Melissa Groo is a wildlife photographer, writer, and conservationist with a passion for educating people about the marvels of the natural world. She believes that photography can be both fine art and a powerful vehicle for storytelling, and considers herself a “wildlife biographer” as much as a wildlife photographer. It is her mission to raise awareness and change minds about not only the extrinsic beauty of animals, but also their intrinsic worth.

Melissa is a Sony Artisan of Imagery, and an Associate Fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers. She serves as a contributing editor to Audubon magazine, and as advisor to the National Audubon Society on photography content and on ethics in bird photography. She's a faculty member of the Summit Series of Photography Workshops

Melissa is a consultant on ethics in wildlife photography. Along with bird expert Kenn Kaufman, she created National Audubon Society's Guide to Ethical Bird Photography. She's advised numerous organizations, publications, and photo contests on ethical best practices in wildlife photography. She currently serves on the Ethics Committee for the International League of Conservation Photography, NANPA (the North American Nature Photography Association), and Environmental Photographer of the Year. From 2014-2018, she was the Chair of NANPA's Ethics Committee. She has written on the issue of ethics in wildlife photography for National Geographic (How to Photograph Wildlife Ethically), as well as a number of other publications. See her Statement on Ethics or view a collection of her writings on ethics here.

Melissa has served on the jury of numerous photo contests, including Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Audubon Photography Awards, Bird Photographer of the Year, Nature's Best, The Big Picture, and NANPA.

In 2020, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology released "Bird Photography with Melissa Groo," an online masterclass in beginning bird photography. It comprises almost 40 videos featuring Melissa's instruction. Melissa's association with the Lab goes back to when she worked in the Bioacoustics Research Department from 2000-2005 on elephant communication. She was a research assistant for scientist Katy Payne on The Elephant Listening Project, and spent field seasons in the rainforest of central Africa studying forest elephants in the wild, where she learned to listen deeply and watch closely.

Melissa's work has appeared on the covers of Audubon, Smithsonian, Natural History, Living Bird, and Outdoor Photographer magazines and in publications ranging from National Geographic to National Wildlife to Natural History. Her completed magazine assignments include stories for Audubon on American flamingos on Great Inagua in the Bahamas and the White Ibis in Florida, stories for Smithsonian magazine, including on endangered Rothschild's Giraffes in Uganda; Spirit Bears in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest; the spring migration of Sandhill Cranes in Nebraska; Snowy Owls at the nest in Utqiagvik, Alaska; Hudsonian Godwits in Chile; and Rosalie Edge/Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. In 2020, she traveled on assignment for National Geographic to the Channel Islands off California to do a story on the Island Fox

In 2023, Melissa received the "Jay N. Ding Darling Memorial Award for Wildlife Stewardship Through Art," from The Wildlife Society. Founded in 1937, The Wildlife Society is an international network of over 11,000 leaders in wildlife science, management and conservation who are dedicated to excellence in wildlife stewardship. Cited were Melissa's advocacy in promoting ethical techniques in wildlife photography and her work in conservation photography.

In 2017, she received the Katie O'Brien Lifetime Achievement Award by Audubon Connecticut, for demonstrating exceptional leadership and commitment to the conservation of birds, other wildlife, and their habitats. That year Melissa also received NANPA's Vision Award, given to a photographer every 2 years in recognition of early career excellence, vision and inspiration to others in nature photography, conservation, and education.

Melissa has received awards and honorable mentions in national and international photography competitions, including Audubon (2015 Grand Prize winner), Nature’s Best, and NANPA. Her fine art prints are in personal and corporate collections, and have been exhibited in numerous private galleries as well as a number of public venues, including the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

In 2017, the Melissa Groo Gallery was installed at Audubon Greenwich's Kiernan Hall in Greenwich, Connecticut. The gallery displays and sells her works on metal and paper, and is open every day. Please come for a visit if you're in the area!

Melissa regularly donates her work to organizations and causes she is passionate about, including the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Health Center, Owl Research Institute, Remembering Wildlife, Vital Impacts, Project Coyote, and Wyoming Untrapped. Melissa serves as an Ambassador for Project Coyote, and sits on the Advisory Council for Wyoming Untrapped and the Board of Directors for The Little Egg Foundation. She is also a brand ambassador for Tragopan Blinds, Dovetail Workwear, and Weatherwool, proudly endorsing and using their products. 

Melissa uses Sony equipment.


International League of Conservation Photographers
North American Nature Photography Association 
National Audubon Society
National Wildlife Federation
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
American Bird Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy 
All of Melissa’s photographs are taken in the wild, without any baiting. She tries her best to disrupt her subjects as little as possible. The welfare of the animal she is photographing is always her first priority.

Melissa is available for photography and/or writing assignments, Instagram takeovers, and licensing and sales of images. Private, one-on-one workshops can also be arranged. 

Melissa has extensive experience as a teacher, speaker, and writer, and a Master’s in Education from Stanford University. Contact her for speaking engagements and fees. 

Read about Melissa's journey into photography @

Read about Melissa's photography career and philosophy @