Thursday, June 24, 2010

Recommended Reading - Composition

I have a couple of book shelves filled with various books I have read on the many different aspects of photography.

A lot of new photographers aren't aware of many of those books so I decided it would be helpful to let people know about them.

My book collection covers several different aspects of photography:

  • Technical - dealing with things like the exposure triad: aperture, ISO, and shutter speed.
  • Artistic -  dealing with things like composition, lighting, and posing.
  • Business - for things like photography business forms, contracts, releases, best practices.
  • Image Editing - From digital asset management to work flow.
So I'll start with the books that will have the most immediate impact on the quality of the images you make - the books that speak about some of the basic artistic aspects of photography.

Composition is probably the most important artistic part of making a photograph really pleasing to look at.

According to, the six main photographic composition techniques are:

  • Simplicity (photography)
  • Symmetrical balance
  • Asymmetrical balance
  • Radial balance
  • Rule of thirds
  • Framing (photography)
The following two books cover various aspects of those 6 main techniques:

First up is Picture This: How Pictures Work - by Molly Bang.

Molly Bang took a really simple approach to illustrating how the composition of pictures can be used by the image maker to guide a viewers eye through a picture.

Molly's book is a great introduction into the basics of image composition and is very easy to follow.

Next is The Photographers Eye, Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos - by Michael Freeman.

Michael Freeman's book covers essentially the same ground as the previous book, but in more detail. The book is printed in a larger format and has more real world examples of the techniques that make well composed images a pleasure to look at over and over again.

These two books will help you learn to compose compelling images that your friends and family will just love to look at.

Happy shooting! ♠

Where everyone learns Photoshop - National Association of Photoshop Professionals