Capturing the Wild: Safari Photography, with Rick Sammon

Learn how to tell the full story of your next photo safari adventure.

Join Rick Sammon, a Canon Explorer of Light, and discover tips, tricks, and techniques that can apply to anywhere your camera might take you. Rick draws on his experiences leading photo safaris in Africa to teach you how to prepare for your own safari, consider what gear to bring, the importance of developing a daily routine, and how to get the best photographs of the people, wildlife, and places that you will encounter.

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Course Lessons:

Lesson 1: Introduction (Duration 12:45)

Join Rick as he introduces the class, discusses what will be covered, and jumps into sharing some of his favorite tips, tricks, and techniques.

Lesson 2: Preparing for Your Shoot (Duration 10:14)

The key to a successful safari is your research. From medical concerns to insurance, and from weather to locations; you need to know before you go.

Lesson 3: Gear (Duration 11:29)

Part of your pre-trip planning will be deciding what gear to bring, and making sure it can come with you.

Lesson 4: Daily Routine (Duration 15:13)

You will come up with your own routine, but Rick shares his routine to give you an idea of what to expect.

Lesson 5: Wildlife Photography (Duration 16:13)

Photographing wildlife may be the primary reason you are going on safari. Learn Rick's tips for getting the best animal photos.

Lesson 6: Photographing in Villages (Duration 05:20)

There are a lot of great opportunities to visit new places, meet new people, and photograph life in the villages.

Lesson 7: Landscape Photography (Duration 08:43)

Landscape photography can help you tell the full story of your safari.

Lesson 8: Processing Your Images (Duration 12:00)

After all the shooting is done it is time to download, backup, and process your photos.

Meet Your Instructor: Rick Sammon

Rick Sammon, a Canon Explorer of Light, has published 36 paper books, including Secrets of HDR Photography, Exploring the Light, and Digital Photography Secrets. Rick also has three apps on…


  1. I wish this class had come out sooner! I did my first African safari last month (Kruger/Sabi Sands, Chobe, and Hluhluwe-iMfolozi) and I must say that I missed some shots because I was unprepared for how close the animals were to the vehicle and how fast they move. Definitely not the same as in a zoo. An excellent class, Rick, and I LOL'd at the "mating lions coming towards you" story.

  2. Thanks Rick, lots of valuable information and tips indeed. Just one comment, maybe in the coming classes you might think of making the course more active by going in the field and then combine the processed photos in the field videos. I think this way would be more interesting than the static presentation.

    • Thank you. That was the original plan... but things changed...... I am going to Kenya in August and will shoot some more videos. Stay tuned and thank you again.

  3. I heard one or two useful points but overall, this course is distinctly mediocre. To start with, I was left scratching my head at the pretty unexceptional quality of Rick's photographs. A quick scan through, say, 500px will readily reveal scads of *vastly* technically and creatively superior photographs from individuals who don't claim to be professionals let alone qualified instructors on an education site of this repute. And when one reviews the work of those who actually (like Rick) claim some expertise, I just find this instructor's work to be *way* short of excellent. In the entire instructional portfolio, he showed perhaps TWO photographs which I would be proud to call my own. And I am FAR from claiming any authority in the field of safari photography. The quality of his advice is further called into question when he starts off with such alarmingly erroneous information as his warning to travellers about the perils of contracting smallpox in Africa. Smallpox??? Come on Mr. Sammon, it's 2014, perpetuating misinformation as absurd as this scrap leaves you open to the suspicion that you're a more comfortable with disseminating the same tiresome traditional stereotypes about "The Dark Continent" than with opening your eyes and ears and actually learning SOMETHING about the countries you visit. I was also puzzled by the advice about long lenses and weight restrictions. In almost three weeks of trudging around Kenya and Tanzania last year, I carried as many lenses and accessories as Mr. Sammon advises AND a 500 mm f/4 lens. Did not experience the problems with luggage restrictions that the author describes. Overall, I found this course to offer a smattering of tips for the rank novice. People who start out expecting to take National Geographic-quality photos with their BlackBerrys have much to gain from this course; the instructor's advice will certainly disabuse their minds of such notions. For anyone who's a little more comfortable with SLR's and who has shot any nature shots i.e., who does not need to be told (as Mr. Sammon earnestly declaims) "You should not shoot in Programme mode!", this course is far from the most useful I've read or heard.

    • Yikes. I goofed about the smallpox. I do the class without any notes and meant to say yellow fever.

  4. Hey As my dad used to say, "To each his own." That said.... First, the term you used to describe Africa is offensive to some. I would delete the comment if I were you. Second, as Chris Klapheke, owner of says: For your camera gear, choose a lightweight pack made for safaris such as the Gura Gear Bataflae series. Many airlines and trip operators have strict weight requirements, so make sure to check your limits and pack light! Small planes do have weight limits. It's possible that a large, heavy bag could be on the next flight. Any experienced safari goer will tell you that. Third, About my pictures... As I mention in the class, luck is important. I guess you had better luck than I had. Fourth, please send us a link to your pictures, including your people pictures, which are part of the story telling. Fifth, I see you were there for 3 weeks. That's longer than most people can afford. My trips have been 1 week. Sixth, Africa is not a zoo. You get what you get. Putting together a collage of 500px image is certainly not a representation of what someone will see on a standard photo safari. For me, honesty is the best policy. Seventh - I am glad the other hear enjoyed the class. Eight, the course was designed for the first-time safari goer - not the likes of my friend Jonathan Scott, host of Big Cat Diary. FYI: I am shooting with him next week. Thank you, Rick

  5. Hey Everyone - Here is another video from my September 2014 trip to the Masai Mara:

  6. Hello Everyone - Here is another video - this one on photographing a culture while on safari: Enjoy! Rick

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