Books we like: Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Photography (4th edition)

The subtitle at the back of Richard l’Anson’s book is “return from your travels with the pictures you’ve always wanted”. While I haven’t been able yet to put to test everything I have learned in this book, I can say for sure that it provides many ideas and a lot of inspiration for travel photography. At the same time, it is a comprehensive guide to the basic techniques of the craft.

Lonely Planet's Guide to Travel Photography is fully packed with easy-to-read shooting tips for all typical travel images.

Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Photography is fully packed with easy-to-read shooting tips for all typical travel images.

I bought this book after reading a review on The Little Girl in Boots‘ blog. My hope was that the author would not only explain the basics of photography but also address topics specific to travel photography such as composition when time or space are tight, photographing people and choosing the right gear for each trip.

The book is divided into four main chapters: Getting Started, The Art of Photography, The Subjects and Back at Home. The first chapter covers the basics about digital and film photography and includes a buying guide for digital cameras. Since I already own a camera, I was happy that the book did not convince me that I needed another one. This first part however does look very useful for beginners and for those thinking to upgrade their camera system. Also included in the first chapter is a massive set of advice on how to plan and prepare a trip if the goal is to get the best possible pictures. This includes prior research about your destination, the compilation of a list of mandatory pictures, camera care, advice how to keep your friends/family happy while you are hunting images, and many many things more.

The second chapter covers the basics of photography such as image composition, exposure and making the best possible use of the existing light. The chapter is full of illustrative (and often stunning) pictures and the camera settings are noted next to each of them. I discovered several techniques in this chapter that I want to try as soon as I can; especially exposure time is something that I have not experimented with as much as I should have.

The third chapter, called The Subjects, is about particular classes of images travelers often want to take. There are tips about how to approach people, how to take pictures in ice and snow, how to go about in crowds, .., and how to build a portfolio that captures all aspects of your destination. It’s tons of useful information and I will read the corresponding sections again when I know that I plan to take pictures of a particular subject soon. There are again many illustrative pictures to serve as inspiration and explanation. I noticed here that some of the pictures are not quite as good as the others: the images with people on them, in particular those taken during festivals and big events are stunning as are many of the landscapes. The flowers however, as well as some of the urban pictures are far less inspiring. Another small minus point is the repetitive mention of the mantra that early morning and late afternoon light are the best. Something that I really liked is the mentioning of “inspirational books” for almost every subject (except that I have to buy more books now).

The third chapter is dedicated to travel specific subjects. People and landscapes are covered as well as food and special occasions.

The third chapter is dedicated to travel specific subjects. People and landscapes are covered as well as food and special occasions.

The last chapter is a shorter one that covers the work flow after each trip, from selecting, archiving and editing of images to the steps needed to eventually sell and make money from them. While I am far from getting anywhere near to earning money with my pictures, I do like that the information is included.

In summary, it is a very inspiring book with lots of advice for anyone interested in the subject of travel photography and includes many stunning pictures to look at.

Interested in more book reviews? Here is our list of travel-related book reviews.
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4 thoughts on “Books we like: Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Photography (4th edition)

  1. Hilary no tabi

    I’m interested to take a look! I, too, am tired of hearing about early morning and evening light. Of course! But it’s not always possible. Did it give any tips for harsh afternoon light or other perhaps undesirable lighting??


  2. the little girl in boots

    Such an interesting book about travel and photography, that gives more than basic advices. And the pictures are just stunning! About the light, I guess it is also what makes the biggest difference between an amateur and a professional travel photographer… Of course, when you are on holidays, you relax, and you are not running everywhere from 5am to 11pm to get the best shot! We could write a guide on “the lazy travel photographer”, on how to improve your photography without getting up before sunrise.^^ I am sure people would love it!

    Thanks for mentioning my review on! Can’t wait to read more on your view on other travel related books. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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