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