How much planning goes into your photography?

It might seem like an obvious thing to say, but how much planning actually goes into your photography?

Over the past few years I have found myself focussing more on certain elements in my photography, usually working towards a certain goal per destination.

It is so easy to get into a rut with your own photography, and before you start being harsh on your own work, it is important to understand that everyone goes through these slumps at some point in their journey.  We all find ourselves frustrated that we keep creating the same kind of images over and over again...

So how do we get out of these ruts or how do we avoid returning from a trip disappointed with what we created?

Do some research on the destination

Planning the photography and the images that you would like to create, start with the destination that you are going to.  Look at images on social media from the particular destination, this will most certainly get the creative juices flowing and give you an idea of what to expect.

What is unique about the destination?

What kind of wildlife can you expect to see at the destination?

What is the vegetation like?

Is off-roading permitted?

The answer to these questions go a long way for me personally to understand the kind of images possible during the safari.

Don't overload your Camera bag

Now this might seem like a bizarre thing to say, but so often we load our camera bags with every possible lens that you can think of, and when we are presented with a scene we are more confused about what lens to use than anything else.  Over the past year or so I have limited the amount of lenses I take with me to only two, sometimes even one.  What this has taught me is to make do with what you have, and it certainly forces you to think outside the box.

No doubt the luxury of returning to a certain destination is a major contributing factor, but I am still of the opinion that limiting the lenses you carry with you will help with your photography.

Take regular stock of what images you have

This is a really important one for me, as I feel all too often we photograph a scene in front of us, purely for the sake of just pressing the shutter.  If we have a thousand lion portraits, why do we continue to take them over and over again?  Isn't this the perfect opportunity to create some variety in your portfolio and rather shoot a bit wider?

If you visit a destination for the first time, I would encourage guests to look (not necessarily process) at the images that they have created every evening.  This will allow you to take stock of what you have already created, and will help you to create some diversity so that you don't return home with a thousand images that look exactly the same.

What is your end goal?

Planning your photography also revolves a lot around what you are hoping to do with your images.

Are you purely photographing to put images on social media, or are you looking at creating a book or even a print on your wall?  Images that work well for social media don't necessarily make for good wildlife prints and visa versa.

Understand what your end goal is, and then focus on achieving the end result.

Understand animal behaviour

Understanding animal behaviour will go a long way in helping you create striking images.

How do they move?

Are there any behavioural patterns?  For example when lions move towards each other, there is a good chance they will rub up against each other which is a great opportunity to show affection in your image.  Or when a giraffe is drinking, there is a moment when they lift their heads up where the splash of water forms a s-shape.  These are just some unique moments which, if you know what to expect, will greatly assist you in your photography.

Before you head out on your next safari experience, make sure you do some research about the destination, or contact one of our experienced guides who will gladly assist in providing you with the necessary information to maximise your photographic safari experience.

Till next time...

Johan 

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