East Africa is home to endless national parks and natural wonders that provide tourists with one of a kind safari experiences. If you’re heading towards either Kenya or Tanzania, it’s a great idea to take a professional camera with you, although no camera can do justice to the beautiful sceneries you’ll witness! So we do recommend you take some time to take it all in without being behind the lens too much.
However, If insist on taking home a few memories or you’re more of the digital type and active on social media you don’t you want your Instagram followers to be let in the dark. Either way you should know the importance of taking high quality photos to keep family and friends up-to-date and a little bit jealous with your safari trip.
If you want to capture the best safari photos, then follow the tips below to get the perfect “self-ari” photos!
The Safari Photography Equipment You Need
A huge part of your photo quality depends on the type of safari photography equipment you have. Here are a few things you’ll need to capture the “best self-ari photos”:
- Two DSLRs of any company like Nikon, Sony, Canon or Pantex. You can go for other companies as well if you’ve heard good reviews about them! However, make sure you’ve already been using the camera you plan on taking. Don’t take a new camera because you’ll need a lot of time to adjust to the settings and the buttons. You don’t want to miss a perfect shot because you forgot how to switch back to camera mode!
- Lens: Take at least a 300mm-400mm lens. You need a long lens to capture wildlife. You won’t be able to get up close with lions and other wildlife, so the long lens will help you capture better photos of them and make you appear closer to them!
For portraits, take a 24-100mm lens. For panorama views and landscape photography, you need a shorter and wider lens. 10-20 mm lens will work for landscape and panorama photos!
While you’re in the field, make sure you have two cameras at hand. Attach the longer lens to one camera and the shorter one to the other. This will help you save time when switching from animals to landscape photos. After all, you don’t want to waste time on your safari changing lenses. Moreover, changing lenses on the safari will also get a lot of dust on your sensor. You don’t want to miss a wonderful shot because you were too busy cleaning your camera’s sensors!
Camera Lenses, Image Source: The-digital-picture.Com
- Camera holder: While a tripod may seem like the obvious choice, it may not always be practical or even possible to carry your tripod around all the time, especially on the vehicles. It’s a good idea to take a tripod for beach photos but for the safari photos, take another alternative like a bean bag or a window mount. Bean bags can be heavy so it’s better to bring an empty bean bag and then get rice from the local market to fill it up.
- Storage: Always take more storage than you think you’ll need! Take backup memory cards and photo storage devices in which you can transfer the photos without a laptop.
- Batteries and adapters: Always take an extra battery or two with you. Other than that, take one adapter, a power strip that lets you charge multiple items at once and an inverter in case your safari truck has an output socket so you can charge on game drives!
- Selfie stick for smartphone photos
Tips on Setting Your Aperture and Composition
Here are a few safari photography tips for setting your aperture and composition:
- For landscape photography, choose any setting higher than f/8.0 for the aperture. This will give you great depth.
Landscape Photography, Image Source: Shuttertalk.Com
- When taking wildlife shots, choose an aperture of below f/5. This will increase the shutter speed and eliminate errors because of movements! If your camera doesn’t have the f-stop settings, then just put it in portrait mode for wildlife photography! This also helps blur all the distracting items in the background and helps you focus more on the wildlife.
Wildlife Photography, Image Source: Digital-photography-school.Com
However, at the end of the day, you’re free to explore whatever settings you like to get the best shots!
For composition, consider the “Rule of Thirds” that lets you capture the whole scene and gives more meaning to the photos!
How to Handle Lighting on Your Safari Photography
- Avail as much of the natural sunlight as you can. Make use of golden hours. The best time to take pictures is shortly after sunrise and in the late afternoon. The midday sun can be a little too overwhelming for your photos, but try different angles and see what works best for you! Don’t be lazy and wake up early to catch the sunrise!
- Avoid using flash directly in front of animals at night. This can scare and disturb the animals. It’s best to avoid using flash when animals are around until necessary. Instead, ask your guide to direct their flashlight so that you can take pictures of the animals! Remember, photography is important, but not more important than respecting nature and the animals around you.
Safari Photography Tips:
The safari photography tips listed below will help you capture amazing safari photos!
- Whenever you’re stopping to get a photo from inside your car, don’t forget to turn off your car to reduce vibrations and excessive noise!
- Your safari guides stay connected. When one guide spots an interesting sight, they’ll inform your guide too! Talk to other tourists in the area and get to know about their experiences. Ask them what animals they spotted and where.
- Instead of following the animals around (and taking photos of their bums), try to get ahead of them by predicting their next moves. This way, you can take photos from the front as well!
Wildlife Photography, Image Source: Npr.Org
- Be patient! Don’t move on from animal to animal too quickly. Observe the animals and their behavior for a while, then capture them while they’re doing something cute, funny or intense!
- Don’t endanger your life! Wild animals are wild animals. Don’t get too close and don’t disturb them!
- It’s a good idea to focus on the eyes of the animals. Even if the rest of the body is blurry but you’ve focused on the eyes, the picture will eventually turn out to be great.
Black faced vervet monkey, Image Source: Commons.wikimedia.Org
- Make sure you have a local guide with you. They know best where to find animals and where the most scenic spots are!
- Take photos of the locals after obtaining their permission. It’s important to take permission because of religious and cultural barriers. Not everyone will be happy with you taking their picture, so be prepared for it and don’t take it personally.
Smartphone Photography Tips for Safaris
- Always keep a cleaning cloth with you for the lens!
- Use portrait mode for capturing wildlife and “landscape” mode for the landscapes!
- Activate the grid – this helps you properly compose the picture
- Focus on the small details – don’t just capture the big 5, focus on birds and other small animals too!
So, what are you waiting for? Go on an East African Safari and get the best shots to impress your Instagram followers!