There is no doubt that the importance of photography is profound. From preserving cherished memories to narrating vivid stories, photography is a language that knows no boundaries when it comes to communicating meaning for people. Whether your photography is deeply personal or universally embraced, there always lies a kernel of importance, no matter how big or small. So, why not take your passion for photography and channel it towards making a positive impact? Not only can you use your photography to inspire and give back, but it can also open doors to some incredible travel experiences and unforgettable memories.
If you’re passionate about wildlife photography, then you should consider becoming a wildlife photography volunteer. Why become a wildlife photography volunteer? Your photography has the potential to make an impact, so why not combine it with the thrill of wildlife photography, which allows you to capture some of the planet’s greatest living creatures in their natural habitat. Not only does being a wildlife photography volunteer entail witnessing incredible wildlife, but you’ll learn how your lens can become an instrument for conservation. You’ll delve deep into the world of conservation and understand the importance of these initiatives, while being surrounded by wildlife. Through volunteering, you’ll be able to diversify your skillset as a wildlife photographer, but the ultimate reward is that you’ll emerge with a priceless skill- harnessing your photography to create change, one click at a time.
Why You Should Consider Wildlife Photography Volunteer Projects
If you’re interested in using your passion for photography to make a positive impact, then here are some more reasons to become a wildlife photography volunteer.
1. Broaden Your Portfolio as a Photographer
Being a wildlife photography volunteer means that you can build upon your portfolio as a photographer. Alongside improving your photography skills, you’ll likely be given opportunities to work on volunteer projects that require you to think outside of the box as a photographer and be creative. Also, it would be remiss of us not to mention the highlight of these volunteer opportunities, encountering incredible wildlife. From big cats to majestic elephants, as a volunteer, you have the chance to immerse yourself in the wilderness and work amongst them. You can, then, add wildlife conservation photography to your portfolio, which can potentially open more doors for your future career as a photographer.
2. Contribute to Conservation Initiatives
A good reason to be a wildlife photography volunteer is that you can contribute to organizations dedicated to wildlife conservation. As we said before, photography has a profound influence because it’s a universal language understood by all. For this reason, wildlife conservation photography is valuable to these organizations because they can use photographs to engage their audience and expand their reach. Above all, you’ll know that your photography will be used for a good cause.
3. Develop a Network
One of the best aspects of being a photography volunteer abroad is meeting others who have the same passion as you! All adventures are better when you’re with a group with whom you can connect and grow. As a wildlife photography volunteer, you can expand your network both within photography and conservation, which is a great way to gain knowledge and make lifelong friendships.
4. Travel Abroad
Photography volunteer opportunities are a great way to travel abroad and immerse yourself in a new culture. Of course, for wildlife photography, Africa is extraordinary for its rich wildlife and diverse landscapes. From the depths of the Greater Kruger in South Africa to the archipelagos of Mozambique, there are a plethora of photography volunteer opportunities abroad for you to choose from. A wildlife photography volunteer in Africa has a unique and unforgettable experience because they are always surrounded by wildlife.
5. Increase Your Mental Health
Studies have shown that volunteering boosts your overall well-being. Volunteering can increase your satisfaction in life, by providing a purpose for you, as well as reduce stress and anxiety. Also, taking a break from your current life to be among nature is great for your health, as nature can bring calmness and a sense of peace.
6. Gain Practical Knowledge about Conservation
Another reason to become a wildlife photography volunteer is that, on top of contributing your photography to an important cause, you’ll also learn practical knowledge and skills for conserving wildlife. Outside of photography, you’ll be sent out onto the field to aid with research, as well as other hands-on work that can directly promote the preservation of wildlife.
7. Experience a New Culture
Traveling abroad not only means meeting other volunteers, but you’ll also be able to meet local people who can introduce you to their culture and help you experience a destination in a genuine way. Photography volunteer opportunities abroad present a way for you to immerse yourself in a foreign culture teeming with rewarding experiences and a unique community.
8. Disconnect Yourself
Similar to how being a wildlife photography volunteer can connect you closer to nature, it can also be a means to disconnect yourself from the online world. It’s easy to get lost in the rabbit hole of social media, which is an easy, and very captivating, distraction from reality. Stepping into the natural world, surrounded by bright trees and golden sunsets, can help you regain your balance and become fully present in the real world.
9. Give Back
Why become a wildlife photography volunteer? You can give back to a community with your volunteer efforts! Spending time giving back is crucial for conservation organizations to further their mission to preserve wildlife. Additionally, you’ll better understand the importance of conservation, and you’ll learn to become more resilient and empathetic throughout your experience. It’s important to know that giving back positively affects the community and yourself.
6 Tips for Choosing a Wildlife Photography Volunteer Project
- Research the various destinations, as they vary greatly and offer different types of environments and varying wildlife photography opportunities
- Consider whether your photography skills matches the project
- Look at what the price includes and make sure you’re getting good value for money
- Make sure the project prioritizes your safety, with on-site support
- Ensure the project has a clear and ethical mission
- See if there are professional photographers to help you improve your skills
Top Wildlife Photography Volunteer Opportunities Abroad to Consider
If you’re ready to start searching for wildlife photography volunteer opportunities abroad, here are some of our best programs that you don’t want to miss!
Embark on an adventure to the Greater Kruger in South Africa with our volunteer project, where you have the opportunity to capture shots of South Africa’s greatest wildlife, including the Big 5! Completely immersed in nature, you can develop your wildlife photography portfolio and enjoy guidance from a professional photographer along the journey. As a volunteer, your photography will be used to support conservation NGOs, and you’ll spend time helping with hands-on conservation work out in the field.
- Donate your images to a charity database
- Help raise awareness about the importance of conservation
- Stay in a lodge, where you can view wildlife from your doorstep
- Open to all levels, with a photography workshop to get you started
Join this volunteer project in Zimbabwe, where you will work in Zambezi National Park and at a local wildlife sanctuary. Documenting sanctuary conservation work will help organizations raise community awareness. On top of all of this, you’ll have opportunities to enhance your wildlife photography during frequent game drives, and hone your skills with the guidance of a professional wildlife photographer.
- Work on conservation projects with professional photographers
- Witness wildlife and photograph them up-close
- Stay in a traditional safari tent in a wildlife sanctuary
- Victoria Falls, the adventure capital of Zimbabwe, is a moment’s drive away!
If you’re looking for a unique volunteer project, then look no further. Our Zimbabwe Wildlife Photography Workshop blends wildlife photography with conservation storytelling, where you will tell the story of a small game reserve that’s home to a number of innovative conservation initiatives. You’ll be spending your time at the conservancy, and will have ample opportunities to get intimate with wildlife. Additionally, you’ll learn the importance of the conservancy’s work in protecting the endangered black rhino, and you will be documenting and depicting their unique story as a wildlife photography volunteer.
- Learn the ethical methods of photographing wildlife on foot
- Receive personal tutoring from a professional photographer and zoologist
- Live and work in a conservancy, home to many rescued and protected animals, including cheetahs, elephants, and rhinos.
Get More Advice on Wildlife Photography Volunteering
Are you ready to start your exciting journey as a wildlife photography volunteer? Are you still curious about our photography volunteer programs? If you’re interested in using your photography as a way to inspire and contribute to an important cause, or if you have any further questions, then contact us here. We believe in doing good with photography, and we’re eager to hear from you.
This blog is written by Nicole Kim