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Composition: From Snapshots to Great Shots [Kindle Edition]

Laurie Excell , John Batdorff , David Brommer , Rick Rickman , Steve Simon
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: £12.48 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

Now that you’ve bought that amazing new DSLR, you need a book that goes beyond the camera manual to teach you how to take those great shots. One key element is composition—the creative arrangement of components in the shot, and the way a viewer’s eye travels through an image.

With Composition: From Snapshots to Great Shots, author and photographer Laurie Excell starts with the basics of composition and explores how the elements of color, shape, angles, and contrast work to create compelling images. Contributing photographers, John Batdorff, David Brommer, Rick Rickman, and Steve Simon, provide unique perspectives on black and white, sports, art history, and other subjects related to composition. Beautifully illustrated with large, vibrant photos, this book teaches you how to take control of your photography to get the image you want every time you pick up the camera.

Follow along with your friendly and knowledgeable guides, and you will learn about:
  • Key camera features that affect composition, including the exposure triangle (ISO, aperture, and shutter speed)
  • Shadow and light and how to direct the viewer’s eye to your subject
  • Lines and shapes that create visual paths to points of interest in your image
  • The role of color—using complementary or contrasting colors—to add your own unique artistic expression
  • Spatial relationship and placing your subject within the frame for portraits, action shots, or landscapes

And once you’ve got the shot, show it off! Join the book’s Flickr group, share your photos, and discuss how you use your camera to get great shots at

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Now that you've bought an amazing new DSLR, you need a book that goes beyond the camera manual to teach you how to take great shots. One key component to that is understanding composition--the creative arrangement of elements in the shot, and the way a viewer's eye travels through an image.

With Composition: From Snapshots to Great Shots, the author starts with the basics of composition--such as the popular rule of thirds--and continues with exploring how the elements of color, shape, angles, and contrast work to create compelling images.

The book covers all key camera features that affect composition (regardless of what type of DSLR you have) including shutter speed's ability to freeze and convey motion, as well as aperture's direct correlation with depth of field. Throughout the course of the book, the reader will gain an understanding of composition, which will allow them to bring their own unique artistic expression to any situation whether taking portraits, action shots, landscapes, or events. Beautifully illustrated with large, vibrant photos, this book teaches you how to take control of your photography to get the image you want every time you pick up the camera.

About the Author

Laurie Excell is a professional wildlife and nature photographer. Her images have been published in Outdoor Photographer, Outdoor  Photography (UK),Photoshop User, Elements Techniques, andLayers magazines. She leads popular wildlife photography adventures in North America and is an instructor at Photoshop World. Prior to working as a professional photographer, Laurie spent more than two decades in photographic sales, helping pros and hobbyists decide which equipment suited their particular needs. See her work at
John Batdorff is an award-winning landscape and travel photographer who splits his time between Chicago and Montana. He is the author of Nikon D7000: From Snapshots to Great Shots (Peachpit), and his work has been featured in the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole. He loves the outdoors and traveling, and sharing his images with others. See his work and read his popular photography blog at
David Brommer is a New York City based photographer, who currently works as the B&H Photo Event Space Manager. Well versed in photography from pixels to platinum, David has built up a body of work centering on portraits of fringe society. David operated the gallery Suspect Photography in Seattle during the 90s and continues to explore new technology and old techniques. See his work at
Rick Rickman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning Southern California photographer with 30 years experience. His work has been featured on many covers of Time and Newsweek magazines. His project and documentary work has appeared in publications such as National Geographic, Life, Sports Illustrated, andSmithsonian. Rick has traveled the world covering Olympic competitions, wars, and political upheavals as well as innumerable social interests and events. His abilities cross over every photographic discipline, and his greatest motivator is the challenge presented by each opportunity. He excels in creating unique images that excite the eye and captivate the mind. See his work at:
Steve Simon has been passionate about documenting the beauty and drama of the human condition for his entire photographic life. The author of four photography books with works in major museum collections around the world, he has had solo shows in New York, Buenos Aires, Toronto, and Montreal, and his work has been featured at the Visa Pour L’Image Photojournalism Festival in Perpignan, France. He is on the Apple Aperture Advisory Board and faculty of International Center of Photography (ICP) and School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York. He has lead workshops all over the world, including Mentor Series, Macworld, PhotoPlus Expo, and Gulf Photo Plus in Dubai. His forthcoming books include: Steve Simon's Nikon Dream System (Lark) and The Passionate Photographer (New Riders). See his work at

