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When it comes to photography subjects, nothing could be considered more beautiful or difficult to capture than wildlife and the environment they live in. Wildlife photographers are highly skilled in taking images of wild animals in their natural habitats.
12 Famous Wildlife Photographers
We have compiled a list of twelve of the most famous wildlife photographers from around the globe, each a professional in their field and with the credentials to back up their place on our list.
1. Bryan Skerry
Bryan Skerry grew up in a small, working-class town in Massachusetts. It is here that he found his love for the ocean and everything in it, and he has since moved on to become one of the world’s greatest ocean photographers. He has many awards to his name, and his amazing marine images speak for themselves.
A photojournalist specializing in marine wildlife and underwater environments, Skerry has been a photographer for National Geographic since 1998. He has also been featured in publications such as Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, BBC Wildlife, Paris Match, GEO, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian, Esquire, Audubon, and Men’s Journal.
2. Art Wolfe
The son of artists, Art Wolfe was born in Seattle, Washington, and still resides there today. Graduating from the University of Washington with a Bachelor’s degree in fine arts and art education, his photography career has spanned several decades and included work on every continent, thousands of locations, and a variety of projects.
Wolfe is the author and creator of over 65 photography books, as well as instructional videos. His work is considered by most to be some of the most visually stunning wildlife and environmental images in the world. Wolfe’s career has been multifaceted as well, including wildlife conservation, art, journalism, and education.
3. Suzi Eszterhas
Suzi Eszterhas is an award winning wildlife photographer that is best known for her documenting newborn animals and family life in the wild. From tiger cubs in India to newborn brown bear cubs in the Alaskan wilderness, her ability to earn the trust of her photo subjects has led to some extraordinary images. Her work has been published in over 100 magazines, including TIME, Smithsonian, BBC Wildlife, GEO, and National Geographic.
Eszterhas has authored 9 books and has another 4 in the process currently. She has photographed animals on all seven continents and has won many competitions such as Wildlife Photographer of the Year, the National Wildlife Photo Contest, and Environmental Photographer of the Year. Her work as a photographer
4. Nick Brandt
Nick Brandt is an English photographer that is well known for his conservation efforts and pushing the boundaries when it comes to wildlife and nature images. His photographic themes many times relate back to the disappearing natural world, and how much of it is destroyed by mankind.
Brandt is very well known for his trilogy of conservation photo books centered around Africa. His projects include On This Earth, A Shadow Falls, and Across This Ravaged Land. These have won him multiple awards, as well as drawn much publicity and attention to the poaching problem happening today in Africa and efforts to help curb it.
5. Charlie Hamilton James
Another English photographer, Charlie Hamilton James started his career at the age of 16. He has since worked with the likes of National Geographic Magazine, BBC’s Springwatch/Autumnwatch Shows, and The Natural World.
James does the majority of his work in North America, East Africa, and the Amazon. When not working as a landscape photographer, he spends his time as an on-air television presenter, working on numerous programs. He has even been nominated for many awards, not only for his photography but for his television work as well. He currently resides in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and works primarily with his wife, Phillipa Forrester.
6. Ami Vitale
An American photographer and documentary filmmaker, Ami Vitale resides in Montana. She has traveled to over 100 countries during the course of her work and is a contracted photographer for National Geographic, who has published many of her images. Vitale is also a Nikon ambassador, giving credit to her abilities.
Throughout her years of work, she has lived in mud huts, traveled through war zones, contracted malaria, and even wore a panda suit to get the perfect shot. Instyle Magazine has named Ami one of fifty Badass Women, a series that highlights and celebrates women who speak up and get the job done.
7. Christian Ziegler
When it comes to natural history or science related subjects, there is no better photographer than Christian Ziegler. A regular contributor to National Geographic, Christian has been featured in a large number of publications for his work.
Ziegler has worked on four different continents and specializes in tropical forests. He has been awarded prizes in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year and the European Wildlife Photographer of the Year competitions and has been awarded the Vision Award by the North American Nature Photography Association. He currently resides in Panama in order to be close to his work.
8. Martin Bailey
Martin Bailey is a famous wildlife photographer that is based out of Tokyo. His work has been published by Popular Photography Magazine, X-Rite, Korean Air, Real Music and Light of Consciousness, and many others. Martin is also an avid podcaster and blogger, talking and writing about his photography adventures.
Martin is fueled by his passion for traveling and for nature and loves sharing his knowledge and vision with others. Because of this, he is always giving seminars and workshops to help other photographers achieve their goals.
9. Frans Lanting
Born in Rotterdam, Frans Lanting later immigrated to the United States after his studies. Now residing in Santa Cruz, California, he operates his own studio and gallery that showcases his work. He has won many prizes and awards for his work, all of which can be seen at his studio.
Lanting has worked all across the world, including the Amazon, Africa, and even Antarctica. Many of his images have been featured in National Geographic, where he has worked in the past. In August 2012 Lanting became an ambassador of the World Wide Fund for Nature in the Netherlands.
10. Neil Aldridge
An award winning conservationist and photographer, Neil Aldridge is also a lecturer at the Marine and Natural History at Falmouth University. He is a published author, wildlife guide, and even serves in many charities, including Animals Saving Animals and Poaching Prevention.
His photography has won awards all over the world and has been published in many different facets. As well as his photography, he is also heavily involved in documentary filmmaking, focusing on wildlife and conservation. Neil uses all of these talents to draw attention to conservation issues and to inspire change.
11. Marina Cano
Marina Cano is a Spanish photographer with over 25 years of experience. Over 16 years of this have been dedicated to wildlife and nature, gaining her many achievements and recognition in this field.
Marina has published four books and has had her pictures featured on the cover of National Geographic and other publications. In 2015 she was a finalist for the prestigious BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest, and in that same year, she was named European Canon Ambassador. Her unique style and techniques have gained her a sizable following and she continues to inspire many female photographers every year.
12. Paul Nicklen
Not only known for his excellent wildlife photography, but Paul Nicklen is also often referred to for his film making abilities and for being a marine biologist. He is also a regular contributor to National Geographic.
In 2014, Nicklen and fellow conservation photographer Cristina Mittermeier, co-founded SeaLegacy, an organization that uses visual storytelling and wildlife photography to help raise awareness of ocean conservation. Nicklen also owns a gallery in SoHo, New York City, where it serves as space for conservationist photographers to showcase their art.
Wildlife and nature photographers are some of the most dedicated and experienced photographers in the world. This is just a small list of some that come to mind is purely subjective, and every person’s top list will be different. Is your favorite photographer on our list? What other photographers do you think we should include?