Smartphone Photography On Safari

Kingfisher seen on an African safari

They’re small, lightweight, always with you, and increasingly provide incredible photographic moments. Your smartphone has evolved from a simple point-and-shoot camera of marginal quality to a photographic device at times rivaling larger digital cameras.

Not long ago it would have been unheard of to bring your smartphone as your primary camera on safari. But today, more visitors, especially the tech-savvy are relying on their handy smartphones to capture stunning images of that leaping gazelle and the leopard racing after it.

The newest phones sport high-megapixel cameras with up to 5X optical zoom and  15X digital zoom with amazing resolution and quality. Color rendition now rivals dedicated digital cameras and special advances like portraiture adjusts focus and depth for previously unthinkable results.

This is not to say that a thousand-dollar smartphone completely rivals a ten-thousand-dollar dedicated digital camera… but the results come remarkably close.

The Tricks You Need

All still cameras have video capabilities these days but the newest smartphone cameras dazzle with their ready assortment of shooting modes. Of course, they shoot in HD but now they can also record 4K, time-lapse, slo-mo, close-up, and night video. And you’ve only been using your phone for texting and TikTok?

Shooting in low light situations like sunrises and sunsets, even night photography has also improved with new 48-megapixel cameras and advanced electronics. And improved automatic image stabilization means your telephoto shot of that lion standing out on a high bluff will be remarkably steady and clear.

Tourists on a gorilla trek in Uganda with Africa Kenya Safaris

Of course, such features only previously found on high-end pro cameras like burst shooting mode, red-eye correction, photo geotagging, and portrait lighting effects are now standard. All in that tiny little box.

Ant standing on a flower

Get Up Close to Your Subject

The new smartphones also have beautiful close-up or macro abilities. Flowers, insects, and the textures of the savannah’s grasses – perhaps with wildlife in the background or a setting sun will reward you with images you’ll want to print and show off.

And don’t forget, these close-up capabilities apply to video shooting as well, so you can capture the tight action of that tiny dung beetle doing its thing.

Finally, the new smartphones offer vastly improved battery life and memory to let you keep shooting throughout your entire safari day.

Then instantly share your photos and videos with friends and family anywhere in the world.

Here’s Some Smartphone Safari Advice

  • Your phone has image stabilization but you can help it by keeping as steady as you can when shooting
  • Safaris are known for producing plenty of dust so keep a lens cloth handy and clean your phone camera often
  • Get familiar with your camera’s many photo and lighting modes for the best shots and some fun creative effects
  • Consider joining one of our photographic safaris. Your guide will know the most scenic spots, times of day for lighting, and where the most exciting wildlife can be found
Cheetahs seen on a Kenya safari tour

With just a little advance prep, your ever-present companion, your smartphone can be a quick, handy, and versatile recorder of your safari adventure.

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All fields with an asterisk (*) are required

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Help us create your perfect Safari! Tell us about your travel choices, any unique experiences you desire, and upcoming special occasions.