eBook Review: Powerful Imagery The Photographer’s Insight
There are two often repeated basic tenets of photography:
- Good photos tell a story
- Good photographers are always learning
Photographer Mitchell Kanashkevich’s pictures tell stories that are on par with the best photographers alive today. I was happy to have him be a part of my “What Makes a Good Photograph?” article over at Go, See, Write, and I was intrigued when I got the chance to read his new book, Powerful Imagery: The Photographer’s Insight.
What follows is my personal take on his book. Product was provided for this review, no compensation was received, and all opinions are entirely my own.
An In Depth Look at 15 Beautiful Travel Images
At 66 pages long and at a cost of $14.90 USD, Mitchell’s book examines 15 of his best photos by taking readers through every step of his creative process. It’s all laid out sequentially in an honest, in depth look at how each image was made.
Starting with Getting the Image, Mitchell discusses the story and background of his shot. Here he talks about how he gained access to his shooting locations, his goals for each image, setting up the light and composition, and overcoming the challenges of each scene.
Next is Creative Decisions in the Field where readers have a look at the exact shooting process undergone in order to capture the final image. This section is my favorite because it provides such a unique inside look at exactly how a winning photograph is captured. Not all photographers are willing to share their rejected images, but I’ve personally found that examining my rejects and why they failed is vital to overall improvement. Mitchell has done that for his readers by including 5 rejects for every successful capture. As you can see from the screenshot above, even his “rejects” are still quite good, and so it’s interesting to gain insight as to why he chose one image as THE shot over his others.
Lastly, readers learn about Mitchell’s Post Processing techniques. Everyone seems to have their own favorite editing software and techniques, and so this section is more of a broad discussion of the goals and key steps involved in editing his chosen image. Before and after shots are included, showing the difference between the unedited and final versions. Often these differences are subtle, flying in the face of many popular HDRs and otherwise overedited images today. This is one of the reasons Mitchell is among my favorite photographers: his images don’t need an excess amount of editing. Instead he takes good pictures that really stand alone as good pictures, and he uses editing to make them better.
Overall I think this is a product that’s well worth the small $14.90 investment. I’ve long said that the best way to learn to be a better photographer is to focus less on the technical side and more on the artistic elements. One of my favorite quotes from the book is,
“I often find that there simply isn’t enough time to change all the dials to the optimal settings for a particular scene. Sometimes the settings I use depend on what was dialed in previously.”
This quote says everything about why I like this book. Instead of getting bogged down in the technical details of pixel perfect perfection (of which I’m sure Mitchell is well versed nonetheless), the book unabashedly tells us that the technical stuff barely even matters when the scene is a good one. I agree entirely.
I would have no problem telling you if this book didn’t live up to my hopes and expectations, but I’m happy to say that it did. I think this is one of the best books out there for taking better pictures for one simple reason: it focuses on taking pictures. It cuts out all the fluff and page filling nonsense that’s common in books today, and it gets right to the point. You can learn more about this book here: Eyevoyage / Powerful Imagery