami Vitale

peace & pandas with ami vitale

Pandas & Peace with National Geographic Photographer Ami Vitale

What’s it really like to be a nature photographer for National Geographic?

Photographer Ami Vitale shares her passion for pandas & peace, the reality of being a National Geographic photographer and tips on how to build your career.

Becoming a Nature Photographer

  • If you’re going to try to break into journalism photography, it’s not about traveling and seeing the exotic.  It’s about knowing your subject and going deep.
  • Take something that only you know well, and spend a lot of time on that story.
  • You need a lot of curiosity!
  • A lot of the work is self-funded in the beginning.  By the time you catch the attention of National Geographic editors, you’ve already invested a lot of time and money and work.
  • Ami views National Geographic as a platform, rather than a way to make a living.
  • You may have to speak, write, make films, etc. in addition to nature photography to make a living.
  • When a magazine hires you, you first have to come up with a budget proposal.  Then, they offer you a flat fee, much like a grant.  Sometimes you can find someone to co-fund the project, but you have to find someone to do that.
  • Social media matters!  You have to fight through shyness and share yourself and your platform with the world.

Pandas & Peace

  • Pandas are solitary, quiet creatures who only come together once a year to breed.
  • There are a lot of misconceptions about wild animals.
  • The extinction that is happening now is human driven.
  • The pandas are cute, but we have to bring it back to realizing that we are a part of this natural world.  Nature is incredibly resilient if you give it a chance.

Connect with Ami Vitale

Website: https://www.amivitale.com/
Instagram: @amyvitale


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