For the first installment of The Analogue Reader, we bring you a guide book from Lonely Planet which we believe should never go missing in every photographer's bookshelf! This Guide to Taking Better Pictures authored by renowned travel photographer Richard I'Anson is brimming with lessons that are valuable for every wandering photographer.
Travel Photography: A Guide to Taking Better Pictures
by Richard I’Anson
Genre: Guide Book
Edition: Second Edition
Year Published: 2004
As Lomographers, we know very well how photography and travel are most of the time inseparable. The need to go places often compels us to take good souvenir photos—which, as we are also aware of, requires a bit more photographic skill. This is where a good guide book comes in.
What better guide is there than travel guide Lonely Planet’s very own selection of noteworthy publications, among them some guide books especially dedicated to travel photography. Penned by seasoned travel photographer Richard I’Anson, Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Photography, the second edition of the bestselling book, boasts of more photos, better design, and updated information.
I chanced upon this book from the shelves of a good friend and fellow Lomographer, projectsnap. As an avid analogue traveler, I found this book very hard to ignore, and eventually difficult to put down once I got started leafing through its pages. It’s an indispensable travel photography guide, providing very useful and inspiring information right at the very beginning. The Introduction alone got me when it said, “cameras are blamed when photos don’t turn out and credited when they do. Cameras don’t take pictures, people do.” It jolted me back to the reality that rather than depending on my cameras and films, I should always put my photography skills (no matter how inadequate they are) in check if I want good travel photos.
Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Photography covers everything you need to know to help you become a better and more efficient travel photographer, minus the intimidating overly technical jargon:
1. First things first: Choosing the right camera, the right accessory, the right film. Aiming to be an unbiased guide, it even answered the perennial question, “Digital or Film?”
2. Taking control: A review of the technical aspects that we’re all familiar with such as shutter speed, aperture, light measurement, depth of field, and camera shake. Also includes tips on composition and taking advantage of various lighting conditions.
3. Being prepared: What you need to prepare before you travel, making trip notes, and taking care of your photography gear while on the road.
4. On the road: The who, what, when, and where of your whole trip, and how you can best capture them.
5. Back at home: Assessing your photographs, filing them, captioning them, storing prints and negatives, or if you want, selling your work.
Aside from being a handy repository of information that you can bring along while on the road, it’s also a gold mine of breath-taking analogue photos that do not only serve as examples, but also inspiration for pushing your creativity to the limits. The photos are even captioned with the equipment (camera, lens, and film or file size), shutter speed, and aperture used, so you can try to get more or less the same quality of photos. For these reasons, I believe this book best serves film photographers. It’s also a delight to learn that author Richard I’Anson himself still shoots film at this time and age.
The verdict? If you love traveling and you take souvenir photos all the time, then YOU MUST HAVE THIS BOOK! It’s handy, user-friendly, instructive without being intimidating, and above all, loaded with inspiring analogue photos! I think it also pays to complete all editions, the first published in 2000 and the latest published in 2009.
Here in Lomography, we are all lovers of all things analogue, in various aspects and varying degrees. If you’re one of those who prefer reading the analogue way, you might want to check out the rest of the articles in The Analogue Reader series!