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
If you’d like a short cut to the most fun, funky and cool things to do when visiting London and a host of other cities then read on for my Luxe guide review…
Let me introduce you to my new best friend – let’s call her Luxe girl. She’s petite and perfectly formed and she’s going to be our guide while we’re in London. She’s lived here all her life and knows all the fab places to go. Darling, she said as she greeted me with a mwah, mwah – we’re going to have such fun! She definitely knows all the best places and they know her – the concierges and the maitre d’s smile as they see her coming.
After all, you can’t do everything while you’re in the big city so why not just follow Luxe girl’s advice for the most fun, the most funky, the most chic and forget about the rest. Luxe girl’s pocket guide will fit in the teeniest designer handbag. No need to lug a heavy guide around like a tourist – you have the insider knowledge now.
Luxe girl’s already quizzed me on my taste and budget before suggesting where I should stay. For ravishing chambers evoking the age of empire with biedermier, steamer trunks, muslin and silk she recommends Anouska Hempel’s Blakes. For effortless casual English chic, there’s the townhouse of Portobello Hotel or if my trust fund’s running low I’ll head east for the Hoxton Hotel for buzzy contempo style and just round the corner from the arty White Cube in Hoxton square.
With just a miniature pocket guide to fit all her recommendation this gal is mistress of the one liner. As we sweep through the capital, she can sum it all up perfectly. Darling, she says – let’s start with brekky at Princi, a gorgeous all day Italian caff I know, then grab a picnic box at Inn the Park to eat it in leafy St James Park. For afternoon tea it’ll be full on macaroon madness with rococo cocoa at Laduree – then we’ll start the evening with a Bloody Mmm at the Grenadier before dining at Maze – their posh tapas are mini mouth marvels, not to mention the perfect garden view then we’ll head out east for funked and fizzy retro kitsch cocktails at Callooh Calloy. Boy, this girl knows how to eat!
But after all that deliciousness, we may be ready for some chilled out personal pampering. Luxe girl flicks her perfectly groomed fringe and taps her manicured finger nails thoughtfully before she whispers her beauty recommendations in my ear. We book our mini mani at Iris Chapple, buff up our trotters at Margaret Dabs and with a 30 minute blow dry at the Blow dry bar we’re ready to hit the town once more. We’ll save the impeccably luxurious Mandarin spa for the end of our stay when we need some serious recovery time.
But Luxe girl, I say – all this fun is all very well but I feel I should do the culture thing too – isn’t London steeped in history after all? No problem – she says. I suppose we should tick off the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey, but if we want to avoid the great unwashed, then I have a few lesser known gems up my sleeve.
For art in a stately setting we’ll head for the Wallace collection and try lunch in its pretty courtyard cafe or Kensington Palace with Di’s frocks on show and tea at the Orangery. For more contempo international art we’ll head for the Tate Modern beside the Thames and we’ll make sure to wear our flats, as we skip up Wren’s Doric column for a bird’s eye view at The Monument.
Perhaps we’ll take a break from the sightseeing with a stroll through the park – there’s Green Park, Hyde Park or St James Park to choose from, or spend a day at the Royal Botanic gardens at Kew. Or we could head for the markets – delicious foodie delights at Borough Market or fragrant flowers at Columbia Market.
Oh and don’t even get me started on the gorgeous shops Luxe girl showed me – just save up your pennies and be ready for the credit card to take a hit.
After my visit to London with Luxe girl I’m ready to throw away all those fat guidebooks with information overload. Luxe girl will tell it to you straight – what’s fab and what’s not. Luckily Luxe girl London has some equally stylish friends in cities all over the world who can guide you around their cities too.
Luxe city guides are $9.99, pocket sized and perfect for a stylish few days. The Luxe pocket guides are created by insiders for your city visit selecting only the very best, so you don’t waste your time on the rest -there are over 30 different cities you’ll be longing to visit.
And there’s more….
Limited Edition Boxed set
Luxe guides currently have a limited edition boxed set in a mouthwatering choice of colours Cerise, Chartreuse, Amethyst and Azure at $55 containing the five guides of your choice – strictly while stocks last.
And for those of you who can’t live without your mobile, Luxe mobile guides are available for a multitude of handsets and a year’s free updates sent directly to your mobile – cool or what? Choose from 7 cities including London, Paris and Rome – oh and there’s New York too.
So will it be Bali, Bankok, Barcelona, Beijing, Berlin, Cambodia, Chiang Mai, Cambodia, Dubai, Florence, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Istanbul, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Miami, New York, Paris, Phuket, Rome, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sydney, Tokyo, Venice? … the world’s your lobster as they say.
If you’re tempted, then head over to the Luxe City Guides Website to find your own personal Luxe girl to guide you around. Oh, and one last tip when visiting London – Luxe girl loathes weather talk, so shut up about your damn weather!
More fun things to do in London
I was recently featured on Tripfilms in their Better know a Member series and now they’ve been kind enough to nominate me for their April Film-maker of the month award. If I’m April’s chosen film-maker of the month then I get a cool prize of a tour or hotel stay on which I get to make some more videos for your pleasure.
So please, if you’ve enjoyed my videos and want to encourage me to do any more then please head over and vote for me here. Take a look at the video below that I made for the Tripfilms interview – I decided that doing it on video would be more fun than written answers – it is a video website after all!
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Hope you enjoyed my pearls of travel wisdom – please take a minute to head over and vote for me as Tripfilm’s April Film-maker of the month. If I win I’ll be sponsored to make some more travel videos for you to enjoy. Please cast your vote by 30 April when this month’s contest ends.