10 Hacks For Taking Amazing Photos While On An African Safari

Going on a safari is an incredible experience, and one of the best ways to remember everything you saw is to take pictures.

But safari photography is different than snapping a picture with your smartphone. We’ve put together these ten tips to help you take the best pictures during your safari.

So let’s get started!

1. Bring the Right Gear and Learn How to Use It

Bring the Right Gear and Learn How to Use It

The camera you use can make a big difference in the quality of the pictures you take. Because of this, you shouldn’t just rely on your phone camera. Consider buying an SLR camera that can zoom in and out.

You should also bring along a tripod for support, extra batteries, and extra memory cards. The last thing you want is to run out of memory space.

Since you’ll be driving through a lot of dirt and dust, you should also keep some camera cleaning supplies on hand.

If you bought a new camera for the safari, spend some time getting familiar with all the different settings in advance. You probably won’t end up with good pictures at the end of your trip if you don’t know how to use your camera.

Make sure you go outside with your camera and find the best settings for different lighting, distances, etc.

2. Be Patient

Be Patient

Don’t move on to the next animal after only taking a few pictures. If you come across a heard of Zebras, sit with them for a while. Other animals might show up, or they could start displaying beautiful and interesting behavior.

The best way to get good photos is to wait and watch. You may have to sit in the same spot for a while to get the best shots.

While patience is usually rewarded, you also need to be careful around some animals like hippos. The tour operator will inform you to keep your voices low and to get into the hippo’s way. In such cases, you need to follow the tour operator’s or guide’s lead.

3. Light and Composition

Light and Composition

Before you snap a photo, think about the angles and compositions. Don’t make the mistake of zooming into an animal so close you lose all the background. Include things like trees, water, and other background items in the picture.

This will give your photos more depth and beauty.

Of course, you can take close up shots of the animals as well, but don’t forget to zoom. You don’t want to cut any limbs or trees out of the picture.

Do some experimenting with the light as well. Learn when you should use your flash and when you shouldn’t. If you aren’t sure what lighting and composition makes a good picture, you should spend some time doing a bit of research first.

4. Take Pictures After Dark:

Predatory cats such as Lion and Leopards are nocturnal animals, who prefer to rest during the day and stealthily hunt their prey at night. To capture these magnificent beasts after dark, a person needs to keep up with some creative safari photography tips. It should answer the frequently asked ‘how to photograph animals at night?’

Low-light wildlife photography Settings:

To capture perfect images at dusk, you’ll need to master low-light settings.

For this, you’ll require a wide aperture with f3.5 depth of field,  precise ISO setting between 1600-2000, and a steady camera base.

Once you have the perfect setting for the shot, take a burst of pictures. Most of these pictures will turn out blurred, but at least one will capture the desired shot.  The spotlight will further enhance that shot, giving it the professional feel.

External Spotlight: 

Select an external spotlight or flash, taking pictures with an on-camera flash leads to visually unappealing, unnatural, flat photographs that have ugly shadows. You can also utilize the spotlight of your vehicle as an external light source.

5. Capture the intensity of their Eyes:

While taking pictures of safari animals may seem simple, it doesn’t have to be. You can enhance your photography skills by taking it one step further, capturing the intensity and emotions in their eyes.

Capturing the eyes of animals such as seals, squirrels, birds, kangaroos, and sometimes even a predator is a unique possibility during safaris. Getting up close with these animals, having them stare in the lens can guarantee a great picture.

It’s possible to catchlight in the eyes of the animals, with the perfect zoom setting combined with a decent camera angle.

6. Don’t always place the subject in the center:

One of the most well-known and highly recommended animal photography tips is the Rule Of Thirds. We usually tend to put our photography subject, be it an animal or location, in the center of the picture. While this isn’t the wrong thing to do, you’ll not be getting the most out of the picture.

To put it in simpler terms, suppose you come across a Lion on a hilltop, with the lion facing the grasslands, place the cat at the corner and capture the bigger picture, with it looming above the animals grazing.

7. Carry a device to Backup your safari pictures

Two of the quickest ways to backup your photographs on Safaris are Memory cards and Laptops. Professional safari photographers always carry backup memory cards when they are on the road.

An ideal choice for backup would be bringing a Laptop with at least 1TB memory. Also, bring a portable hard drive, so that you can quickly copy the images from the memory cards to your laptop or the portable hard drive.

8. Don’t Forget To include the People

It may seem like the best of wildlife photography tips now, but some of your best safari pictures are the ones with your family. But in the excitement of capturing the perfect shot of animals, we spend the entire trip behind the lens, forgetting to capture these moments spent with your friends and family.

Take some candid pics of your family, friends, and your partner. These will make for some extraordinary memories in the future.

9. Ask Your Safari Guide

Don't Be Afraid to Talk to Your Safari Guide

Your safari guide is good at finding different animals, but they might not know what makes a good picture. Don’t be afraid to ask them to drive the vehicle into a slightly different position. This is a once in a lifetime experience, so make sure you communicate with the guide to ensure you get the best shots.

10. Be Patient and Don’t Overlook the Small Stuff

Be Patient and Don't Overlook the Small Stuff

Sometimes the magnificence of animals like lions and elephants can make you overlook the smaller wildlife. But you shouldn’t make this mistake. Some of the most beautiful animals you’ll see on a Safari are small animals you didn’t expect to encounter.

So remember to take your time and snap shots of everything you see, not just the large animals.

Understanding Safari Photography: How to Take the Best Pictures

When it comes to getting the best safari photography, make sure you have a good camera that can take quality pictures. Don’t forget to bring extra camera equipment so you’re prepared for any problems!

Have the camera but don’t know where to go? Make sure you take a look at some of our safari tours.


Our expert in-country travel partners are ready to help you create your dream safari.

About author

MD and Co-Founder. Born in Zimbabwe, Robin has a long history in Africa, and safaris in general, from running lodges to marketing. He is always on the look out for new ideas and products from around the safari world.

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