I think every traveler and photographer will agree with me when I say photographing safari is not an easy thing to do.
With so many camera options, techniques, recommendations, and pieces of advice, the perfect moment can easily disappear and you find yourself lost among all those options.
Most people think that you need expensive gear for making amazing safari photos, but actually, that is not true.
Whether you are a beginner or someone who is looking to improve your photos, keep on reading for the best safari photography tips that will help you capture a moment for a lifetime.
Best Safari Photography Tips
Invest in Good Photography Equipment
As I said, you don’t need fancy expensive gear in order to have beautiful photos from your safari, but I would surely recommend you to invest in a quality camera and convenient lenses.
Some say that the best mirrorless cameras for travel will give the best results, but it is your choice anyway.
For me, the lenses that work best for wildlife photography are the ones in the range of 200-400mm.
If you wish to take macro capture of insects for example, or you want to capture landscapes and natural environment of animals, I would recommend you to bring wide-angle lenses in the range 24-100mm.
In this case, you can optimize your safari photography depending on the subject you want to capture.
But there’s a catch.
The bigger the zoom lens you have, the more likely it is that you will get a blurry photo.
That’s why I’d like to point out how important it is to have strong support so your camera can be as still as possible. Numerous types of tripods and beanbags are great options to bring with you, even if your camera has optical stabilization.
Simple as that.
As safaris are dusty areas, try to avoid changing lenses too often because if dust gets into the sensor, you will have spots on your photos, and that is something we all want to avoid.
If you are a real adventure seeker, you should look in to ways to make great travel photos with a GoPro as well.
Don’t Forget to Bring Extra Stuff
Don’t skip this step because it’s super important when it comes to tips for safari photography.
So, you have your camera, perfect lenses and steady support. Are you ready to go and shoot all those beautiful safari moments ready to be discovered? Not really.
If you wonder why then keep reading because these are also serious photography tips for an African safari.
The first rule is always to bring additional memory cards, a spare battery, and a charger.
You don’t want to be in a situation of having to delete photos just to free up space on your memory card or allow your camera to shut down because the battery is running low, right?
I personally like to bring three extra cards and one extra battery, just in case. I don’t have to use them all, but I find it easier to come back with the unused card than with regrets of not having enough space on my camera.
Now: a tripod.
I’ve already pointed out the benefits one of the best tripods for travel, but did you know that having a tripod is unavoidable if you want to capture amazing night photos during your safari trip?
If you are going to spend a night or two in one of those gorgeous private safari lodges, you are also going to have a mesmerizing view of the night sky. Long exposures are much easier to make if you have stable support for your camera, aka tripod.
That leads us to the third most important extra stuff called backing up.
Having a portable external hard disc is very useful if you want to make sure your photos are in a safe place. It also frees up space on your laptop (and camera) which means more room for new photos. Cheers to that!
Those are the most important extra stuff I like to bring for every photo trip. Surely can’t make art without them.
Act Small, Think Big
When you find yourself in the natural habitat of wild creatures, be on your guard and don’t disturb animals.
You know what they say – when in Rome do as the Romans do. In other words, you may have to stay low and wait for the perfect photo opportunity.
Why does this matter?
Not bad, right? In any case, you can always delete photos that didn’t turn out well. Patience is another key here. Instead of running from one animal to another, pick the one you want to photograph and be patient.
You will capture way more beautiful photos and practice living in the moment at the same time.
However, that’s not all.
If you get on the same level as the animal you’re trying to photograph, your photo will automatically look better. You can also think outside the box and play with angles and perspective.
I like to think of myself as a storyteller so I always try to take different photos of each subject I’m photographing.
If you ask yourself about a well-known ‘The rule of thirds’, here’s the deal.
Sometimes, breaking the rules results in having much better photos!
The rules of thirds will definitely help you make your photos look more aesthetically beautiful, but don’t be afraid to look beyond that. An eye for composition is very important but the beauty comes from the eye of the beholder.
Learn a Few Tips ‘n’ Tricks
Some of the best safari photography tips I have received are the ones below.
Focus on the Eyes.
Focusing the eyes makes the animal stand out from its background or distracting vegetation while making the photo look more interesting.
Sometimes you will have to try different focal lengths when focusing on the eyes of an animal with trunks, long necks, and other unusual features.
Play with the Light.
I like to think of light as my ally, so I always try to make the most of it.
Remember the early mornings and late afternoons are ideal for taking gorgeous photos, while midday sun can be too strong and unflattering.
However, here you can also have room for playing with the light, so don’t be afraid to try different angles and find the one that suits you the best.
And keep in mind that changing to setting will have great impact on safari photography results.
Practice Makes Perfection
You can’t learn how to take amazing photos if you don’t try and fail. It’s the circle of life. As difficult as it can be or as many bad photos I take, at the end of the day, I like to see the improvement in my way of thinking and the techniques I have learned.
All those are not just tips for safari photography but also can be used for other types of photography work. The most important thing is to remember that it doesn’t matter what kind of equipment you have, but whether you have passion and goodwill.
Take your time and soon you will find out that there are many more little secrets to taking great photos in a safari.
So, be bold. Take lots of photos. Practice. Create memories.
And don’t forget to let us know if these tips were helpful or if you have anything to add to the list.
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