Photography Tips for a Successful African Photo Safari
Going on an African photo safari must rank as one of the most exciting adventures any adrenaline junkie could dream of undertaking.
And that is why you must pack the right equipment to get the job done properly. Forget about iPhones. They simply are not sophisticated enough to do justice to a photo safari.
If travelling by plane, the equipment you need will gobble a fair chunk of your weight allowance. But don’t despair, your problem is solved! You can always rent your camera, lenses and everything else you may need from us. This will leave you free to negotiate airport customs clearance with alacrity while easing the burden of lugging around weighty baggage.
Equipment necessary for success
These are our recommendations for essential photographic equipment for your safari.
Burst shooting mode
A camera that offers a burst shooting mode is very important when on safari. This allows you to hold down the shutter and shoot several frames within a second. As we all know, wildlife can move with lightning speed. They are also adept at camouflaging. With short burst mode you are able to capture that critical moment before they disappear into the undergrowth.
Dealing with dust and fingerprints
Dust forms part and parcel of most safaris, especially is you visit a Southern Africa game reserve in the dry winter months. That is why we recommend that you invest in a lens pen to clean away smudges, as well as lens cleaning wipes for more stubborn dust.
Extra memory cards
While we recommend that you use burst mode to capture those unexpected and fleeting wildlife sightings, it, unfortunately, is inclined to gobble memory. That is why you must always have spare memory cards available. You don’t want to find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to delete photos to free up space.
Telephoto (zoom) lens
A telephoto, or zoom lens, is an absolute must-have piece of equipment on a photo safari. Include a lens that offers a range of 50 to 150mm and 100 to 400mm.
Our open-air safari jeep vehicles are equipped to handle lens support, so vital if you want to capture an action photograph. Each jeep has a support-bracket, as well as a camera bean bag to eliminate vehicle vibrations.
Remember, a zoom lens is susceptible to blurred photographs unless it is well supported to avoid movement. Photographing wildlife usually requires a wide-open aperture (f-stop) and a slow shutter speed. This requires as little movement as possible when pressing down on the shutter. Another tip is to hold your breath when taking the photo.
Several makes of zoom lens have built-in OIS (optical image stabilisation). This feature is an added safari photo-shoot bonus, so try to use a lens offering OIS.
Tripods for night-time exposures
You have never experienced starry skies like what you will see on an African safari. Nights are ink-black, pollution in the bushveld is non-existent, and the sky becomes a blanket of brilliant diamond pinpoints that will take your breath away.
A tripod – which we also offer for hire – will ensure a professional night sky photograph. Or you may be taken on a night ride. This is when your guide will use lamplight to illuminate nocturnal animals such as leopard feeding in an overhead tree or owls alert for field mice.
Wear neutral colour clothing
Finally, safari clothing is always neutral in colour. It is less disturbing to animals and will give you low profile visibility.