When going on safari, many people want to bring back not only memories but photos of their experiences so they can share them with others and look back on them in years to come.

A safari to Africa offers some amazing photo opportunities.Β  Below are a few tips to help even the beginner photographer bring back photos you will want to show off.

Equipment

A handheld camera with the ability to zoom or an SLR where you can change lenses is the best way to go. At a pinch, your mobile phone camera can be used but bear in mind the ability to zoom and focus won’t be the best.Β  A bean-bag can be helpful on the vehicle to keep your camera steady, and to remove camera shake.

Ensure you have…

  • Spare batteries
  • Make sure everything is fully charged.Β  When on safari, a good habit to get into each day is charging up your spare batteries and equipment
  • Extra memory cards
  • Cleaning equipment for your camera – fingerprints on the lens and dust from driving are a common occurrence
  • A camera bag or similar to carry your camera and gear in.Β  Also, a dry bag can be handy if having to walk with your camera, and keep the dust off.

Get to know your gear

Ensure you practice with your camera equipment before heading away.Β  Perhaps take photos of the family pet or birds in your local park.

Camera settings

  • Animals can move pretty fast at times so the “Burst” option on your camera can be a good thing to get familiar with
  • Shutter speed priority can also help when trying to photograph fast-moving animals.Β  If you are not familiar with manual settings on your camera, then leaving on P (Program Mode) usually is often the best option.
  • Learn to adjust and move your focus point.
  • Check to see if your camera has a silent option, so you do not disturb the animals and your fellow travellers when taking photos and reviewing photos.

Taking Photos

There are a few factors to take into consideration to get the perfect shot.

Subject

  • When on safari your photography does not necessarily have to be just of the wildlife.Β  The scenery, grasses and landscape, in general, can be just as spectacular
  • If taking photos of wildlife take close-ups and wide-angle shots.Β  Getting in the environment, can give a sense of scale, relationships between wildlife and frame your photos well
  • Look up, Look down, Look behind you, Look left and right!Β  Not all great photo opportunities are at eye level – birds in flight and plants and insects can also be excellent subject matter for photos.

Be Patient

  • Try not to just a take a few photos and then move on.Β  Spend some time watching the wildlife or scenery you never know what you might catch a glimpse of.Β  We all know that luck and patience are usually required to spot the more spectacular or sought-after animals.

Layout

  • Try taking the photo from different angles to give a different perspective
  • A tip that can help when taking photos of wildlife is to focus on the eye of the animal this can help make the image more engaging

Lighting

  • It is all about the light
  • Sunrise generally provides the best light and in some instances the best chance to catch a glimpse of some of the animals before they seek shade from the heat during the day.
  • Sunset is also a great time to find them coming out from their shaded spots – this time about 2 hours before the sun goes down is also referred to as the “Golden Hour.”

The most important tip
As amazing as it is to take digital copy of your memories home with you, make sure you look out from behind your camera and take in your surroundings.Β  Once you are home, you cannot fully relive the experience if you do not have your own memories of the sights, sounds and smells.