Photography Tips for Your Tanzania Safari

Photography Tips for Your Tanzania Safari

Embarking on a Tanzania safari is a dream come true for many wildlife enthusiasts and photographers. The vast savannas, diverse wildlife, and breathtaking landscapes provide endless opportunities for capturing stunning photographs. Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or a beginner, these tips will help you make the most of your Tanzania safari and return home with amazing memories captured in your camera. Understanding the unique challenges and opportunities of safari photography is key to a successful and fulfilling experience.

Choosing the Right Equipment for Safari Photography

Photography Tips for Your Tanzania Safari


Selecting the appropriate gear is crucial for a successful safari photography experience. You’ll want to pack lightweight yet versatile equipment to handle different scenarios without burdening yourself. The right equipment will ensure you’re ready for any photographic opportunity that comes your way, whether it’s a distant herd of elephants or an intricate macro shot of a flower. Investing in high-quality gear tailored to wildlife photography can make a significant difference in the quality of your images.

  • Cameras and Lenses: A DSLR or mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses is ideal. Bring a zoom lens (70-200mm or 100-400mm) for close-up shots of animals and a wide-angle lens (16-35mm) for capturing landscapes. A second camera body can be beneficial to avoid switching lenses frequently in dusty conditions. Additionally, consider the weight and ease of use of your equipment, as you will need to handle it quickly and efficiently in various situations.
  • Accessories: Don’t forget essential accessories like extra batteries, memory cards, a sturdy tripod, and a camera bag that protects your gear from dust and moisture. A bean bag can be useful for stabilizing your camera on vehicle windows. Filters, such as polarizers and neutral density filters, can enhance your images by managing light and reducing glare. A lens cleaning kit is also important, as dust and dirt are common in the safari environment.

Understanding the Best Times for Safari Photography

Lighting and animal behavior vary throughout the day, influencing the quality of your photographs. Knowing the best times to shoot can make a significant difference. Early mornings and late afternoons are generally the best times for safari photography, as animals are more active and the lighting is more favorable. Planning your shoots around these times will increase your chances of capturing stunning images.

  • Golden Hours: The golden hours, shortly after sunrise and before sunset, provide the best lighting conditions. The soft, warm light enhances colors and reduces harsh shadows, making your photos more visually appealing. This time of day also coincides with increased animal activity, as many species are more active during the cooler hours. Capturing the magic of these moments can result in some of your most memorable safari photographs.
  • Midday Challenges: Midday light is harsh and can create strong shadows and overexposed highlights. Use this time to photograph in shaded areas, such as forests or near water sources, where the light is more diffused. Alternatively, focus on capturing details, such as close-up shots of animals or plants, which can be less affected by the intense light. Midday can also be a good time to review your shots, adjust your settings, and prepare for the next peak period of activity.

Mastering Wildlife Photography Techniques

Photography Tips for Your Tanzania Safari


Wildlife photography on a safari requires patience, quick reflexes, and an understanding of animal behavior. Being prepared and knowing what to expect can help you capture those fleeting moments that define a successful safari shoot. Studying the habits and patterns of the animals you hope to photograph will give you a better chance of anticipating their movements and behaviors, leading to more dynamic and engaging images.

  • Anticipating Animal Behavior: Understanding animal behavior is crucial for capturing compelling wildlife photographs. Spend time observing your subjects and learning their patterns, such as feeding times, social interactions, and typical movements. Patience is key; often, the best shots come from waiting quietly for the right moment. Anticipating an animal’s next move allows you to position yourself and your camera for the perfect shot, increasing your chances of capturing action and interaction.
  • Using Burst Mode: Animals can move quickly and unpredictably. Using burst mode allows you to take a rapid series of shots, increasing the likelihood of capturing the perfect moment. This technique is especially useful for photographing animals in motion, such as a lioness hunting or a bird taking flight. Reviewing the series of images later, you can select the best shot from the sequence, ensuring you capture the peak of the action.

Composing Your Shots

Composition is key to creating visually appealing photographs. Pay attention to framing, perspective, and the rule of thirds to enhance your images. Experiment with different angles and perspectives to add depth and interest to your shots. Effective composition draws the viewer’s eye to the subject and creates a sense of balance and harmony in the image.

  • Rule of Thirds: The rule of thirds is a fundamental principle of composition that can greatly improve your photos. Imagine dividing your frame into a grid of nine equal parts, with two horizontal and two vertical lines. Place your main subject along these lines or at their intersections to create a balanced and dynamic composition. This technique helps to avoid centering the subject, which can sometimes make the image feel static.
  • Leading Lines: Leading lines guide the viewer’s eye through the photograph, creating a sense of movement and depth. Natural lines, such as rivers, paths, or the curve of an animal’s body, can lead to your main subject and add interest to the composition. Incorporating leading lines into your shots helps to direct attention and create a more engaging image.

Capturing Landscapes and Wildlife Together

Photography Tips for Your Tanzania Safari


Incorporating the stunning landscapes of Tanzania into your wildlife photos can add context and depth to your images. Combining wide-angle shots of the scenery with close-ups of animals creates a storytelling effect that highlights the beauty and diversity of the environment. These images can evoke a stronger sense of place and enhance the overall narrative of your safari experience.

