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127 of 130 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One worth buying
I'm not usually a fan of books by Michael Freeman but when I received this book, I was pleasantly surprised. It covers the basics concepts of composition in-depth with more clarity than his previous books.
The book covers areas such as; graphic photographic elements (horizontal lines, vertical lines, curves, motion etc) composing with light and colour (colour in...
Published on 3 Nov 2007 by Happy snapper

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't get the kindle edition get the book
Given this is a photographic book I was disappointed that the pictures in the kindle edition are such low resolution. They look horrible. I'm using kindle for PC so I would expect to see something similar to web page quality pictures. Given Kindle editions are very much in the same price category as the hard copy why should we have to accept a vastly inferior presentation?
Published on 6 Feb 2011 by Amazon Customer


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127 of 130 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One worth buying, 3 Nov 2007
This review is from: The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos (Paperback)
I'm not usually a fan of books by Michael Freeman but when I received this book, I was pleasantly surprised. It covers the basics concepts of composition in-depth with more clarity than his previous books.
The book covers areas such as; graphic photographic elements (horizontal lines, vertical lines, curves, motion etc) composing with light and colour (colour in composition, colour relationships, muted colour, black and white) intent (reactive or planned, simple or complex, clear or ambiguos)
The book has a great and careful selection of photos to support the text and clearly illustrate the concepts covered.
Don't let his previous books stop you from buying this one.
Enjoy!!
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249 of 257 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Single Volume on Design and Composition in Photography, 15 Jun 2007
By 
T. Campbell - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos (Paperback)
This is the best single volume on visual design and composition in years. Painters need a book this good. Freeman's earlier book from the 1980s, "Image," had long held the status, IMHO, of being the best single volume. His new book surpasses the older one by a significant margin.

Freeman is one of very few photographers, or artists of any ilk, who can articulate their art-related thoughts in concrete, accurate, analytical ways, and not in the jargon of so much of what is written about art that lacks any actual content. Not only is he an outstandingly gifted photographer, with dozens of books to his credit, but one who has mastered the grammar of images and is one of the few who can describe how and why visual phenomena work.

This is the most complete volume on this subject out there in terms of numbers of topics introduced and discussed at a reasonable length. It is also the most effective melding of the insights of current Gestalt perception theory with traditional design elements/principles in print. The first 60% of the book deals with the more concrete aspects of designing an image.

The last two chapters marry the other part of composing that is harder to articulate well: the message in a image, or the photographer's intent. Only in this book has an author attempted to define major categories of intent in making an image. And then categorizes the physical and mental aspects of how a photographer goes after, constructs, or recognizes an image - the process.

Throughout the discussions he introduces those aspects of digital imaging that a photographer can use to influence a picture's design. Perhaps the most powerful development is that digital in-camera and post processing technologies allow the photographer to apply to color images all those image control aspects formerly available only in the wet chemistry darkroom to monochrome images, as well as many more.

Make no mistake.... This is a book for readers. One cannot get all of this book's benefit from the illustrations alone, in the manner of so many "how-to" art and photography books these days that have pictures, but little text. But this is the book to which thoughtful photographers will return over and over for many years.

The only way it can be significantly better would be to have twice as many pages. It would make a wonderful textbook for any studio art, photography, art history, or art appreciation course in high school or college/university.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Single Volume on Design and Composition in Photography, 15 Jun 2007
By 
T. Campbell - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is the best single volume on visual design and composition in years. Painters need a book this good. Freeman's earlier book from the 1980s, "Image," had long held the status, IMHO, of being the best single volume. His new book surpasses the older one by a significant margin.

Freeman is one of very few photographers, or artists of any ilk, who can articulate their art-related thoughts in concrete, accurate, analytical ways, and not in the jargon of so much of what is written about art that lacks any actual content. Not only is he an outstandingly gifted photographer, with dozens of books to his credit, but one who has mastered the grammar of images and is one of the few who can describe how and why visual phenomena work.

This is the most complete volume on this subject out there in terms of numbers of topics introduced and discussed at a reasonable length. It is also the most effective melding of the insights of current Gestalt perception theory with traditional design elements/principles in print. The first 60% of the book deals with the more concrete aspects of designing an image.

