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Photography in the Galapagos: What Wonders Await Your Lens?

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La Pinta Eastern Tour - Galapagos Photography

Become an Expert in Galapagos Photography

When you arrive in the Galapagos Islands, many opportunities for Galapagos photography await. With its breathtaking scenery, abundant wildlife that wanders freely around every rock, hospitable natives, and countless breathtaking sunsets, the Galapagos Islands provide a unique photographic experience. Keep your camera close, whether it’s a DSLR, GoPro, or your phone’s camera, because you will undoubtedly see many worthwhile shooting situations. To ensure you know what to photograph (without upsetting the fragile environment of the archipelago), keep in mind the following advice and a few guidelines specific to Galapagos National Park.

Otherworldly sceneries

Galapagos photography: Galapagos islands landscape
Galapagos photography: Galapagos islands landscape

When you return home from your Galapagos vacation, we will undoubtedly run out of words. The Galapagos Islands are a destination whose tale can only be fully captured in photographs, with their strange scenery and bizarre wildlife. You will be unable to convey only the sounds, smells, and sensations through images. Still, the islands are home to scenery that appears as though it was cut and pasted from another planet and, as such, takes up the majority of your Field of View when viewed through your viewfinder. Pack extra power and storage, not to mention your memory cards and battery life, to enhance your Galapagos photography experience! We strongly advise carrying a wide-angle lens because of the landscapes to get as much of the surrounding countryside as possible. Try to pack a fish-eye lens if feasible.

Approach with Care, Yet Maintain Your Distance

If you want to improve your Galapagos photography, consider the following suggestions. Regarding the preservation of the ecosystem and its fauna, the Galapagos National Park has stringent regulations. Because of this, even though you might feel tempted to come very close to the animals—after all, they won’t flee—it’s crucial to remember to keep your distance. Visitors are prohibited from touching or feeding the animals, and they are not permitted to wander off designated routes. Although it may sound excessive, stroking or feeding animals can severely affect their lives because humans can transmit infections and diseases to them. Animal puppies may be rejected by their mothers if they pick up on something as innocuous as the scent of humans. Thus, approach, but exercise caution in how close you approach.

Photographer’s Tip: Fast prime lenses are great for wildlife portraiture because they produce a soft background that makes the subject stand out. They also give a beautiful bokeh effect. Telephoto and zoom lenses are also highly recommended, as they will give visitors a closer look at all species that may be quite distant.

The Impressive Wildlife

Guest enjoying the wildlife and Galapagos photography on the lava rocks.
Guest enjoying the wildlife and Galapagos photography on the lava rocks.

Galapagos is well-known for a specific kind of animal life. People need to be made aware of how amiable this species can be. When we say friendly, we don’t imply that a marine iguana would approach you and want to be caressed; instead, we mean that they will live in peace and harmony with strangers. The majority of Galapagos animals are renowned for being fearless around people. None of them will be bothered by human presence in their daily lives. Blue-footed boobies can be seen flying around cities, and Galapagos sea lions lounging on the boardwalk at visitor centers and even within villages. Photographers can capture some incredible moments with the close contact that Galapagos wildlife permits between them and their subjects. No animal can “model for you” better than a Galapagos animal, in my opinion.

Photography Gear & Tips for Capturing

Galapagos photography on the beach.
Galapagos photography on the beach.

Both pros and novices are welcome to the archipelago. Still, it’s always advisable to be extra cautious when securing your shooting equipment, regardless of what you bring with you. The number of rainy landings and the unpredictable weather patterns across the archipelago make dry bags, cushioned camera bags, and weather-sealed camera bodies a must.

Any swimmer or diver who wants to take underwater pictures must have a waterproof camera. With its recent extension last summer, the Galapagos Archipelago boasts one of the world’s largest Marine Reserves and an astounding diversity of wildlife. You will undoubtedly want to take pictures of these islands’ unique marine life, from cuddly seals to massive whale sharks.

Note: Tourists are not permitted to use drones in the Galapagos Islands. Professionals must apply for permission to operate drones while filming.

Finally, here are some pointers:

  • Even if the animals approach you, you should always attempt to keep a minimum of two meters between you and them.
  • It is forbidden to take pictures using flash.
  • Never stray from the path.
  • Take care not to tramp on any vegetation or wildlife.


Start your Galapagos vacation today!

Updated:June 6, 2024

Published:May 23, 2017

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