Capturing The Magic – Photography Tips For Your Safari Experience

Photography Tips for Your Safari Experience

Getting caught up in a need to take amazing pictures on safari is easy. But the experience is not about the photos; it’s about witnessing wildlife in its natural habitat.

Any photography guide will advise you to shoot earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon as the light is softer and produces better contrast than images shot under the overhead midday sun.


Although photographing big animals like lions and elephants is exciting, remember to look around and capture your surroundings. A photograph of a beautiful dune or the silhouette of a Baobab tree makes your Tanzania Safari experience much more memorable.

Use compositional elements to elevate your photos, such as the rule of thirds and framing your subject against a backdrop of trees or a skyline. This can create more dynamic and captivating images without requiring advanced photography skills.

The lighting on a safari is ideal for photography, especially in the morning and evening. This soft light, often called the golden hour, reduces harsh shadows and creates a magical glow. Plan your safari trips for these times to get the most out of your time in the field.


The right light can transform a scene from ordinary to extraordinary. It’s not always possible to control lighting, but you can set your camera to capture the best light for an image. A DSLR with interchangeable lenses is ideal, but you can also get great results with a more affordable digital camera. Make sure you have plenty of memory cards that can write quickly, as you will take lots of bursts to capture movement.

It’s important to practice using your camera before you go on safari. Not only will this help you understand how the buttons work, but it will also ensure that you are ready to shoot when the moment arrives. Having the confidence to press the button without thinking is essential when photographing wildlife in motion. Try plugging in burst mode to increase your chances of freezing dynamic moments and give yourself more creative opportunities when editing your images later.

Camera Settings

Using the correct camera settings empowers you to capture stunning images that tell captivating safari stories. Understanding how to manipulate the aperture for optimal depth of field improves your safari photography, whether you’re highlighting a single animal against a dreamy backdrop or capturing expansive landscape shots with various subjects in sharp focus.

You can also elevate your photos with compositional techniques like the rule of thirds and leading lines, which don’t require advanced technical skills. For dynamic shots, try positioning your subject off-center for balance and to highlight the focal point. Utilizing paths or tracks as a leading line also adds dimension to your photos.

Additionally, familiarizing yourself with your camera’s different shooting modes (also known as drive mode) will prepare you to adapt to diverse lighting conditions throughout the day. Choosing an exposure mode that allows you to set the aperture while the camera sets the shutter speed will help you achieve beautifully blurred backgrounds when isolating your main subject.


We recommend taking various shots that include your subject in its environment. For example, a picture of a sleeping lion or a malachite kingfisher perched on a branch will tell more of a story than a close-up shot of the same animal.

When photographing animals in motion, a fast shutter speed is essential to freezing the action. Ensure that your camera is in the highest-speed shooting mode before your trip. It is also a good idea to take a few test shots beforehand to understand how your camera’s high-speed mode works.

Wildlife is unpredictable, and the best photos often happen in seconds. Be sure to keep your camera within reach at all times so that you can capture those moments when they occur. Also, be sure to bring a spare battery and fast memory cards, as you will be taking many bursts of photos to catch the movement of the animals.

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