- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Focal Press; 1st edition (May 23, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0240809343
- ISBN-13: 978-0240809342
- Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 9.2 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 437 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos 1st Edition
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"Beautifully presented with generous and helpful color illustrations, this book is a very affordable addition to the library of the serious photographer."--Canadian Camera (Feb. 08)
About the Author
Michael Freeman is a renowned international photographer and writer who specializes in travel, architecture, and Asian art. He is particularly well known for his expertise in special effects. He has been a leading photographer for the Smithsonian magazine for many years, and has worked for Time-Life Books and Reader's Digest. Michael is the author of more than 40 photographic books, including the hugely successful Complete Guide to Digital Photography and The Photographer's Eye. For his photographic educational work he was awarded the Prix Louis Philippe Clerc by the French Ministry of Culture. He is also responsible for the distance-learning courses on photography at the UK's Open College of the Arts.
Top customer reviews
The methodology used to discuss each of the subgroups is unusual. Verbal description are kept to minimum while the main points are illustrated with graphical explanations. The reasoning is that the discussion of graphical images might best be conducted using graphics. It works well once you get into the spirit of the venture.
The question remains of what to do with this valuable information and analysis. It is not likely that many photographers will memorize the essence of 80 compositional subgroups. Most will probably start with their present range of photo subjects and relate these photos to the analyses shown in the book. Comparing what they do to compose their pictures with the analyses shown by Freeman can help clarify their photographic thinking. Further, investigation of related subgroups can broaden their photographic thinking. They can experiment with new compositional variations and expand their photographic horizons.
Freeman's great contribution is in providing a comprehensive framework that photogrphers can use in many ways to help expand their visual perception.
Amazon, the kindle price is too high.
It’s ironic that a book about how to visually organize information is itself lacking in it. I assume that this is a problem specific to the Kindle edition, and although I am an unapologetic convert to digital books whenever I want to highlight or take notes, I find this book extremely frustrating in this regard. Problems include:
Frequent misspellings. This isn’t an issue with spellcheck picking the wrong word. Rather, letters are randomly missing from the middle of words, resulting in fragments that are not words themselves. It’s as if the print version had been run through OCR software that was not operating at 100%.
Missing spaces after periods. Not only is this visually messy and distracting, but it makes highlighting annoying because the software does not register them as separate words. You are therefore forced to highlight an extra word after the end of a complete thought.
Captions are out of order. They often refer first to a photo on a later page than the one you’re currently on, then backtrack to a previous page. The constant flipping back and forth makes for a clumsy viewing experience. This is how one set of them appears in the book:
Page 1: Picture A, Caption A
Page 2: Picture B, Caption C
Page 3: Picture C, Caption B
Spaces are also missing between all caption titles and their explanations. You can tell where the explanation begins because the title and explanation are written in different font treatments, but it is nevertheless irritating.
Page links in the book take you to the wrong place, as if they had not been updated from the print version to the digital one. For example, a link might refer back to itself, or tell you to go to page 76 but take you to page 1039, where the subject matter may or may not be relevant. If it’s purely text information, you can in theory look it up easily, whether in the book’s search function or on Google. However, you can’t just Google a random picture of a boat to follow along with the explanation of why “the photo of the boat” works. It’s particularly irksome when I’ve flipped 20 pages in either direction and still can’t find the referenced photo.
Photos are often too small. I’m not complaining about them not reaching an arbitrary resolution. I mean it’s actually difficult to tell what the photo is of, much less which part is supposed to be in focus and which part isn’t (when different weights / focus is the theme) because some of these photos are ' (or even smaller) the width of the text / page. Double-clicking to expand the picture doesn’t help, as it just pulls up a blurry or pixelated version of it. Even the photos that you can see could benefit from being larger; this book is about how to compose and design photos, after all. In this sense, it’s a bit like a manual with tiny images crammed in, whereas I think enlarging the photos would have given them more impact so that they could also inspire instead of merely instruct.
That said, here are some pros of the content:
There are entire sequences of photos from a single shoot, showing you the progression to the final shot. It helps illustrate what the author tells you he was looking for at the time. It can also be instructive for showing how you might try to find a better shot even after you’ve made one that you initially deemed good enough.
Gray-scale representations of some shots, with colored lines / arrows / crop lines overlaid to better explain the author’s point.
With regards to writing style, my personal preference is for something a bit more direct and concise, but then again, I have a science background where that’s the norm for our learning materials. We don’t have things that say, “X, Y, Z, or whatever,” but hey, another person might prefer the more casual tone.
There's a lot of information packed in. It's especially nice if you like having it all in one place, rather than having multiple books that address only a single or narrow range of topics.
Overall, I think this is a useful resource, but I am the kind of person who likes my information to be highly visually organized so that digesting it is very straightforward. The execution of the Kindle format was not that, to the point where I’m not sure I would purchase it again if I had the choice. The issues are glaring, and it doesn’t even feel like a single pass at editing was made once the information was ported over.