If you’ve ever enjoyed a stay with us, you’ll know how magical it is snapping that ideal sunset or elephant herd shot. With incredible access to wildlife, golden light and free from outside disturbances, the Zambezi Queen Collection enjoys a pristine setting – a true photographer’s paradise.
Is it true that all a photographer needs is a fantastic subject? We have plenty of stunning subjects and scenes to photograph here on the Chobe River. But if you need a few photography tips and tricks to capture that perfect, envy-inducing Instagram or Facebook shot, here is tried and tested advice from renowned photographer Andrew Morgan.
1. Pro tips for the perfect shot?
There are so many photographers out there, especially shooting wildlife. The best tip I could give is to look at as many different photographs as possible, see what other great photographers are doing, and then try to improve on that. Do something differently. Photograph an impala for hours and try to get something different to what everyone else has done. Look for details and angles that might be out of the norm.
Show us your skills! Have you travelled with us before? Submit your favourite photo or video of your stay with the Zambezi Queen Collection on Instagram and stand a chance to win a 3-night luxury stay with Mantis for two people. The competition is open from 1 April to 30 September 2022. Read more here.
2. What camera and equipment to use?
The new mirrorless cameras are fantastic because they are so much lighter and smaller, making them convenient to travel with when you are limited by weight and space. A good zoom lens that gives you a bit more reach for wildlife and birds is always useful; something like a Sigma 100-400 or 150-600 are great options.
3. Editing or not?
I think “editing” is important, although I would rather call it processing. Instead of editing or changing the scene from what it was by removing things that you don’t like or adding things that weren’t there, for me, the processing is just the same as what film photographers would do in the darkroom. The digital darkroom is just as important as a film photographer processing their film. You need to tweak the colours, contrast and even crop to get the best out of your image to make it as close to how you saw the scene at the time as possible. A camera doesn’t always do enough without a bit of processing afterwards.
4. Best tips and tricks for beginners?
These days cameras are so advanced that when shooting wildlife and birds, it’s often best practice to set an auto iso to make sure you have the right exposure. Then all you need to do is make sure your shutter speed is high enough to freeze motion if that’s what you’re aiming to achieve and choose an appropriate aperture to either have a shallow depth of field if you want to isolate your subject or a deeper depth of field to show more of the overall scene. For wildlife and birds, you generally want to isolate them and shoot with a shallow depth of field (a small f-number like f5.6). Shooting landscapes, you generally want to show more of the scene and would look to use an aperture like f11 or above. Something to keep in mind when shooting sunsets and sunrises is that you don’t always need to shoot a wide-angle shot but could look to incorporate an animal, bird or interesting tree as a silhouette in your pictures with a longer lens.
5. Where to focus?
A general rule is that if something has an eye, like animals and people, that’s where you want your focus to be! A good rule of thumb for landscapes is to focus one-third of the way into the scene. More of the scene will remain focused behind the image than in front, so focussing a third in will give you a good balance.
Thank you Andrew for these fantastic tips!
Keen to put your skills into practise? Browse our incredible specials here. As a Zambezi Queen Collection guest, you’ll be able to access our custom-designed photographic safari boat. Our boat accommodates six passengers and is designed to give you greater stability and 360-degree views for a broader range of subject matter. Every seat is also equipped with a mounting for resting SLR cameras. Plus, our experienced safari guide can also assist you in snapping that perfect shot! Read more about our photographic safaris here.
We’d love to see your photos from your travels with us. Don’t forget to submit your photos on Instagram and stand a chance to win in our photography competition!