The last two chapters marry the other part of composing that is harder to articulate well: the message in a image, or the photographer's intent. Only in this book has an author attempted to define major categories of intent in making an image. And then categorizes the physical and mental aspects of how a photographer goes after, constructs, or recognizes an image - the process.

Throughout the discussions he introduces those aspects of digital imaging that a photographer can use to influence a picture's design. Perhaps the most powerful development is that digital in-camera and post processing technologies allow the photographer to apply to color images all those image control aspects formerly available only in the wet chemistry darkroom to monochrome images, as well as many more.

Make no mistake.... This is a book for readers. One cannot get all of this book's benefit from the illustrations alone, in the manner of so many "how-to" art and photography books these days that have pictures, but little text. But this is the book to which thoughtful photographers will return over and over for many years.

The only way it can be significantly better would be to have twice as many pages. It would make a wonderful textbook for any studio art, photography, art history, or art appreciation course in high school or college/university.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best photography book of the many many I have read, 8 Sep 2010
By 
J. Jones "Jeff" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos (Paperback)
Having decided to get serious about photography about a year ago, I have found this book to be a true eye opener. Michael's clear pragmatic text with lots of pictures illustrating the concepts, really helped me understand how to take better pictures. What's more it showed me how to really appreciate photography and see why a great photo is great. Once you have got to grips with the functions of your camera, this book will really kick your hobby to a new level. It's very well structured with modules building on one another in a clear and logical way. At the same time it encourages creativity and exploration of ideas. I have read many photography books over the last few months and this is by far the best, both technically and in the humble style of the author who is not at all overbearing nor ego centric (as some authors are in this field, you know who you are)... As I read this book, I became increasingly excited at the insight and understanding it gave me of the art of photography. In fact writing this review has got me fired up to go and take some better photo's right now!
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68 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book, 31 Oct 2007
By 
J. Edwards - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos (Paperback)
This book is really hitting the mark. if you are serious about your photography and want to improve then this is a must purchase. The subject matter, the explanations and the photography are all excellent. I fail to see how anyone could not gain benefit from this book. And you will always want to take a look when you are about to photograph a new subject.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the best book regarding photographic composition, 7 July 2008
This review is from: The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos (Paperback)
I have always been skeptical about buying books that deal with photography either because there exist too many online tutorials which cover many aspects in detail or simply because the techniques each book covers are more or less the same rewritten in a different format.

This book by Michael Freeman though is trully a gem and a "must-have" in the library of every photographer.
It covers most photographic composition aspects in a great detail with perhaps images of excellence regarding composition, including schematic figures outlining and justifying the choice of the composition which exactly hit the point the writer is trying to make. It is printed in premium, relatively thick, paper with high quality images.

- The book is well structured in 6 main chapters beginning with the usage of the image frame, the positioning within the viewfinder of the camera and generally the placement of a scenery and objects within the frame
- Chapter 2 explains the objective principles of design and why certain photographs pop up from the lot if thinking is allocated to aspects such as Gestalt theory, Dynamic tension, patterns, visual weight etc.
- Chapter 3 walks us through the elements that compose photographs such as lines, shapes, focus, motion exposure and others.
- Chapter 4 highlights the importance of light needed in composition and its association with color.
- Chapter 5 analyzes the intent in composition, that is the purpose the photograph was taken in order to please aesthetically by teaching and explaining among others, planning, ahead thinking and reactiveness, simplicity and complexity in photographs, ambiguity etc.
- The book finishes with chapter 6 which in detail explains why process is so necessary prior to composing and shooting a photograph.

This draft description only outlines a few of the topics covered and by no means it can show the true depth of the book.
A small word of advice though. This book is not purely intended to teach basic rules of photography (although the writer explains topics such as the rule of thirds and HDR) but it rather builds and expands on some existing knowledge and fine granulates the art of photography through composition and design with the utmost intent to help the user develop the skills to shoot great images.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 22 Oct 2008
By 
Erik Norgaard - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos (Paperback)
This is brilliant book on design and composition taking the reader on a tour through graphic elements, colour, contrasts etc.

A lot of photography, but independent of technology: It's not the camera that takes the photo, it's the photographer. And this book introduces the reader to all the decisions a photographer makes, whether concious or not, when taking the photo.

