About the Emerging League Program

The iLCP Emerging League Photographer (ELP) Program is designed to support early career photographers or filmmakers who display inherent natural talent and significant promise in conservation photography. ELPs are still establishing themselves as professional photographers and have demonstrated that they would benefit significantly from access to iLCP Fellows, Affiliates, and the broader iLCP network in order to advance their photographic careers and conservation outcomes. The key program features are:

  • Three candidates are accepted each year for this three year mentorship program.
  • iLCP will, to the best of its ability, offer the following opportunities:
    • Assign one iLCP Fellow as a personal mentor. Mentorship may be virtual or in-person.
    • Offer the opportunity for annual portfolio reviews with qualified Affiliates or other Fellows other than the mentor. Reviews may be virtual or in person.
    • Promote ELPs for assistant assignment opportunities with the Fellows.
    • Invite ELPs to attend the iLCP Fellows meetings and events, such as WiLDSPEAK, to network and expand their professional community.
    • Include ELPs as assistants in its Conservation Photography Expeditions.
  • During the third year of the program, ELPs may apply for Associate Fellow standing. Participation in the Emerging League Program is not a guarantee of acceptance to the Fellowship.


The application for the Emerging League Program is highly selective and competitive. Key applicants elements include:

  • Letter of support from at least one current Fellow, or at least two letters of support by any two Associate Fellows and/or Affiliates of iLCP (in any combination) who are aware and supportive of the candidate’s work.
  • Portfolio of “Best of” Images (up to 30 images.)
  • One Conservation Photography Essay (up to 12 images) accompanied by a written introduction that details the conservation issue.
  • Essays on the candidate’s career and conservation goals.
  • Minimum age of 22 at the time of application and at least two years of experience as a professional photographer.
  • Promise to adhere to the iLCP’s Ethical Standards & Principles
  • $125 application fee, or $50 for applicants originating from and living in countries listed among the 60 poorest by the IMF. Fee is due at the time of submission.  If accepted,  ELPs are responsible for $125 in annual dues, ($75 for those originating from and living in countries listed among the 60 poorest by the IMF) which are payable by May 31 of each year.


The 2019 Emerging League Application Cycle is now CLOSED. Please check back early 2020 for information on the next cycle.



  • Give a short summary of who you are, what you do, and why you are applying to iLCP (500 words max)What is your photography education/training/workshop background? (100 words max)
  • iLCP’s definition of a conservation project is one that includes engagement, active participation/collaboration, and follow-up with conservation organizations, scientists, and/or foundations. Please list and briefly describe up to 3 recent conservation photography projects (250 words max).
  • For one of these projects, provide further details about how your photographs were or will be applied and why they are important to the project. (500 words max)
  • List and describe up to 10 examples of any publications of your photography in magazines, books, etc
  • List any awards or recognition you have received for your photography.
  • List any exhibits. Include venue, location, dates, and exhibit subject.


  • If you do not know any Fellows or Affiliates to approach for a Letter of Recommendation, please read Meeting the Fellows and Affiliates of iLCP.
  • Get the person(s) who is writing your letter of support, or other photography professionals, to review your “Best of” portfolio.
  • Your portfolio should not look like a compilation of traditional nature stock images.  Rather, you should present a body of images that reflect a personal and unique style and a strong variety of natural history topics, people, and culture.
  • While the written narrative that accompanies a conservation photo essay should help explain context and background, the photo essay should stand on its own.  A successful conservation photography essay will clearly reveal the conservation threats and opportunities at hand, telling a complete and compelling story through a cohesive and unified body of images. A good test is to see if someone who is not familiar with your work can look at the photo essay without the narrative and identify the key conservation issue you are addressing, the problems, and the solution.
  • Even at the Emerging League level, we expect to see serious involvement with at least one conservation group, if not more.  Simply donating images to organizations will not qualify you for acceptance.
  • Pay close attention to the Expectation Tiers.  Be honest in your self-assessment of where you fit.
  • And of course – please make sure you meet all the qualifications listed above….. even if it means you need to wait a year or two before applying!