Wildlife images for Travel Stock

Wildlife – a vital part of life as we know it:

Indigenous wildlife is a core component of any country’s DNA, as critical to its character as its landscape, people, culture or architecture.  Eco-tourism continues to grow in popularity and many countries rely on it as a central pillar of their appeal to visitors.

The Market:

Wildlife photographers typically syndicate their images through the main Nature and Wildlife picture libraries.  But there is also a significant and complimentary market for wildlife images through niche travel libraries such as AWL Images.  We have a specialised travel-orientated client-base, but one with a strong appetite for iconic wildlife images.  Travel brochures, holiday company websites, travel magazines, airline magazines, calendar companies – many seek to source all their images from premium travel providers, with wildlife an important component within the wider offering.

What wildlife images sell best in a travel context?


  • Iconic species that are associated with a specific country or region, for example:
    • Orangutans in Borneo
    • Lemurs in Madagascar
    • Polar bears in the Arctic
    • Pandas in China
    • Gelada baboons or Simien Wolves in Ethiopia
  • Strong animal portraits
  • Interaction between animals particularly where that is dramatic
  • Classic behaviour of a species:
    • Humpback whales breaching
    • Leopard climbing trees
    • Wildebeest in migration

A herd of elephants with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background.

  • Images to a show species against a classic backdrop:
    • Elephant in Amboseli with Mt.Kilimanjaro behind
    • Tigers in the old ruins at Ranthambore
    • Emperor Penguins in Antarctica
  • Young of any species – cubs, foals, chicks
  • Mother & young, animal families
  • Massed numbers of animals or birds:
    • Flocks of flamingos along an African lake shore
    • Herds of caribou on the Alaskan tundra
    • Pod of narwhal swimming in a lead in the Arctic
  • Aerial views of wildlife & herds

kingfisher hunting a fish underwater

  • Interesting viewpoints that present the wildlife in a fresh or more intimate way:
    • Nest cameras
    • Robot cameras to shoot lions or elephant from ground level
  • Details of skin, markings, paws, feathers, eyes
  • Wildlife demonstrating “funny” behaviour or expressions
  • Species showing natural camouflage techniques


  • Eco-tourism:
    • images of people, appropriately dressed, wildlife viewing from a safe and respectful distance
    • Looking through binoculars
    • people interacting with wildlife – where appropriate

Cover images:

Wildlife shots are popular as covers of magazines and brochures – don’t forget to leave copyspace for the mast-head and ideally more copyspace at the side for article headlines

Images that don’t work as well in a travel context:

  • Animals photographed static and mid-distance
  • Dull flat light
  • Animals mating
  • Predators covered in blood – fabulously hypocritical given that most safari-goers long to see a kill, but editors are very shy
  • Species which however worthy, aren’t visually stimulating

Technical standards:

  • The world is awash with images – so to catch the eye of an image-weary picture buyer and command a sale images have to be instantly captivating and technically perfect
  • Pin-sharp at point of focus
  • Perfectly exposed
  • Creatively framed
  • No irrelevant distracting elements in image
  • Minimum 50 mB Tiff file, Adobe RGB, 8 bit, shot in RAW on professional standard camera

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