Although a very popular activity, tiger photography is done most by holiday makers using amateur camera and lenses. When the question of photography arises for professionals the tables change. 

The big cat is found in over fifty tiger reserves in the country spread across many states but not all. Being Protected Areas of top order and primary conservation unit the infrastructure for tourism is also good in most of the reserves. Few that lack facilities and amenities are powered by state tourism departments hence accommodation, food and accessibility is no problem at all. 

This subject is not for newbie just into the art of capturing images of wild animals. Photography on jeep safari is all right when it is shoot what comes in sight but serious efforts require lot of hard work and professional efforts. This endeavor may require special permission when the lens men plan to cross the limitation set by the jeep safari. Night time photography, on foot venture and crossing over the zones is definitely not on and if you wish to do this than better seek permission from the PCCF the chief warden of the State concerned. Permission may be required from the ministry as well (MOEF). 

Hence for extensive expeditions as mentioned above one should go through a tour operator familiar with such liaisons. This can be a time consuming affair and accreditations may be required. 

Alternative for such extensive efforts is the full day safari organized by many reserves. This fulfills the needs of the lens men.  In this safari one can enter half an hour earlier than set time and exit half an hour late when it is nearly dark. This span of time is enough to maximize opportunity to come across the big cats. There is no zone restriction hence you can quickly check hotspots as the guide informs you. 

For capturing nocturnal images you can book tour for night safari in the reserve. These are organized in the buffer or outer ring and do offer an opportunity to come across the big cats. Although sightings are scare but the added advantage is coming across nocturnal mammal to photograph if that adds to your portfolio.               

You do not need long lenses for this endeavor a medium sized one is more than sufficient since the big cats are encountered quite close often. What you need is quality equipment, a monopod and a sand bag besides good pair of binoculars. Winter clothing is must until unless you plan the expedition in hot summers. 

A team comprising of a good driver, forest guide and a naturalist is ideal for trekking tigers in the natural habitats. Experience counts and many have it. Consult the tour organizer regarding the choice of the best reserve. Another option is to consult the hotel you are booked in they will be better able to guide you being local. They will know which routes are productive and will also book your expeditions in the core area of the park.   

Please do not plan a tiger photo tour in India yourself. Take assistance from experts. Lot of planning is required…and the safaris have to be booked much in advance.  An extended stay is a must for this endeavor besides you can travel to other reserves to expand your horizon. India is an interesting country and if the visit is planned well you will love being there.      


Uday Works as Freelance Naturalist and Blogs on conservation, tigers, environmental issues.

He also provides SEO and Website Contents in English. He teaches Digital Marketing in Jabalpur in Summers.

He can be contacted at:

 Mob: 09755089323


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