"Capture those iconic African images"
"Capture those iconic African images"
With few natural sights capable of matching the awe-inspiring visuals of a safari, getting the right photography shot is usually high on most people’s wish list.
While every safari is guaranteed to provide more than enough photography opportunities, we are delighted to be able to offer safari packages aimed exclusively at photographers.
Our photographic safaris/workshops are specially designed safaris led by photographers, for photographers, focusing exclusively on ensuring that you have the best possible chance to take those dazzling shots.
This means that the entire safari is focused on photography concepts such as angles, techniques, lighting, and photographic opportunities – certainly much more than on any other safari.
While we think it’s hugely important to get out there and just start shooting (the camera that is) we also run Photographic workshops which often include a wide range of daily activities and informal lectures on how to improve your photography.
These are often special tours led by expert photographers who have a unique style and offer their personal insight and photography techniques to their guests whilst on safari. These expert photographic tour leaders are often specialists in a certain field such as wildlife, landscape, or travel photography, and have built up a reputation for their work.
There’s no better way to improve your photographic skills than by learning in Africa’s practical classroom with an expert mentor at hand, sharing with you their spur-of-the-moment advice and tips to improve your skills in real practical situations.
Often, the tour host is not driving the vehicle, allowing their hands to be free and all their attention to be on the guests at all times whilst a dedicated driver is behind the wheel. They will however use their insight into photography and direct the driver to the best possible position of the vehicle for photographic opportunities.
This is enhanced even further if the photo host is an expert on animal behaviour and can predict animal moments to ensure the vehicle is positioned at the correct angle before the action happens.
Photographic safaris are perfect for those who already have a good understanding of photography but who might be looking to take things up a notch, but this is certainly not constrained to the pros and their long lenses.
We welcome all photography skills levels, whether you’ve been in the game many years but have never had the chance to photograph on a safari, or you are just taking the first tentative steps into the exciting world of photography.
To really get the best out of your experience, if you are relatively new to photography, we do suggest becoming accustomed to your equipment before you arrive. The last thing you want is to witness a thrilling lion chase but fail to get the picture because your camera settings were well off.
While it would be tempting to say that any old camera will do, we don’t want our customers to be disappointed with the experience simply because of what kind of equipment they brought with them.
With that in mind, if you are planning to photograph wildlife we do recommend a minimum focal length of 400mm, with some wider angles for different situations. You may be able to use a 70-200mm lens as your maximum, though you might find yourself becoming frustrated when your subjects are a distance and your zoom just won’t quite cover it.
As a rough suggestion for a starter kit to bring on a photographic safari aimed at wildlife, we recommend the following:
For those serious wildlife photographers, we recommend the following more advanced kit, much of which can either be bought or hired. We can also organise rental gear for you, and if this is the case, please let us know when you book the safari.
It’s certainly not a requirement, but some prefer to bring a monopod or travel tripod on a photo safari. If you intend to do landscape or night-sky photography, a tripod is an absolute must.
Many safari vehicles today can be equipped with bean bags for photographers on request and these offer great flexibility for stabilisation, while some vehicles are also specifically designed and modified with photographers’ comfort in mind.
See our vehicle the BEAST as a great example.
One vital aspect to get right on your photography safari is how big your group should be. Any safari isn’t exactly the cheapest holiday around, so larger groups do generally mean a lower overall cost, which is tempting for many.
But before you start thinking about cramming fifteen people into the group, it’s important to think about what kind of photography experience you want to have. The smaller the group the less haggling over window seats, the less jostling for that perfect shot, and the more time spent one-on-one with the expert leading the tour.
After years of trial and error, we believe that six people per vehicle and photography expert tends to work well, with anything larger becoming a problem.
Obviously the smaller the group the better, but when you get down to two or four per host, costs do begin to go up quickly. If money isn’t an issue, a one-on-one photography safari with an outstanding photographer to lead the way is an experience you won’t be forgetting any time soon.
There are plenty of factors to consider when choosing a photographer to lead your excursion. Many like to travel with well-known photographers whose work they might admire and who they might be able to learn plenty from.
Others, often more experienced photographers, aren’t particularly concerned about who is leading the trip just as long they can guarantee an excellent photographic experience.
A good example of this would be travelling with a host who’s both the photography workshop leader and the driver guide positioning the vehicle. These photographic guides don’t necessarily need to be world-famous or award-winning photographers to ensure a fantastic experience and can often be requested or included as part of a broader itinerary.
Experienced photographers know that this individual will be able to position them in the ideal location and situations for them to get the photographs they are after. Some lodges even provide in-house photographic training for their safari guides which allows them to better facilitate photographers.
If you’re looking for a photographic safari but the options above aren’t quite what you’re looking for, don’t panic, we work with numerous specialist photographers and operators who are Africa-based which we can use to build a custom photo safari just for you.
Many of the lodges have specially trained guides and facilities such as photographic hides, which enable you to focus on getting the right images. Alternatively, we can arrange for a specialist photographic private guide to join you on safari for a personal one-on-one workshop.
Just make sure to let us know when you enquire that you are interested in photography and we take care of the rest.
Contact SAFARI FRANK to get started on your safari of a lifetime!