The word "digital" should be dropped from the title, only four pages discuss techniques particular to digital photography, and then not.

This makes the book perfect for any one with a desire to improve their photographic skills - or eyes.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book... particularly if you're starting out on your photographic adventure., 11 Jun 2009
By 
M. Drayson - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos (Paperback)
If you already understand the basics of DSLR photography (in terms of functionality - ISO, f-stops, shutter speed, etc) then this is a great level to come in at. I've read a few other texts that are a little general and basically tell you how to use your camera in 100 pages or so. This book really makes you think about how to take the photos; what makes a really pleasing photo and how to think about many aspects of composition that are often overlooked.

I recently got into DSLRs and started taking my photography a littel more seriously because I started thinking about composition and what makes a pleasing, visually appealing photo. Sometimes i'd get a good one, mostly not and I found it hard to verbalise why - particularly when I saw other well composed images. This text - with wonderful pictures and visual demonstrations - has helped me address these linger questions I had and has no doubt helped me think much more critically about how, where and why I take photos. There's a lot in here to digest, but gradually you should take in board and it will enhance your photography no end.

A lovely book, well pitched and delivered with lots of appealing photographs and a critique of how they were achieved; a great price too.

If you understand your DSLR (or even a point and click will do if we're just talking about composition) and can shoot comfortably in manual mode, get this book!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't get the kindle edition get the book, 6 Feb 2011
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Given this is a photographic book I was disappointed that the pictures in the kindle edition are such low resolution. They look horrible. I'm using kindle for PC so I would expect to see something similar to web page quality pictures. Given Kindle editions are very much in the same price category as the hard copy why should we have to accept a vastly inferior presentation?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learning the whys and hows of good composition, 23 Jan 2012
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This review is from: The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos (Paperback)
As someone only just playing around with digital photography, I picked up this book as a complement to Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure to get me started and provide some inspiration. Neither book disappointed. Where Peterson's book is an excellent starting manual for people new to the world of photography, Freeman's goes into much greater depth about composition techniques.

The book is divided into 6 chapters, with each chapter further divided into sections dealing with a certain aspect of photographic design. Whilst some sections make reference to others, and in particular to photographs on other pages, in general it is possible to read this book piecemeal, skipping over bits that are of no interest, or returning and dipping into others. Each section abounds with example photographs, many also exploiting instances of photographs that didn't quite work to further highlight a point.

As many have already said, the writing is at times a little academic, and has the feel of being written with a photography or similar course in mind, but there is little that should prevent the average reader from understanding everything covered here. Freeman quotes a number of other photographers to illustrate his points, as well as dipping into other artistic fields to contrast the particular challenges of photography. One genuine criticism I have of the book is that Freeman sometimes describes certain features of (albeit famous) photographs that, perhaps for economic or legal reasons, do not appear in the book. Whilst said images can easily be found with a quick search on the Internet, it nevertheless detracts from the book's readability, particular for the novice this book is clearly aimed at.

Just to pick up on two of the most common criticisms many of the negative reviews have on here:

* the photographs are rubbish - whilst I personally find this to be pretty harsh criticism, the fact that not every image is a spectacular masterstroke is in my opinion one of the book's greatest strengths. These may only be 'ordinary' photographs, but by illustrating what makes them work it is easy to understand the principles being explored, whether focusing on the basic elements, perspective, timing, exposure etc. For instance, there is a photograph in one section of a house and a tree--an entirely throwaway image, one that you wouldn't normally linger to look at for more than a split-second--but its inclusion is used as an illustration of using natural elements of the subject as a frame within the picture.

* the book has no lessons, it simply describes why some photographs work - this is more valid criticism, and I think down to personal taste. I found the book's structure to be almost perfect - each section explored one particular concept, with a number of real-world examples used to highlight how this idea can be employed, and why this makes the photograph 'work' where a different angle, a different exposure, a different composition etc. failed.

Ultimately, with a value price tag, and Amazon's "Look Inside" feature, the buyer can't go wrong with this one. If you agree with other comments that the photographs should be nothing short of spellbinding in order to be able to learn from them, by all means look elsewhere. Nevertheless, this book's structure and the authorship, combined with ample photographic examples, make for an excellent beginner's guide for improving composition, and being aware of what is possible behind the lens.
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