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5 Afrikaburn Photography Tips

Mathew Fregona

06 May 2020

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It’s clear from the outset that an Afrikaburn experience will reward you with some incredible images. However, as a photographer, it can be a little overwhelming. There’s fantastic content that already exists, so how could it possibly be topped?


Here are 5 Afrikaburn Photography Tips picked up or advised from previous years’ attendees and my own discovery.


A photographer whose work I had seen from the year before told me they didn’t touch their camera for the first two days. You’ve got the whole week to photograph. So, spend those early couple days immersing yourself and enjoying the experience. Not only will it help you orient yourself and decide what to shoot, but your pictures will be better for it.

people around daytime stage


Unless you’re staying in a well-organised campsite, you’re not going to have power. Take spare batteries. Hell, buy a solar charger if you can find one! You don’t want your camera to die on you.

musicians playing live at afrikaburn


If you’re not strictly a blue/golden hour photographer, you’re going to need lens filters. While midday light can be harsh, don’t waste perfectly good photo opportunities out of sun glare fear. Embrace it. You might capture one of your favourite images when you least expect it.

bicycles at sunset on the afrikaburn playa


The other prime time for photographs is at night. All the burning happens after dark, and you’re certainly going to want to capture the burning of the giant Donnie Darko rabbit that you’ve been marvelling at all week. On top of that, the mutant vehicles come alive at night. Many parade fairy lights and some even become dance-floors so, be sure to have this additional equipment to capture the Burn at night.

night shutter speed photo at afrikaburn


While you need to take your time before snapping, once you start – go wild! Having hundreds of images to sort through when you return to ‘civilisation’ really helps with the post-Burn blues. There’s pure joy in discovering images you took without a second thought which beautifully encapsulate the magic of this experience.


Most importantly, photographing at Afrikaburn is about enjoyment. Take stock in the moments where you’re conversing with strangers. Offer to send them the images you’ve taken by asking for their email or the postal address (a friend I went with sent her film photographs to the strangers she photographed). Photographing can be part of your gifting to people.


Some of my favourite images came from the moments in between. While it was incredible to capture some of the more remarkable things I had seen, it also encouraged real immersion into more minor moments like human kindness, meal sharing, playing, relaxing, walking and dust. So much dust!


For more information about other festivals happening in South Africa click here.