16 Famous Wildlife Photographers to Know in 2023

For those starting out in the world of wildlife photography, it’s good to know who to look up to for inspiration. One of the things that helped me in my career was by following famous wildlife photographers – it encouraged me (and still does) to strive to improve my images.

If you’ve been in this game for a while, then these names are probably familiar to you. But if you’re struggling for inspiration and looking to discover some really talented wildlife photographers, then this is definitely where you’re going to find them.

Success at this level usually means being a wildlife photographer full-time, with many working on exciting magazine assignments and exhibitions.

If you’re looking to achieve similar fame behind the camera, a good starting point can be obtaining awards in wildlife photography competitions. These platforms are often ideal for launching, or furthering, a career as a wildlife photographer.

Let’s take a look at some famous wildlife photographers at work today:

1. Nick Nichols



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Breeder Sriracha Tiger Zoo, Thailand 1997 Transparency film Making Room For Wild Tigers , National Geographic

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Nick Nichols is a National Geographic photographer and winner of Wildlife Photographer of the Year. His portfolio features a lot of work in black and white, with many images taken in Africa. He’s graced the pages of Time magazine, amongst many other international publications.

2. Nick Brandt


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. THE GATHERING from THIS EMPTY WORLD (Swipe for Slideshow Details) . Almost every photo in This Empty World is a combination of two moments in time, shot from the exact same camera position. The elephant was photographed first. I have no idea why she laid her head at the edge of the trench. But to me it looked like she was in her grave. The staging of the local people in the same frame afterwards made logical sense to me. Are the people mourning the elphant’s imminient death? Are they begging for forgiveness? I leave it to the viewer to interpret. . The series addresses the escalating destruction of the natural world at the hands of man, and shows a world in which, overwhelmed by runaway human development, there is no longer space for animals to survive. . Exhibitions : LONDON: Feb. 7 (@waddingtoncustot with @atlasgallery), NEW YORK: Feb 22 (@houkgallery), LOS ANGELES: March 1 (@faheykleingallery). . Limited edition prints available from @houkgallery @faheykleingallery @atlasgallery . See Exhibitions page at http://nickbrandt.com for more details. . Book : The photo is published in THIS EMPTY WORLD, published by @thamesandhudson. 15″x13″, 128 pages. Available for pre-order on Amazon, etc. . Please view full screen with zoom at http://nickbrandt.com. . #nickbrandt #nickbrandtphotography #thisemptyworld #elephant #artbook #environmentalphotography #conservationphotography #endangeredspecies #mediumformat

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Nick Brandt is known for breaking boundaries and exploring different mediums within photography to push a strong conservation message. The image shown above is a composite of two moments in time, taken at the same spot, to illustrate human-wildlife conflicts.

For aspiring conservation photographers, Brandt is definitely one to follow and draw inspiration from.

Website: www.nickbrandt.com

3. Neil Aldridge

Every year it seems that Neil Aldridge is doing bigger and bigger things for conservation photography. Having won the Environment category of the World Press Photo awards, Aldridge brought a striking image of a rhino to millions of people. Aldridge is another example of a great conservation photographer spreading an effective message through imagery.

Website: www.conservationphotojournalism.com

4. Cristina Mittermeier


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How do we change the world? By standing up when we see injustice; by adding our voices to important movements; by refusing to sit quietly while the might of industry drives us deeper into climate crisis. The construction of Pebble Mine would forever change the face and future of Bristol Bay, Alaska – and of all of the people and animals that live there. The story of Bristol Bay is one of perseverance in the face of incredible odds; it is a story about a movement to keep one of America’s last true wild places out of the hands of industry titans. I just signed a petition to stop Pebble Mine construction. Follow @SeaLegacy, @PaulNicklen and myself as we combine our voices to stand alongside our friends and allies already rallying to #SaveBristolBay. You can add your voice too by signing the petition at the link in my bio. Let’s show U.S. Congress what #TurningTheTide means! #NoPebbleMine #WeAreBristolBay . . . @wildsalmoncenter @unitedtribesofbristolbay @salmonstateak @alaskacenter @inletkeeper @defendbristolbay @friendsofmcneilriver @thewildfilm @wearebristolbay

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Cristina Mittermeier is an avid campaigner for environmental causes and the co-founder of SeaLegacy. As a National Geographic photographer, Mittermeier strives to spread important messages around the world.

Website: www.cristinamittermeier.com

5. Marina Cano

Marina Cano is a Spanish wildlife photographer with an incredible portfolio of images. She travels the world, often leading photography tours, with her camera and her feed is a delight to follow for inspiration.

Website: www.marinacano.com

6. Tin Man Lee

For me, Tin Man Lee is a “go-to” photographer when I need a dose of wildlife cuteness. He has a seemingly endless supply of gorgeous images; the kind that really make you go “aww.” It’s no surprise, then, that his images are becoming increasingly popular.

