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/or filmmakers and have demonstrated that they would benefit significantly from access to iLCP Fellows, Affiliates, and the broader iLCP network in order to advance their 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.
  • 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 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) of highlight reel 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 or filmmaker.
  • 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.



  • Regarding letters of recommendation, you must have a personal relationship with a Fellow or Affiliate in order to request a letter of recommendation.
  • 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.
  • We highly recommend that you have a photography or film professional review your “best of” portfolio before you submit it.
  • 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!