  • Including the Environment: When photographing wildlife, including elements of the surrounding environment can add context and tell a more complete story. Capture animals in their natural habitats, showcasing the relationship between the subject and its surroundings. This approach can provide a sense of scale and highlight the beauty of the Tanzanian landscape.
  • Balancing Foreground and Background: Balancing the foreground and background in your shots helps to create depth and interest. Place animals in the foreground with the landscape stretching out behind them. Use a wide aperture to blur the background slightly, making the subject stand out while still providing context. This technique helps to create a more three-dimensional effect and draws attention to the main subject.

Dealing with Difficult Lighting Conditions

Lighting conditions on a safari can change rapidly, presenting challenges for photographers. Learning how to adapt to different lighting scenarios will help you capture the best possible images. Understanding how to use your camera’s settings to compensate for low light, high contrast, and backlighting is essential for successful safari photography.

  • Shooting in Low Light: During early mornings and late evenings, light levels can be low. Increase your ISO setting to allow for faster shutter speeds and avoid blurry images. Use a wide aperture to let in more light and consider using a tripod to stabilize your camera for longer exposures. Low-light conditions can add a dramatic effect to your photos, creating mood and atmosphere.
  • Handling Backlighting: Backlighting occurs when the light source is behind your subject, often resulting in silhouettes. While silhouettes can be striking, you may also want to capture more detail. Use exposure compensation to adjust for the bright background, and consider using a fill flash to illuminate the subject without overexposing the background. This technique allows you to maintain detail in both the subject and the background.

Editing and Post-Processing Your Safari Photos

Photography Tips for Your Tanzania Safari


Post-processing is an important step in bringing out the best in your safari photographs. Basic edits can enhance the color, contrast, and sharpness of your images, making them more visually appealing. Learning how to use editing software effectively can help you refine your photos and highlight the beauty of your subjects and the environment.

  • Basic Adjustments: Start with basic adjustments, such as cropping, straightening, and adjusting exposure, contrast, and white balance. These changes can have a significant impact on the overall look of your photo. Ensuring that your horizon lines are straight and that your subject is well-exposed is fundamental to creating polished images.
  • Advanced Techniques: For more advanced edits, consider techniques like selective sharpening, noise reduction, and color correction. Use masks and layers to apply changes to specific areas without affecting the entire image. These techniques can help you enhance details and achieve a professional finish, elevating the quality of your safari photos.

Sharing Your Safari Experience

Sharing your safari photos is a great way to relive your adventure and inspire others. Consider creating an online gallery or social media album to showcase your best shots. Adding captions and stories behind each photo can provide context and engage your audience. Sharing your experiences and the beauty of Tanzania’s wildlife can inspire others to embark on their safari adventures.

  • Creating a Photo Book: A photo book is a wonderful way to preserve and share your safari memories. Organize your photos in chronological order or by theme, and add descriptions to create a narrative. A printed photo book makes a great keepsake and can be shared with family and friends.
  • Social Media Tips: When sharing on social media, use relevant hashtags and geotags to reach a wider audience. Engage with other wildlife photographers and enthusiasts by commenting on and sharing their work. Joining online photography communities can provide inspiration, feedback, and opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals.


A Tanzania safari offers an unparalleled opportunity to capture stunning wildlife and landscapes through photography. By preparing adequately, understanding the best times and techniques for shooting, and mastering post-processing, you can create a compelling visual record of your safari adventure. With patience, practice, and a keen eye, you’ll be able to capture the essence of Tanzania’s natural beauty and bring home memories that will last a lifetime.


1. What camera settings are best for safari photography? For safari photography, use a fast shutter speed to freeze motion, a low ISO for bright conditions, and a higher ISO for low light. Aperture settings depend on whether you want a shallow or deep depth of field.

2. How can I protect my camera gear from dust on a safari? Use a camera bag with dust protection, keep your gear covered when not in use, and consider using a rain cover for extra protection. Cleaning your equipment regularly with a soft brush and cloth is also important.

3. What should I do if my photos are overexposed? Check your camera’s exposure settings and use exposure compensation to reduce brightness. Shooting in RAW format allows for greater adjustment in post-processing without losing image quality.

4. How can I take better wildlife photos without disturbing the animals? Keep a respectful distance, use a zoom lens, and remain quiet and patient. Avoid sudden movements and always follow the guidance of your safari guide.

5. What editing software is best for safari photos? Popular options include Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop for comprehensive editing capabilities. There are also user-friendly alternatives like Luminar and Capture One that offer powerful editing tools.

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Visit our page for detailed information and tips to enhance your travel experience in Tanzania and Zanzibar.

