How to take the best photograph on safari

Thanks to huge leaps in digital technology, the popularity of smartphones and the filters that come with them, taking a good picture has never been easier. Capturing a male lion in mid-roar could also be that easy with these tips.

Many companies now offer guests (professional photographers or not) the chance to view wildlife in their natural habitat and capture the lifelong memories. Photographic safaris are different from ‘normal’ safaris simply because they cater to tourists who want that ‘perfect shot!’

Seats on vehicles (land or water-based) are equipped with camera mountings and you may even get an experienced safari guide who’ll know how to position you in terms of the sun and your subjects, so that you can snap that perfect shot.

We know what you’re thinking… what about us normal people who just want to snap fantastic pictures while we’re on vacation?

Pull out your SLR cameras or your smartphone, because experienced wildlife photographer Bruce Van Niekerk reveals his top tips for wildlife photography amateurs…

  1. Be on the game drive at first light. This will ensure you’re able to maximise the crisp sunlight.
  2. Listen for alarm calls, especially from birds, primates and antelope. This will help you (or your guide) find predators quicker. Animals know their surroundings best and are your best bet for predicting sightings.
  3. Avoid sudden movements by investing in a bean bag or monopod to rest your lens on. Monopods offer stability and are quicker and more practical than normal tripods.
  4. Know your camera settings. You don’t want to be fiddling around with settings and lose an amazing shot. Bruce often shoots on 800 ISO, with a focal point of F8 and then he under exposes by a third.
  5. Try to determine what your subject will do next, so you’re prepared. Have patience and take many pictures… it makes the selection process easier.
  6. Avoid jumping from site to site. Great pictures come from photographers that spend hours at a water hole.
  7. Don’t change lenses while on a game drive! Dust can do serious damage to them.
  8. Always have enough battery power and memory space on your cards. Charge everything the night before.
  9. Lastly, have fun and get creative!

Keen to try a photographic safari?

The Zambezi Queen Collection offers unique river safaris on the elegant Zambezi Queen and three Chobe Princesses, as well as at Ichingo Chobe River Lodge.

Click here for more information on the Zambezi Queen.

Words by Victoria Taylor