The importance of Vision over Technique (Within the Frame Book Review)

Within the Frame by David duChemin

Learning about Photography is easy. There are plenty of resources online, from websites, videos to thick hardcovers and ebooks that cover every topic and genre, and often focus on the technical part, such as gear, camera settings and how-to’s.

But very few books actually talk about what fuels our passion and what vision drives us forward.

Personally, I hit a wall during my earlier days in travel photography. I became good enough to capture technically correct images, I impressed my friends and family (as well as some confused strangers online) but I also realized that those images I worked hard on capturing still lacked that extra element that made them memorable.

I hit a wall because I knew what I was doing without really knowing why I was doing it. I NEEDED to dig deeper.

Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision by travel photographer David duChemin was one of those rare books that I’ve discovered and lead to that eye-opening moment. It changed the way I see photography, which is less about technique and more about vision.

The book focuses on ideas, feelings, and questions. It covers the how and more importantly the why. It doesn’t tell you just how to take good pictures, it teaches you how to think before you take your pictures. It’s the equivalent of the “show, don’t tell” for photography.

The book is written in raw and honest words, in a very conversational style. David describes how to cultivate your vision and develop your storytelling by focusing on what’s within your frame.

What did I get out of it?

  • It taught me how to pause before pressing the shutter button, check what should be kept and what should be cropped out.
  • It taught me how to slow down, observe and be curious.
  • And, more importantly, it taught me to care about what I was photographing, whether it’s just a landscape, and object or a person.

I personally found the book to be engaging, visually inspiring, and instructional. It helps that David duChemin is also a fantastic travel photographer and the images speak for themselves.

For those curious about technique, there are still some technical guidelines and lens reviews to help you decide what tools are best to create your story. Don’t expect any check-lists though. The book’s going to teach you how to pick your gear by yourself instead of giving it to you.

It’s also filled with stunning travel images and the stories behind them. The EXIF data is included on each image, just in case.

If there’s any book I would recommend for photographers (beginners and advanced), it would definitely be this one.

It’s a perfect reminder that photography isn’t just about shooting gorgeous images, but also shooting with a purpose.



Disclaimer: the links to the book are Amazon affiliate links. Thanks for helping out if you’re interested in purchasing.