Photography Tips

Here are a few ideas to keep in mind while photographing on your travels.


  • Before your trip, look at other photos of the area to get ideas on what kinds of shots you want to take.
  • Become familiar with your camera before your trip — and practice.
  • Change the date and time settings on your camera to the local time.


  • Fill the frame.
  • Remember the “rule of thirds” (don’t center your subject).
  • Frame the subject with a doorway, window, or tree branches.
  • Change your angle and/or vantage point.  Get up high to shoot from above, or get low and shoot upwards.
  • Show scale.
  • Change focus.
  • Change perspective: zoom in for details, then wide angle for an overview.
  • Slow the shutter speed to show movement.
  • Make it interesting: juxtaposition, pattern and texture, dynamic lines, color, lens flare, signs and icons, reflections, kids,
  • Time the best lighting: dusk/dawn for silhouettes, noon for blue ocean, etc.
  • Use a fill flash with strong mid-day sun.
  • Show faces with emotion.
  • Tell a story, offer a theme/quest/journey, seek the authentic (hailing a cab, planning with maps, bargaining in a market, etc.)
  • Don’t forget to change lenses — Use telephoto to get close ups (of different parts of the animals) as well as and wide angle for vistas (of the landscape).
  • Bring twice as much disk and battery than you think you need.
  • With digital photography, you don’t have to wait for the perfect shot and the perfect lighting. Get a picture first, and then wait for the a better shot. You never know if the animal will move to make a better picture or just walk away, and the shot is lost.
  • Bring a light-weight tripod.
  • Take lots and lots of pictures!
  • Back up for photos.

More Photography Tips for Safari:

  • While watching one particular animal or group of animals, look around you. It’s easy to focus on one particular thing, but there might be a bird, interesting outline of tree, etc. worth recording.
  • The roof of the safari vehicle is open for better game viewing, but sometimes you can get a good angle from down low or from the front/back of the vehicle.
  • Use a mini-tripod or bean bag to keep the camera steady.
  • Put your camera and lenses in plastic bags to keep the dust out.

Cheat Sheet Reminders:

  • Color
  • Lighting
  • Shadows
  • Angles
  • Rule of Thirds / Golden Ratio / Nautilus Shell
  • Storytelling
  • Motion
  • Leading Lines
  • Scale
  • Framing
  • Focus / Unfocus / Depth of Field
  • Details
  • Wide Overview
  • Impression of location, experience
  • Patterns
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