Twenty years ago, {the good old days for some}, a world-famous photographer gave me very good advice.

“Buy excellent binoculars. Then, when you get back home order the coffee table book that covers your trip destination. Leave the photography to the experts.” he said.

“What brilliance!” baby me thought with wide-eyed admiration.

“Utter unthinkable nonsense!” my teenagers snort today.

And with the incredible leap photographic gear has made in the last couple of decades it would indeed be criminal not to record your own memories on safari. That same rapid development does however leave us with a plethora of choices that can be a little (a lot!) overwhelming.

To cut through the noise here are some tips and tricks for taking your own pics.

And sensible ideas for organizing everything once you are back home.

Gear to Go

Consider going mirrorless to save on weight and space. The Olympus OMD is super lightweight but doesn’t skimp on quality. It also offers great video. Alternatively the Olympus PEN also has high video quality and with the GoPro Hero 6 Black the company that pioneered on-the-go photography have improved in every conceivable way on the Hero 5 and some say this is the best action camera you can buy.

Lenses. Decide what kind of photos you want to take and then choose your lenses. A good all-rounder is a 12 – 40 mm lens. If you think you will like taking pictures of hotel rooms or cars etc. a wide angle lens. Planning to concentrate on a lot of portrait images? Bring a 25 mm PRO lens.

If you are in the market for a Selfie stick – go the whole hog and get a GoPro 3-Way  Camera Mount. It can be used as a camera grip, extension arm or tripod. These are all super useful but it will also make you look like you have delusions of professionalism rather than delusions of self-importance

Concerned about sound? The Rode microphone is a battery-less plug-in AUX cable microphone that should do you nicely.

For lovely smooth footage you want to add a stabilizer that suits your camera.

Think about adding a mini gorilla pod or similar for your phone in case you run out of battery.

Speaking about your phone… a Safari might be the perfect moment to consider upgrading your phone case. Make sure your choice of phone cover does not impact on the quality of your photography.

Invest in a good backpack for all your gear.

Other odds and ends

  • A Dustblower
  • Waterproofing
  • Back up USB
  • Gaffer tape
  • Plug in remote for time-lapse or long exposure shots.

Showcasing your Memories

Consider a WordPress Blog or if that seems like too much of a time investment look into Adobe Spark.

And if that still is too o.t.t. Pholody should be your next stop. It will create a free online photo slideshow with music!

Sometimes old fashioned pictures you can hold in your hands simply beat online hands down. Services to consider include Zno which will give you high-quality printing and flat images without a book gutter. They also have a variety of other offers which include boxes and cards. ChatBooks can sync your Instagram or Facebook photos automatically into a book design for printing.

You can make your own vacation postcards with Canva. Wouldn’t these make great business cards too?

And even your own custom postage stamps that are licensed for use by the United States Postal Service.

If you are thinking of wall art don’t limit yourself to traditional prints… investigate metal, tile and wood prints.

Keeping Phone imagery in Check


CREATE ALBUMS ON YOUR PHONE before you leave and file images into albums as soon as possible.

BACK UP YOUR PHONE OFTEN – Use an App like Google photos. Make sure your phone is totally clear before you leave (all images backed up to your computer or an external hard drive) and remember to back up as often as possible while you are away.

Images by James Bold & Jakob Owens & Jimmy Chang & Ozgu Ozden & Markus Spiske on Unsplash