Website: www.tinmanlee.com

7. Frans Lanting


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Photo by @FransLanting Bonobo females are powerful figures. They rule over males in their social groups, but they are also strong physically. Look at the muscles in this female’s upper arms. They’re developed for a life in the trees, but bonobos also move bipedally on the ground. This female was foraging in shallow water in the Lola ya Bonobo sanctuary where she was brought in as a frightened orphan and nurtured into a healthy adult by an amazing group of dedicated Congolese bonobo conservationists @LolayaBonobo. Stay tuned for more bonobo discoveries as we head into the heart of the Congo Basin for a jungle expedition with @Ashley_Judd and @ChristineEckstrom. @natgeo @natgeocreative @thephotosociety @bonobodotorg #Bonobos #Bonobo #Apes #Matriarchy #Conservation

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A resident photographer for National Geographic, Frans Lanting was born in the Netherlands before moving to California, USA. Lanting was awarded the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018, and it is no surprise when looking through his portfolio.

Website: www.lanting.com

8. Joel Sartore


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Remember the story of King Midas and his ability to turn everything he touched to gold? Well, meet the golden-handed tamarin – the animal kingdom’s version of the famous Greek myth. While this monkey may not actually have the Midas touch, he certainly looks the part! Found in Brazil, Guyana, French Guiana, and Suriname this species lives in family groups ranging from two to nearly a dozen individuals. Their population numbers are stable, but the health of their rain forest habitat is not. With the rate of deforestation increasing, golden-tamarins have been forced to expand their range into new areas threatening the survival of other tamarin species that must now compete for once plentiful resources. Reducing your paper consumption is a great step towards protecting this species’ home. Not sure how to start? Try switching to electronic billing, which saves both paper and carbon. Photo taken @officialdwazoo. #tamarin #midas #gold #golden #monkey #rainforest #photoark #savetogether

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Joel Sartore is another great inspiration for thinking outside of the box. His Photo Ark project is part of National Geographic and hopes to conserve endangered species through images. In reality, it is a way of raising awareness for all of Earth’s threatened species through this powerful archive of studio shot images. Photo Ark is a 25-year project with an enormous, but important, goal. At the time of writing, he has captured images of 9,825 different species for the project.

Website: www.joelsartore.com

9. Charlie Hamilton James


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FLASH SALE!!!!! For the first time we’re selling this print of Kaiau and his monkey. This offer of a signed 8×10 inch open edition print for $100 only lasts for a week. Click on the link in my profile to buy a print. The image was the front cover of the October issue of National Geographic Magazine and was part of a feature about tribes in the Amazon. We’ll be donating 25% of sale profits to @rainforestflow – a wonderful NGO who put fresh water and sanitation into remote indigenous communities in the Amazon. Larger limited edition prints are also available and we’ll be donating 50% of profits of the first sale of either Yoina or Kaiau to @rainforestflow

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Having started out by photographing kingfishers at his home in the UK, Charlie Hamilton James is now a resident National Geographic photographer who has spent his life capturing iconic images for the publication. He has photographed everything from first-contact tribes of the Amazon Rainforest, to the millions of rats running through the streets of sprawling cities around the world.

Website: www.charliehamiltonjames.com

10. Paul Nicklen


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A post shared by Paul Nicklen (@paulnicklen)

Known for his underwater work in the Arctic regions, Paul Nicklen is a contributing photographer to National Geographic. Nicklen is a Canadian photographer, and often can be found giving prominent TED Talks and speaking on the National Geographic speaker circuit.

Website: www.paulnicklen.com

11. Tim Laman


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A post shared by Tim Laman (@timlaman)

National Geographic photographer Tim Laman is known for his work with birds of paradise. Following the many varieties of these birds has taken him into pristine rainforests, and also into the canopy. Working at height, he installs specialist cameras for remote photography, as well as photographing and filming from a tree hide.

Website: www.timlamanfineart.com

12. Margot Raggett


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A post shared by Wildlife By Margot Raggett (@margotraggettphotography)

Margot is known for her charitable, and highly successful, Remembering Wildlife series of books. These books are a collaboration between photographers, documenting one species at a time, and have raised $100,000s for wildlife conservation charities.

Website: www.margotraggettphotography.com

13. Suzi Eszterhas


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A post shared by Suzi Eszterhas (@suzieszterhas)

Suzi is a multi award-winning conservation photographer and the founder of project Girls Who Click, which encourages young women to excel in the photography field.

Website: www.suzieszterhas.com

14. Brian Skerry


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Brian is a National Geographic photographer, underwater cameraman, and EMMY-winning film producer.

Website: www.brianskerry.com

15. Majed Al Za’abi


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A post shared by Majed Alzaabi ماجد الزعابي (@majedphotos)

Majed is a Kuwaiti wildlife photographer with almost 300,000 followers on Instagram at the time of writing. He has received multiple international awards, and produces content primarily in the Arabic-speaking world.

Website: www.majedphotos.com

16. Who are your favourite famous wildlife photographers?

Let us know in the comments who your favourite inspirational photographers are!

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