I’ve been somewhat of a photographer my whole life. My first camera was a cool Polaroid that I was given when I was around 10 years old. I think I was inspired by my grandfather who was always in that common ‘grandpa-picture-taking-stance:’
- Standing slightly hunched over, with one squinty-eye
- Calling out ‘say cheese!’
- Pressing that magical red button
- Pulling out the magic photo paper, separating it (going back to the old Polaroid days), and, of course, waving it around to somehow ‘quicken’ the developing rate.
The image of our big smiles would magically appear. I loved it. And I had to have it.
Next came the fun ‘pocket’ cams of the ’70s and ’80s. I remember my dad’s Kodak Instamatic camera with that crazy flash cube you’d push into the socket on top. And then remember dropping off the film cartridge at the Fotomat in your local supermarket’s parking lot? Or even more bizarre by today’s standards: we’d drop the cartridge in one of those Kodak Mailer envelopes (being sure to select ‘doubles’ so I could share with friends and family!) and wait weeks for our prints to arrive.
I loved bringing my cheap 110 film camera with me everywhere I went and had many cat, tree, and ’80s hair-band concert snaps. Then came my first real film SLR camera (a Ricoh XR-M) in high school. Now it was an investment. I walked around the neighborhood shooting the leaves in the trees and house details. I couldn’t get enough of photography class in school where I got to create more magic – swishing photographic paper around in trays, breathing in chemical fumes in the dark room waiting for that latent image to appear.
I took photos for the school newspaper and one of my first after-school jobs was at the local camera store where I learned even more…and met my first boyfriend (the boss’s son, of course). Jump ahead 20 (gulp) years, and several cameras later, and I continue to make part of my living from freelance photography – mostly food and travel.
This week, I’m thrilled to review Darin Rogers‘ eBook: Capturing the Journey: A Beginner’s Guide to the Basics of Travel Photography. Like myself, Darin has been taking pictures most of his life, but before becoming a full-time photographer, Darin was a civil engineer in Australia. Darin understands how digital photography has truly changed the landscape out there for everyone.
“I like how it’s opened the door for so many people to be creative. The threshold has been lowered to the point where anyone with a good smartphone camera can do some really creative stuff. And the options for sharing that creativity are endless. On the other hand, because there’s so much good stuff out there, it can be hard for any one person to get noticed.”
My First Impression
The book is gorgeous. It’s big and colorful and jumps off the screen so much that I wish it was a coffee table book. At first, I had trouble focusing on the words, because the beautiful photographs kept vying for my attention.
I really liked the down-to-earth tone of Darin’s book and agreed with him on several points that I often try to make to others.
“You can have the most expensive, professional model DSLR and still end up with a memory card full of snapshots. Trust me, I know from experience.”
I love that he focuses entirely on technique and does not bother to get bogged down in the gear debate (something I also chose not to do in my Video eBook). He makes this clear straightaway.
“Creating good photos is often more about technique and vision than it is about fancy equipment. It’s true that certain equipment will give you more tools to make it easier for you to capture your vision, but it’s not always necessary. “
Darin covers tried and true “rules” like the ‘rule of thirds’ and ‘filling the frame’ (so many novices tend to shoot things too far away and are hesitant to get in closer/tighter), but at the same time leaves room for creativity stating that rules should just be ‘general guidelines.’
In his book, he reminds me to walk through the most important thoughts on composition, like angle and perspective, ones that for me are quite automatic, but always worth rethinking.
I love how he explains how adding people to your shots often adds interest and, even more importantly, can turn your photo into a visual story.
“And while the things we see can create lasting memories, it’s often the people we come across and meet that really make the trip.”
Now, back to his beautiful photos, as a traveler myself, I very much appreciated the captions telling me where the photos were taken. In many books, when photos are used as examples, they aren’t always captioned for their locations. I see now, that this is something I must correct in my own eBook.
“But life is in the details. I’ve mentioned it a few times already, but I think it bears repeating. I often have to remind myself of this, but slow down, take some time and pay attention to your surroundings and the little things around you. You never know what interesting stories you might find lurking somewhere.”
The last part of the book includes some great general tips regarding post-processing, editing, and presenting your photos. Once again, I agree with Darin and have become quite fierce of trashing all the pics that are simply just not good enough to bother saving.
“Don’t be afraid to be harsh. Unless you’re very sentimental, this first cut is likely to be candidates for the trash bin. “
In a Nutshell
His tips are easy to follow, easy to understand, and simply make sense.
I usually write reviews in the format of good and bad, but I honestly have no ‘bad’ to report here.
The book is full of excellent tips for the new-ish photographer, or a person that has been taking pictures for years, but has never really learned any of the basic tips of composition. It’s laid out beautifully, a pleasure to look through, and definitely worth the $10 price.
Click here to visit Darin Rogers Photography.
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