The Photographer's Eye By Michael Freeman
The Photographer's Eye, Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos, is a book devoted to photographic composition. This is an elusive topic which is most difficult to teach and equally difficult to master. While most photography books devote a chapter to composition, this is insufficient to learn anything more than a few basic rules.
Michael Freeman's book visually illustrates photographic composition with hundreds of images and many diagrams to dissect what contributes to an image's successful composition. The book covers elements of composition, design principles, intent and finishes with the process of choosing and creating well-composed images.
This 192-page book is clear enough to help people struggling with composition as well as those who already understand its basics but wish to improve further.
Photography involves technical and creative aspects. Of the latter, composition is arguably the most important. As a creative aspect, composition is not only difficult to teach, it is highly elusive for those who try to understand it. Michael Freeman, in this book, tries to organize this topic and keep it creative, rather than turn it into rules which stifle creativity rather than expand it.
The Photographer's Eye teaches composition using many captivating photographs to illustrate each point and various creative possibilities. Illustrations of shapes and principal directions isolate important elements when clarification is needed. A number of subjects are studied using multiple images to illustrate the impact of different compositions. To grasp a creative aspect like this, examples are needed and Michael Freeman supplies them in great numbers.
This book is divided into six chapters. Four chapters are devoted to aspects of composition and their impact on an image. The remaining two are concerned with translating intent and action into composition. This is very important because many good compositions exist for a given subject but not all communicate the same thing about it. Process is essential to achieving a desired composition, otherwise one may learn to recognize good composition but not the way to produce it.
Chapter 1: The Image Frame covers the intrinsic cropping of a subject by the camera and its impact on the image. On one hand, the interaction between the frame and subjects are explained. On the other, the photographer's interaction and manipulation of the frame are shown to also affect the perception of a subject.
The classic view of composition, although in much greater depth than usual, is covered in Chapter 2: Design Basics. Topics such as contrast, balance, pattern and perspective are well explained here.
Chapter 3: Graphics & Photographic Elements dissects images' simple constituents such as points, lines, curves, shapes and vectors. The impact of each of these elements are discussed in great detail, with diagrams to highlight them when needed.
Chapter 4: Composing with Light and Color considers the impact of exposure and color on composition. This topic is most often forgotten when discussing composition but its impact is not to be underestimated as a viewer's reaction to a photograph is highly influenced by both light and color.
A moderately short Chapter 5: Intent covers the relation between a photographer's message and composition. Composition is a representation of the photographer's intent and therefore this chapter covers one of the most important decisive aspects a photography.
The final Chapter 6: Process is the first attempt at helping photographers learn how to come up with an appropriate composition. This is an extremely interesting chapter that provides relevant advice to compose photographs given a subject, situation and intent.
Overall, this book is excellent in its treatment of such an abstract subject like composition. The text is clear and well-written, with an adequate amount of detail. Photos accompanying the text are striking, dynamic and varied to illustrate different aspects of composition. It is not actually possible for any book to teach someone to be a master of composition, but this one covers a lot of valuable ground in that direction. Of particular importance is the coverage of the process to find a good composition to represent the photographer's message.
Neocamera Blog is a medium for expressing ideas related to digital cameras and photography. Read about digital cameras in the context of technology, media, art and the world. Latest posts links:
DxO ViewPoint 3 Review
Review of DxO ViewPoint 3. Perspective, distortion and horizon correction software.
Nikon D5 XQD Review
Nikon flagship professional DSLR with 20 megapixels Full-Frame CMOS sensor. All-new 153-point Phase-Detect AF sensitive to -4 EV. ISO 50 to unprecedented 3,276,800! 12 FPS Drive for 200 JPEGs or 180 RAW. First Nikon DSLR with 4K Ultra HD video.
Olympus Professional Lens Roundup
Roundup of Olympus Professional and Premium lenses: M.Zuiko 7-14mm F/2.8 PRO, M.Zuiko 12-40mm F/2.8 PRO, M.Zuiko 40-150mm F/2.8 PRO, M.Zuiko 12mm F/2, M.Zuiko 60mm F/2.8 Macro.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Review
Olympus second generation base OM-D with an anti-alias-filter-free 16 MP Four-Thirds CMOS sensor mounted on a 5-axis in-body stabilization system. Speedy 8.5 FPS drive, full HD @ 60 FPS and a wealth of features in a compact and lightweight body. Offers a 2.4 MP 0.45" EVF with 0.62X magnification and 100% coverage, plus dual control-dials and a highly customizable interface.
Fuji X-Pro2 Review
Fuji flagship XF-mount mirrorless with 24 MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor. 273-Point AF with 169 Phase-Detect points. 8 FPS Drive, 1080p video. Dual control-dials, direct dials and a hybrid viewfinder in a weather-sealed freezeproof body.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100 Review
The only premium travel-zoom! 20 megapixels 1" high-speed CMOS sensor paired with a stabilized 25-250mm F/2.8-5.9 optical zoom. 50 FPS Drive, 4K Ultra-HD video, 1/16000-60s Hybrid Shutter, Post-Shot Focus, 4K Live-Cropping, Time-Lapse Video and more. Dual control-dials plus a built-in EVF with Eye-Start sensor.
Canon EOS Rebel T6s Review
Newly designed Rebel with dual control-dials and top status LCD. 24 MP APS-C sensor, Hybrid AF III with 19 all-cross points and on-sensor Phase-Detect AF. 5 FPS Drive and full 1080p HD video capture.
Canon Powershot G3 X Review
Ultra-zoom with a 25X optical zoom lens and large 20 MP 1" CMOS sensor in a weather-sealed body with dual control-dials, a lens ring and efficient controls. Captures full 1080p HD video at 60 FPS with internal or external stereo sound.
Best Digital Cameras of 2015
The best new digital cameras of 2015. Plus, find out which ones of 2014 still lead their category. Compact, Premium Cameras, Ultra-Zooms, Mirrorless and DSLR are all covered.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Review
16 megapixels Micro Four-Thirds mirrorless. 2.4 MP 0.5" EVF with Eye-Start sensor plus dual control-dials. 4K Ultra-HD video, 8 FPS continuous-drive, hybrid shutter with 1/16000-60s shutter-speeds, ISO 100-25600 and Contrast-Detect DFD autofocus system sensitive to -4 EV.