Very Wonderful Safari Trip Lappet Faced Safari left a very good impression on me about Safari. When discussing the itinerary, Francisco responded very promptly and provided a lot of useful suggestions; during the entire trip, there were no extra costs or extra services. During this trip, we are very grateful to our guide Mike, who worked tirelessly to help us find animals and introduced various animal knowledge, making us have a very enjoyable trip; we also booked a ride from Arusha to Kilimanjaro For the airport shuttle bus, thank you to Noel for his superb driving skills; and thank you to Francisco for helping us book a fruit lunchbox in advance so that we did not go hungry. We were very satisfied with this trip.
7-Day Wildebeest Migration Safari We had an amazing 7-day safari visiting Tarangire National Park, the Ndutu region of southern Serengeti, Central Serengeti National Park, and Ngorongoro Crater. Before arriving in Tanzania I had regular communication with Francisco, the owner of Lappet Faced Safaris. Francisco always responded promptly and answered all of our questions as we planned this custom safari. I was very impressed by his prompt and thorough responses to questions and his willingness to be flexible with our itinerary during the planning stages of this trip. We were met at the airport by our driver/guide, Amani, who accompanied us for the duration of the safari. To say that Amani went above and beyond was an understatement. He was an amazing guide and he did a great job in finding various wildlife and putting us in an excellent position to observe and photograph. He was also very good at answering our questions about the wildlife, the vegetation and the people of Tanzania. I was very impressed and I could tell that he enjoyed his work and that he knew what he was talking about when explaining things about different animals. It really made the trip a more complete experience. I was very pleased with our accommodations throughout our safari, as well as with the food. Everything matched the information that we received from Francisco when we were planning our trip. Lappet Faced Safaris is a small locally-owned safari company and they provide first-class service. I would highly recommend them to anyone who is interested in visiting Tanzania and experiencing a safari. Francisco is flexible in putting together a trip itinerary so do not hesitate to share what your interests are for your safari experience and he will work with you to meet those plans. We wanted to see the wildebeest migration during their calving season, as well as seeing other resident wildlife and what we experienced during our safari was simply amazing.
Kenny C
Kenny C
Amazing experience The 3-day safari was an unforgettable experience and were extremely delighted we went with Lappet Faced Safaris for the trip. Our guide and chef were both extremely professional and they both went out of their way to make sure we had the best experience possible. We would 100% recommend this safari trip.
Tatiana C
Tatiana C
Breathtaking, Wild, Unforgettable!!!! MUST DO!!! That was an unbelievably wonderful experience of a lifetime! We had just 6 days in Zanzibar and 2 of them we decided to devote to safari in Tarangire and Ngorongoro national parks. It was one of the wisest decisions because the amount of emotions and feelings you would get from the beauty of the nature and animals you have seen only on discovery channel before would bring you infinite happiness and pure joy :))) Thanks to Lapped Faced Safaris for making it real! The service was exceptional. Francisco ( the owner of the company) was always in contact with us all the time. He answered all our million questions and made sure everything would go smoothly. He took care about everything from the moment we left Zanzibar and came back. Our guide/driver was the best guide we could imagine: attentive, caring, choosing the best angles to observe the animals. Together with him we saw all Big Five (leopard, lions, elephants, zebras and rhinos) and more))) however it’s always a matter of luck whom you would spot ;) Karankari lodge - is a gorgeous hotel I would highly recommend to stay at for 1 night between the safaris. Look forward to coming back for 3-4 days safari! Lapped Faced Safaris - THE BEST!
Sachin K
Sachin K
Best expeirence Our guide was knowledgeable and very well behaved. The sunset tour has been remarkable. No issue at all Thanks....
Sandra M
Sandra M
Epic Adventures On my recent trip, Michael and his crew (shoutout to Joshua, Stive, and Frank!) totally made the experience awesome. Their know-how and passion, along with the smooth coordination and personal touch, made every moment unforgettable. Seriously, I highly recommend this travel crew for an epic trip!
Abdul A
Abdul A
Family-Friendly Adventure Lappet Faced Safari was an amazing experience for our family. The guides whose name Joseph were not only knowledgeable but also fantastic with kids, making it a great experience.
pami k
pami k
Exemplary Expedition: A Journey Elevated by Expert Guides Embarking on a recent travel expedition, I was fortunate to have Michael as our guide. His expertise and passion for the destinations we explored added immense value to the journey. The seamless coordination and personalized touch from Michael and his team, including Joshua, Stive, and Frank, made every moment unforgettable. Their commitment to excellence was evident in the meticulous planning and insightful commentary. I highly recommend this travel experience, where the guides' dedication and knowledge elevate the trip to extraordinary heights.
Ranvir K
Ranvir K
Thrilling Night Safari Lappet Faced Safari's night safari was a thrilling addition to our adventure. Armed with spotlights, we delved into the nocturnal world of wildlife. From elusive predators to creatures of the night, the experience was both exhilarating and educational. A unique and captivating way to witness the diversity of the animal kingdom.
Mama B
Mama B
Sunset Safari Splendor Lappet Faced Safari took the traditional safari experience to new heights with their sunset tour. The colors of the African sky painted a breathtaking backdrop to our wildlife encounters. Watching the sun dip below the horizon while surrounded by nature's wonders was a mesmerizing and unforgettable spectacle.

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