Capturing the journey – a beginner’s guide to travel photography – e-book review
If you love to take travel photos and want to improve your shots without getting bogged down in technical details or weighed down with heavy camera equipment, then this e-book – Capturing the journey, a Beginner’s guide to the Basics of Travel Photography could be for you. Read on for my review;
If you’re a regular at Heather on her travels, you’ll know that I love to use photos from my travels to add some colour and bring my travel tales to life. Even though I’m an avid travel photographer, I wouldn’t consider myself to be a very technically advanced one and my trusty Panasonic Lumix is invariably set on auto as I don’t really know what to do with the other settings. It turns out that this e-book from Darin Rogers on Capturing the journey, a Beginner’s guide to the Basics of Travel Photography, is perfect for enthusiasts like me who don’t want to be baffled by f-stops and exposure settings.
First impressions are of this e-book are good – the wonderful images hit you in the eye before you’ve even started reading the text and this e-book is gorgeous to look at, beautifully designed and full of colourful and inspirational images. If this book can get me taking photos only half as good as Darin’s then I’m sold!
In his introduction, Darin sets out his belief that great photography is more about technique and vision than about fancy camera equipment and as someone working without the benefit of an expensive camera and ten different lenses, this is music to my ears. This e-book is not for the budding professional but for those who want to take great pictures to share with family and friends, whatever camera you have.
The book covers a number of key photography topics such as;
- Composition – how to effectively compose an image
- Subjects – how to capture more than the everyday tourist shots
- Light – how and when to find good lighting
- After the photo – editing, sharing and what to do with your photos once you get back home
- Links and resources to help you find the inspiration, information and equipment you need to take better photos
In this section, you’ll cover the basics of composition, such as the rule of thirds where you divide your photo frame into thirds, both vertically and horizontally and then place the focal point of your composition at the intersection point of these thirds. Put simply it means placing your subject a bit off centre, which is somehow more satisfying to the eye. Another technique is to frame your subject within the surroundings and provide interest in both the foreground and the distance of the shot, such as the ice cave framing climbers roping up for the ascent.
The viewer’s eye can be drawn into the photo by the using lines such as architectural elements in buildings or other objects that create patterns in the photos – for example, the lines of a bridge running at an angle to the decorative iron railings underneath. Other trick is to vary the viewpoint – get down and look up or get up and point the camera down, such as Darin’s colourful shot of revellers, shot from above, enjoying a water fight at the Sonkran festival in Thailand.
In this section you’ll learn how putting people in the wide landscape shot will give a sense of scale and how to look for small details such a doll’s head in a clothing market or interesting colours and textures like the brown patterned crocodile scales against the mottled green water. When travelling there’s a goldmine of opportunity to be found in everyday situations such as the passing street traffic or in the local markets. Interesting people shots will always give a unique perspective on a place and Darin gives tips on how to capture them in a way that’s respectful of the people you photograph. I love the ideas for finding an unusual aspect to a much photographed shot, such as the photo of the stone horse with just a glimpse of the Eiffel tower in the background.
The best time for photographing landscapes or cityscapes is the golden hour of early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky and the light not as harsh. Mid-day is not the best time generally as the sun overhead will cast harsh shadows which are unflattering for people although there may be opportunities to capture contrasts of light and dark in the shot which could give interesting results. Cloudy days can also give soft light that produces great photographs as long as you can take shots that don’t need to have that blue sky in them.
Other tips to get a better shot
Darin gives advice about camera support that might help you avoid the shaky or blurry shot from a lightweight tripod, to a tripod that wraps around objects such as a pole or railing, or just a small bean bag that can help you get the right camera position. There are some other useful tips, such as taking a second to move away from any unwanted items that will distract the eye, like the rubbish bin or lone tree branch. Other useful tips are to make sure that your horizon is straight and change your camera orientation to suit the subject – although I for one can’t ever see myself reading the camera manual, however useful it might prove.
When you get home
The final sections of this e-book cover what you might do with your photos once taken and the importance of editing down your collection. In these days of digital photography we have the luxury of taking literally thousands of photos and then picking the best 50 for your album. I do this myself by choosing around 1 in 3 of my photos to upload to my Flickr account and then choosing 1 in 3 of those to upload to my Facebook or Google + photo albums.
There is advice on photo hosting sites such as Facebook, Flickr, Picasa and Smugmug which have both free and professional options for uploading your photos. From sites such as these, it’s easy to create slide shows and products and there are other online resources that enable you to make books and other products from your photos. Darin also includes a section with links to recommended photography websites for inspiration, reviews and camera equipment.
With plenty of jargon free tips and advice to improve your photography, illustrated by 50 pages of inspirational photos, I think this e-book is worth the $10 that Darin is charging. Capturing the journey – a Beginner’s Guide to the Basics of Travel Photography, is aimed at the beginner to intermediate photographer who doesn’t want to be dazzled with technical details and settings but wants to get better photos without having to invest in lots of expensive camera equipment.
However, if you are the sort of person who’s already read the camera manual, owns a camera with more than one lens or want to get more into the technical aspects of improving your photographs, then you’ve probably gone beyond what this book can offer.
I found this book offers loads of ideas that I’d like to put into practice in my travel photos; the idea of getting up close to the subject to capture interesting textures and shapes or of getting up high to get a different angle, as well as finding ways to make familiar landmarks look fresh again. Above all I love the colour in Darin’s photography which zings out and makes me want to get out there and travel the world.
If you are interested in Darin’s photography e-book, Capturing the journey – a Beginner’s Guide to the Basics of Travel Photography, you can purchase it here. The cost is $10 and for any books that you buy through the links on this page, I will receive a commission which will help support this blog.
You can also connect with Darin Rogers at his website, Darin Rogers Photography
You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey