When you first take a look at Lonely Planet’s guide to Travel Photography, you will notice that it is hardly a travel format book. Although it is published in A5 format (148x210mm), its 350 pages make it a bit bulky and impractical for travels. It appears that the book is aimed towards both beginners, and enthusiasts who know their way around basic photography concepts, however, many intermediate photographers would argue the fact that a 90 page gear introduction is necessary, as it explains photography gear in too much detail, which is a topic that may be better covered by a general photography book. Beginners would find this section useful, but we simply do not think about this book as a beginners book. That being said, everything else about this book is top notch. Richard has an extended travel photography experience, and he shares it in simple and understandable manner.
Lonely Planet’s guide to Travel Photography is divided in four chapters:
- Getting Started – covering photography gear, accessories, as well as providing many useful tips for preparatory work that occurs prior to, and immediately upon arriving on the desired travel destination. We enjoyed the section titled “At your destination”, in particular the topic discussing photo etiquette. We regret that the subject there was so brief, as this topic is very rarely addressed, and we believe that a person of Richard’s experience would be able to provide a wealth of information, discussing at least some photography do’s and dont’s depending on each geographical region he has visited.
- The Art of Photography – an excellent chapter illustrating basic photography concepts such as exposure, focus, depth of field, rule of thirds, etc, and directly applying them to taking better travel photos. On top of that, you will find some very useful tips on how to get classical tourist snapshots of the iconic places, but also on how to use your creativity to capture a new angle on the already photographed location. Personally, I wish I had this book before I visited some of the more iconic places.
- The Subjects – if you are interested in a particular type of photography, e.g. portraits, capturing daily life, architectural details, or stunning landscapes, you will love this section. It is well indexed, making it very easy to find advice on how to shoot a particular photography subject, assuming you know what you are looking for.
- Back at home – photography is much more than shooting pictures, and Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Photography recognizes that. This final chapter helps you better understand the post capture workflow, including transfering, editing, backing up, and finally showing off your travel photos. There is even a small section on making money from your travel photos for those who are interested.
Travel Photography is a very complex subject that somewhat deviates from the traditional photography rules (i.e. shooting photos on home turf), and this book covers that topic fantastically. Everything you need for travel photography is right there: from preparatory work ensuring you will be able to take the photos you want, through on-location shooting tips, up to post processing advice, helping your photos to shine among many others. Although the book itself is a little bit bulky, it is a complete package, and it will certainly help you kill a few hours on a long flight to a new and exciting travel destination, while at the same time making sure that you will come prepared to shoot great travel photos.