Luxury safaris offer incredible photo opportunities to capture great wildlife shots with surprisingly close access to iconic and awe inspiring safari animals. Many safari goers hope to return home with great photos to commemorate their trip, wow their friends, and perhaps hang as art in their homes. But how do you go from vacation snap shot to great safari photo?
Here are 10 tips to get you there:
Your cell phone camera isn’t going to cut it for good wildlife photography. You need the right equipment for the job. For the best chances of capturing great wildlife shots and critical action, grab a Canon or Nikon DSLR (such as the Canon 5D Mark III or 80D or Nikon’s D810). You can also consider trying a mirrorless camera (such as the Sony A7r II) for a more compact, but slower, package with some significant compromises in the wildlife arena. Buy the best lenses you can and try to cover focal lengths from wide angle (about 24mm) to telephoto (at least 300mm), preferably with a wide maximum aperture such as f 4 or f2.8. Wider apertures allow you to shoot in low light and create pleasing effects for animal portraits. Pros use huge and expensive but amazing lenses like the Canon or 500mm or the Nikon 300mm or 500mm. A great option for enthusiasts is the cheaper, more versatile, and more portable Canon 100-400mm or its cousin, the Nikon 80-400mm. Some luxury lodges cater especially for photographers and have top-class wildlife lenses available to rent—that’s a great option because besides being expensive, wildlife lenses are a pain to carry on planes.
Whether you buy or rent your equipment, the most important tip for good photography is to understand your camera’s settings, their effect on your pictures, and how to change them quickly.
Always consider composition. The rule of thirds is your friend. Don’t compose with subjects or the horizon slap bang in the middle. Instead, break your frame into thirds horizontally and vertically, and place subjects near those lines.