We all have aspects of our photography we’d like to improve.
Although I do more street than travel photography, I found myself wanting to get better at the latter.
So, right before I took a trip to a minority village in China, I picked up something that could help me do that.
Written by acclaimed travel photographer Mitchell Kanashkevich, Transcending Travel is a photography eBook from Digital Photography School that comes with the promise to:
“give you the skill and inspiration to take riveting travel photography images, ones so striking your friends won’t be able to stop talking about and sharing them”
Which is exactly what I wanted. If you do travel photography yourself, it’s probably something you want too.
Having bought the eBook and practised some of the techniques it discusses during my trip, I can now tell you what I thought of it and if I think it’s worth you buying too.
This is my review of the Transcending Travel eBook from Digital Photography School.
Transcending Travel eBook contents
The Transcending Travel photography eBook features four distinct sections.
Beginning with preparing for your trip and ending with the action of actually taking your photographs, those sections are:
- preparation – helping you to research your trip and ensure you take the most suitable equipment for your needs
- composition – helping you to improve your photography by understanding framing, lines, depth of field, and more
- light – helping you to use light to better communicate and evoke emotions through your photography
- making photos – introducing a whole raft of techniques to help you achieve a varied set of great travel photographs
The full contents are as follows:
There will of course be some tips and techniques in this eBook you’re already familiar with.
Unless you’re a master of travel or documentary photography though, there will be many more takeaways in there that will help you widen your skill set, in turn helping you to improve your photography.
The photography tips on each page are very well demonstrated with the author’s own pictures, which show real world examples of the advice he is giving.
They’re also very nice pictures to look at in their own right, and help to reassure you that you’re reading the words of someone who knows what they’re talking about.
Next to every photograph, you’ll find the following information:
- picture title – what the photograph is of and where it was taken
- the Exif data – focal length, ISO, aperture, shutter speed, as well as FX or DX camera
- light details – natural light or flash, diffused, golden hour, and the direction it’s coming from
While I understand Exif data is useful and interesting to some, I’ll admit that I do tend to skip over most of it whenever I see it.
ISO and shutter speed don’t really help me to enjoy the photo, and they don’t really help me to take a similar one either.
Knowing the focal length is very useful though. As is the aperture, albeit to a lesser extent.
The most helpful information by far though was the note on the lighting. I found knowing the source – what and where the light was coming from – a great help in understanding how the photograph was made.
It was information that genuinely helped me when taking my own photographs afterwards.
Unfortunately, I think the layout if the book could be better.
I’m sure there must be a very good reason for the four or five columns of text per page. But it might have been a touch easier to read with fewer.
However, the quality of the content does more than make up for this.
What I took from Transcending Travel
I bought the Transcending Travel eBook just before I took a short trip in China, which meant I could put some of the things I learnt into practice straight away.
My two main takeaways from the eBook were to do with landscape photography, and environmental portraits.
I had always found landscape a little boring. Like there was nothing happening in the photograph. Yes, it’s a nice view. But is it an interesting photograph? Where’s the story?
My landscapes always looked flat, but this eBook gave me a new angle to try. And it’s something so simple I don’t know why I didn’t read up on it before.
The Transcending Travel photography eBook explained the importance of placing something of interest in the foreground.
It instantly gave my landscape shots more depth.
The second takeaway I got from the Transcending Travel eBook, environmental portraits, was a technique completely new to me.
A lot of the pictures I take of people in the street are done without asking first. Sometimes without them even realising they’ve had their picture taken.
Environmental portraits are completely different.
Portraits that use a person’s typical surroundings or possessions to tell their story, they really need the subject’s permission to be shot properly.
Making contact and asking was something I had to really force myself to do at first. Once in the groove though, I began to enjoy the interaction.
The result is I now have the environmental portrait in my arsenal, adding more depth and variety to my travel photography sets.
Transcending Travel – the verdict
Transcending Travel was really my first photography eBook. That means I can’t really compare it to similar ones. But I can give my thoughts on it as a standalone purchase.
To repeat my opinion from the top of this review. If you want to improve your photography, education is the single best thing you can spend your money on.
Classes and workshops are wonderful, but not always convenient or even available.
The Transcending Travel eBook was with me, on my phone, for every step of the trip I took shortly after buying it.
I read it while on the plane and train, made notes at the time, and was always able to refer back to it when I wanted to refresh my memory along the way.
If I hadn’t bought this book, landscape would still be something I ignore, instead of being something I’m now inspired to improve on and include in my sets.
Environmental portraits would still be an alien technique to me too, and asking people if I can take their photograph still something I’d be scared to do.
The Transcending Travel photography eBook isn’t perfect. As mentioned, the four or five-column layout could have been better.
But the content is very good, and the use of high quality photographs to demonstrate the points meant I found it more than just informative; it was actually inspiring, and pushed me to try new techniques for myself on that trip.
The photographs in this review, particularly the environmental portrait shots, would not have been taken with it.
Ordering your copy of Transcending Travel
The Transcending Travel photography eBook is available for instant download from Digital Photography School and is covered by a 60-day money back guarantee.
It gives actionable tips with all the information and visual examples you need to try to them yourself, and can easily be taken with you on any holiday or photography trip.
I took a lot from it, and will certainly be referring back to it before I next travel.
To get your copy today, go to the Transcending Travel eBook page on Digital Photography School via that link or the image below and follow the simple purchasing instructions for an instant download.
It’s a highly cost-effective and convenient way to improve your travel photography, widen your skill set, and come back from your next trip with photographs you’ll be proud to show your friends and family.
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