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 20408 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press; 1 edition (17 Nov. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • : Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #622,164 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok for beginners 2 Jan. 2011
It is a bit hit and miss buying photography books if you are an intermediate/advanced user. You never really know whether a book is aimed at the beginner until you actually start reading it. If you are anything like me, you groan when you find that yet again, 50% of the book covers basic exposure, aperture, shutter speed, ISO and lens types... and then you get loads of stuff about the rule of thirds. Ouch!

This is a book for beginners, so the basic stuff I already know is there. To break my monotony, I was at least entertained by beautiful howlers such as

`Full size sensors generally have lower noise (which means more room for the pixels to spread out).'

Luckily, I have enough experience to know what that actually means (`As full size sensors have a larger surface area, they capture more light and are typically less susceptible to noise'), but I think some beginners would struggle to get anything from the original description!

I also found the technical description on colourspaces a little questionable. Shooting in a larger colourspace than your printer/screen can handle is a good idea only if you intend to post-process and are shooting JPEG. In that case you should be shooting in RAW anyway, and RAW doesnt care about the colourspace setting on your camera, leaving the decision of colourspace open until you export to JPEG/tif in post processing (via Lightroom/CameraRAW). None of this crucial information is clarified. Instead we get a glib 'a larger colourspace is always better' as the only advice, given without qualifiers.

Finally, I note that some of the example landscape shots are clearly High Dynamic Range, but the author doesn't state this...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very light on detail and misleading in places 6 Jan. 2013
This book is a collection of articles / chapters by 4 different American photographers. It offers a very basic insight into composition and digital photography (i.e. discusses graphics, photographics and colour), however it has some considerable flaws (in my opinion):

1. The first chapter is devoted to the masses of high-end Nikon gear that the author uses. Uneducated beginners maybe fooled into thinking that they need to spend thousands on expensive equipment to achieve well composed photographs.
2. The author that dominates the first half of the book is an American nature photographer, and the book seems too biased towards this, to the detriment of other styles such as photojournalism, surrealism, portraiture etc.
3. Many of the images in the book appear to be HDR, which again may mislead beginners who are unable to achieve the same results as the author.
4. It is very light on detail and substance. For example the section on White Balance consists of 2 paragraphs of very basic stuff. Most beginners would be left in the dark after reading this.
5. There is a fair amount of waffle. For example, the section on the "significance of colour" has a picture of an American flag with the sentence: "Red White and Blue convey a sense of patriotism"..... Errrm not if you're German they don't.

To sum up, some beginners may find some bits useful (especially if you are into American nature photography), but I would not rate it highly. Far too basic and shallow.
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3.0 out of 5 stars It's not exceptional 16 Jun. 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In truth I'm a bit disappointed. The book is ok but not exceptional. It's not the greatest "how to" get better composition in your photos book out there.
I want a book like this to make me want to grab my camera and start to practice with the new found advice. I didn't feel like that at all with this book. The style of the book might suit some, but not me. Unfortunately this book is dwarfed by The Scott Kelby and Bryan Peterson books. They ARE good and would be my recommendation.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indepth look at the composition in Photography 24 Mar. 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
So I bought this book in another store and paid way too much for it. I found that it was on Amazon at a great price, so I took the other one back. The photographs are beautifyl in the book. The pages & the front cover are high quality, and overall its a really interesting read.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars seeing images 22 Aug. 2011
By stephen
This book gives you the knowledge to see the image within the scence before you.
Helping you to take the picture that has the viewer engaged. Letting them explore the picture as you seen it. But rules should always to be challenged my the imagination of the photographer.
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