FAQ - Paul Nicklen
Greenland, Last Ice

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become a globe-trotting professional photographer?

You get out there and do it. All you need is a camera and work ethic…and time. Read lots, study the images of photographers you respect, learn how to treat animals and the wilderness with respect, and start shooting. A career shooting photos for publications like National Geographic doesn’t come easy. It takes years—and mostly likely decades—to be called upon by premiere magazines for assignments, or companies for commercial shoots. It’s not easy to get to the top, but the journey is the rewarding part anyway. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Put in the hard work, the dedication, and the long hours, and you will find success eventually.

Can I work as your assistant/intern?

As honoured as I am that many people reach out for this, I already have a trusted team of skilled employees, both for my needs on assignment, and to help with my non-profit SeaLegacy. We maintain a pretty large pile of resumes for unpaid internship positions, and occasionally hire based on someone having a very distinct skill set and being able to work ultra hard. If you’d still like to apply, please go here.

Have you come close to dying before?

Yes, in 2008 I wanted to be the first person to film breeding elephant seals under water. This was in South Georgia, Antarctica. The males weigh between 7000-10000 lbs and can be 20 feet long. I just swam up to one in the water, and it came over and spent the next five minutes trying to kill me. It was trying to crush me. I thought “So this is how it’s going to end.” I’ve always been kind of curious. I thought I was done. Luckily, my assistant was down the beach and he came running. He gained his attention and waved him off. I’ve also been attacked by walrus and chased by polar bears but, generally, any time there has been an incident it’s been my fault. For the most part, the animals I’ve photographed have been kind and peaceful when I’ve respected their space.

What kind of cameras do you use?

 I use a wide array of camera gear from different manufacturers, including Seacam and Nauticam for underwater shoots, and Red Digital Cinema and DJI for my filmmaking needs. But the brands of cameras I use mostly doesn’t matter. All brands, from Canon to Nikon to Hasselblad to Leica feature the tools you need to get the shot. It’s the individual photographer’s vision and talent that makes a great photo. Lenses are more important than camera bodies, as the purity and clarity of the glass used in each lens makes a massive difference. Otherwise, it’s just a shutter and a sensor opening and closing at a prescribed duration. I do require very durable equipment, as the situations I work in are extreme, and that’s not hyperbole.

What kind of scuba equipment do you use?

Once again, I use many brands and kinds of diving equipment, and they are dictated by each specific shoot. Waterpoof and Aqualung are two brands I use in general, but it all depends on where in the world I am diving and what is needed. I’ve used highly complex rebreathers and freediving gear, but mostly use standard scuba gear and a dry suit.

Can I purchase one of your prints?

My photos are available exclusively in limited edition fine art prints and for sale through my gallery in New York City. Each sale benefits ocean conservation through a donation of the proceeds to SeaLegacy. Please contact Paul Nicklen Gallery at (646) 891 0042 for a list of what prints are available and according prices.

I represent a brand or publication that would like to license one of your images. Who do I talk to?

Please contact Zoe Christensen at zoe@sealegacy.org for all fine art inquiries, and Michelle Genereux for image licensing options.

Can you come speak at an event?

For speaking engagements, I am represented through Worldwide Speakers Group. Please contact Nanette Hinkle at (703) 373.9806 or nhinkle@wwsg.com to book an event.

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