Photography is easy. It’s simple enough to grab a camera, dial in some settings, frame up a thirds-type composition, and shoot, at least.
Making an impact by telling a strong story and is much different. If you’re not among the few who have this skill in their blood, it’s probably the hardest, but most rewarding thing you can learn in photography.
Photzy’s ‘Powerful Imagery’ ebook is written by renown photographer Mitchell Kanashkevich. It promises to give you a kickstart in the right direction.
Powerful Imagery is a medium-long ebook consisting of 15 case studies. In each, Mitchell picks an image from his portfolio that he deems to be educational and illustrative.
He shows us the circumstances of the given photoshoot, tells us about the story, the light, and the challenges he needed to overcome.
He teaches how and why he made the creative decisions that he made during the shoot. We get to know the post-processing steps (which are, thankfully, not very software-dependent).
Who is it For?
I recommend Powerful Imagery for fairly experienced photographers who need a methodical approach for showing perspective, telling a story, and making an impact.
Why Case Studies
In Mitchell’s words: “I strongly believe that one of the best ways to learn photography is by deconstructing photos that exemplify what it is you want to learn.”
I agree with this statement. Throughout the years, I have found myself learning a lot from case-study-type resources. It’s an efficient and motivating way of learning.
The ebook is formed of a foreword, and introduction, some additional notes, and the 15 case studies.
About the Creators
In his own words, Mitchell Kanashkevich is a travel, documentary photographer and a bestselling ebook writer. He constantly travels the world in search of images of unique cultures and stunning places.
His work has appeared in some of the world’s top travel and photography magazines (National Geographic Traveler, Vanity Fair, Lonely Planet Traveler, Geographical UK). It can be found on book covers, ad campaigns and private photo collections around the world.
While his work focuses on travel and exotic locations, the principles he writes about can and should be used in all genres and situations.
Photzy are a team of photography educators from all around the globe. I have previously reviewed several of their products, namely:
- Photographing Fabulous Flowers (Review)
- Snap Cards (Review)
- Advanced Composition (Review)
- Action Cards (Review)
- The Complete Guide to Long Exposure Photography (Review)
You can purchase the Powerful Imagery ebook for $19 from Photzy.
What I Loved
Powerful Imagery is, in general, a great ebook. I find it to be a great source of knowledge. Here’s what I liked about it the most.
Part of the purpose of this ebook is to provide inspiration to the reader. I think it accomplishes this entirely and flawlessly.
‘Creative Decisions’ Sections
Among all the other sections of the case studies, I’ve found this one to be the most interesting.
As a fairly experienced photographer (although nowhere near Mitchell), his approach for deciding on perspective and scene elements is fascinating for me.
In several chapters, it took a while for me to understand how he chose a shot to be the one final shot. I had to think about it a lot, trying to understand and pick up his approach. But it has always made perfect sense afterwards.
Needless to say, Mitchell’s images are not only great but fit the purpose of the ebook well. They all tell strong stories, and you can understand why they do.
It also becomes clear why the story is a much more important component than technical perfection in an image. While neither of the photos are technically wrong, some are quite grainy, not razor-sharp or have blown-out spots – but this all doesn’t matter. They’re part of documentary-style photography.
Focus on Mindset and Approach
Powerful Imagery concentrates heavily on teaching you Mitchell’s mindset. Besides the previously mentioned ‘Creative Decisions’ parts, all other sections will teach you generally applicable principles.
If you read and digest carefully, you’ll understand his approach well, and learn to see the world through his photographic glasses. Then, you can ask yourself in a situation: what would Mitchell do? And know a fairly precise answer.
You could choose to replicate his style and vision. Of course, you won’t be able to fully and authentically recreate it. But you can also choose to incorporate it into your own art.
After all, our vision is just a synopsis of everything we’ve seen and learnt before. Getting to know how other’s work and see broadens our own world.
Great imagery has never depended on gear, for the most part, as this ebook also proves.
Areas to Improve
There are some things missing from the ebook. Let me point them out. While they are not key to understanding the contents, it would’ve been nice to see them included.
Exposure and Composition Decisions
Neither of them are really detailed in Powerful Imagery. To be fair, there is exposure information added to every single one of the shots shown.
But you won’t learn the decisions behind those settings.
The same goes for composition. There are some composition parts in the Creative Decisions, but not emphasized enough.
Overall, the ebook might be too focused on storytelling, and not enough on other components of a powerful image. Including them would give readers a more concise, well-rounded opportunity for learning.
Almost every ebook I’ve reviewed had clickable buttons, at least in the table of contents. They are all missing from here.
This could be quickly and easily fixed.
Some shots from the ebook are made using various accessories. It would’ve been nice to see more detailed descriptions or illustrations of them.
There are no direct, comparable alternatives I know of. Please let me know in the comments if you know one!
Powerful Imagery by Photzy is a great ebook for those who want to step up by forming stronger stories and evoking stronger feelings. In my opinion, it’s worth its price, and probably more.
It gives you an inspiring and efficient way of learning, from a well-known professional. Check it out here, on Photzy’s site.
To standardise and compare our product reviews, we’ve decided to use a scored-based ranking system. To learn more about interpreting these numbers and how other courses measure, please visit our review roundup page here.
|Value for Money (20)||20|
|Ease of Learning (15)||11|
|Production Value (15)||10|
|Community and Learning Support (5)||0|