Nobody really enjoys returning home from a holiday, but one thing that will put a smile back on your face is flicking through all the incredible photos you took. This is especially the case after an African safari, when you’ll be able to bask in the memories of all the incredible wildlife you encountered and the breathtaking scenery you saw.
To help make sure you come home with the best photographs possible, our African experts have offered their top tips on taking photographs when on safari.
Of course, the first thing we recommend taking with you on safari is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera. You don’t have to spend big on the newest, most expensive camera available, any good modern camera will be capable of capturing some excellent quality pictures if your techniques and placement is correct.
We recommend experimenting with the lenses you take, interchangeable lenses mean you can optimise your safari photography depending on the subject matter. A lens in the range of 200-400m is perfect for general wildlife photography, whereas shots of landscapes or animals in their natural environment are recommended with a wide-angle lens in the range of 24-100m. You might be surprised by how many picture-perfect moments await, so remember to always have your charger, a spare battery and extra memory cards available. Your equipment may also get very dusty, so zip-lock bags will come in handy.
Composition: You should take ‘the rule of thirds’ into consideration when preparing to take your photographs. If you imagine your shot to be divided into thirds and place your subject/s accordingly, the eye will naturally be drawn to them.
Your positioning: We think it’s important to focus on the eyes of our subject, so getting on the same level as the animals and staying low to really capture their eyes is a must.
Shutter speed: It can be tough to keep up with the fast-moving environment of the bush, so a high shutter speed is important for freezing the movement of an animal whilst preventing your image from being blurry. We would recommend 1/1000 of a second or higher.
As is the case with any photograph, lighting can make or break the quality of the image, so it’s almost just as crucial when you use your camera as how you use it. The early morning and late afternoons offer the most beautiful lighting with the sun low in the sky, whereas overcast weather in the day offers workable light conditions to photograph. The midday sun casts dark shadows, so won’t be as flattering on your subject, although you may still be able to take some good photos when animals visit the waterholes to drink during the heat of the day.
As you would expect, the wildlife you might encounter on safari won’t approach you and pose on command, so a lot of patience is required. Safari photographers can spend hours waiting hours for their best shots, or even for many animals to appear, but it will more often than not be worth it in the end.
Instead of constantly driving between places looking for the perfect shot, stay in one place and spend time watching the animals, you’ll become familiar with their behaviour and relationships with each other, and will be ready to leap into action and take your picture at the perfect opportunity.
After your African safari, the photographs you come home with will hopefully last forever, but one thing we can guarantee will last forever is the memories you make. For that reason, our last important tip is to make sure you don’t let photography dominate your safari experience, and find time to put the camera down, and take in the views, the smells and the sounds of an African safari with your own senses.
Interested in embarking on an unforgettable safari adventure? Get in touch with us by calling 020 7843 3500 or email us at email@example.com
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