56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2006
Although surprisingly slim (in pages) the coverage of the basics of photographic design and creativity is very useful.
Topics are covered in a few pages with limited but relevant photographs showing aspects of the "design" under discussion. The exercises, although deceptively simple, can be very effective in achieving the stated objective - getting the reader to see creatively.
The book is a general guide to photographic composition and design. If you are looking for specific techniques on digital, photoshop or a specialised field of photography then look elsewhere. The writing style is clean and consise, making it a joy to read (over and over again).
A very good purchase if you are actually interested in creating images rather than collecting lenses!
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2007
Firstly this is not a book telling you how to take better photographs. That's the nuts and bolts you either are told by someone or, better still, learn by simply picking up a camera and playing.
This book is about how to see the picture...and how to see the same picture from a different view. For instance I like to shoot flowers sometimes, close up, but following an idea in this book, instead of standing over, or by the flower, I lay down and shot upwards and forwards, (I also decided to have the sun backlight the petals), the result was a far more interesting picture, and a picture that caught people as they looked,...'oh that's stunning' some kind person said.
That's the idea behind this book, to take what you know, and then say, but try it from this view. Like landscapes, always with a wide angle, but then use your telephoto to shoot detail. Or try a landscape laying down, so a mass of colourful flowers with a skyscape overhead.
I've been taking pictures for 25 years now, but this book did give me a lot of thought and many ideas that maybe some I once knew but had forgotten, and others I hadn't even thought of. So yes, this book is excellent.
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
If the measure of a good book is compelling readability, then this book is a good book. Two sessions is all it took, although of course it does have pictures.
And if the measure of a good photography book is inspiring you to go out and take pictures, then this is a good photography book. Even before finishing it I was trying out some of Peterson's tips.
What I like so much about this book is that it has enough "technical" information to be really useful, but not so much as to make it dry. The author clearly loves his work (and his wife) and communicates it with bubbling enthusiasm. He's "artistic" but doesn't come across as a moody, tortured soul.
I have some technical photography books that are highly informative but also dour and depressing. By contrast this book had me buzzing and raring to go. Highly recommended!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 27 November 2010
Having liked Bryan Peterson's book on exposure, I bought this one with the intent to learn a bit more about composition. Whilst it contains some useful tips and exercises and some good pictures to illustrate concepts, I'm quite disappointed with the book. Unless you don't know that wide angle lenses have a wide angle of view with a high depth of field and telephoto lenses have the ability to make big images of distant objects, you can safely skip the first 40 pages. The next chapter on the elements of design (e.g.line, form, shape, texture,...)is a lot better. It gets you to think about how you can combine some of the these elements to create dramatic and powerful exposures. The chapter on composition is the most practical one. It contains many tips which may sound trivial, but actually you rarely think about when you shoot your pictures: filling the frame, looking for the picture within a picture and arranging/rearranging your subject are just a few of them. The following chapter on "the magic of light" is too superficial and much better explained in the author's book "Understanding Exposure". Finally, I fail to understand the purpose of the last 2 chapters on the use of imaging software and career considerations. They lack content and have actually little to do with the subject of the book. In summary some useful tips and exercises, but way too light in content. A disappointment after having read and loved "Understanding Exposure" .
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on 24 March 2006
This is a very good book that encourages the photographer to carefully consider composition. It also has very helpful sections about why certain images work - such as the use of thirds, golden sections, S-shaped images, why the use of the right side is more effective than the left, looking for colour before composition etc.
The criticism made by bomanjee below that this is a good introductory guide for children only is totally uncalled for and ridiculous.
If there is a criticism, it's that the pictures are sometimes poorly reproduced - grainy, lacking sharpness and the colours are muted. I think this is a result of the printing which is a bit cheap. But the ideas the book discusses are invaluable.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 13 February 2011
This is an easy book to read and one I'd recommend to relatively inexperienced photographers who are looking for some pointers on how to produce more creative images - by which I mean how to find/see an image when one doesn't obviously land in your lap. The fact that it does not focus on digital image creation exclusively (the original edition having been written in the pre-digital photography era) has made no difference to me. Why? Because this is predominantly a book about human hardware and software (i.e. eyes and brains!) and, as such, it transcends camera technology. Mr Peterson's anecdotal writing style is engaging and the book is filled with lovely examples that include shutter speed, f-stop and focal length data (something I always find helpful). Reading this book won't turn you into a creative genius, but it just might provide some food for thought as you make your personal journey through photography. After reading this book I'd recommend buying 'The Photographer's Eye' by Michael Freeman as a more technical follow up.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 5 October 2003
When I first flicked through this book I was rather disappointed by some of the pictures whilst others were good. It was only when I took the time to read the accompanying text that I realised the purpose of the “dull pictures” was to provide the good images with context.
What the author has done is illustrate how by focussing in on one aspect of a scene, a stunning image can be created from an otherwise dull composition. Fundamental concepts such as line, form, shape and texture are covered and well illustrated. The author also illustrates well the properties of lens, aperture and shutter speed and how these can be used to emphases elements of a composition whilst removing other distractions.
Whilst much of the information is not new and may appear basic, its when you take the time to combine the elements and learn to consider the options available that you gain the real value from this book. If I could learn to implement all of the information in this book before I press the shutter release, I am certain that I would produce consistently impressive work. My work has improved as a result of reading and practicing from this book although I have found myself taking many more experimental shots of the same composition.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 August 2011
I bought the Kindle edition of this book and I am really disappointed with the quality of the images. Often, the fine details of an image needs to be visible in order to illustrate a point in the text, but with such low resolution images, it's just not visible enough. The Kindle version was also slightly more expensive than the soft cover book but I bought it because I wanted to take it along on holiday and read it on my iPad/Kindle app. So be informed, you are actually better off with the hard copy.
As far as the book itself is concerned, it's an easy read, informative and very practical. It also tells you what it says on the cover - how to 'see creatively'. He has some great ideas and suggests simple exercises that makes a lot of sense, not just in learning how to use your equipment in a very practical way, but also stimulating creativity at the same time. Put differently, if you are looking for a book on handling a camera (exposure, f-stop, shutter-speed, ISO and so on), be aware that this is not such a book, although it does teaches you how to make certain technical decisions in order to stimulate creativity. It does cover the use of different focal lengths and at the same time topics such as depth of field and perspective gets covered too. But the underlying theme, creative design and composition, always bubbles to the surface. Design concepts such as line, shape, form, texture and color is also discussed in a well structured way, each subject building on the previous one in a well thought out way.
The photography itself is of high standard and that is important in a book such as this because it supports the authority of the author. For that reason, I would recommend you buy the hard copy. It is really an accessible book, easy to read with good, solid advice.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 March 2015
I have several of Bryan Peterson's books and I thoroughly recommend them. He has a very readable style, there is a wealth of technical information backed up with photographic examples but the best aspect for me is the memorable way he has with words and phrases. I won't ever forget the correct aperture for a landscape photo where I want the foreground, middle ground and background in focus because I now know that f22 is the 'storytelling' aperture. This is just one example of many that Bryan P has given me and that he will give you. His e-books have links to excellent audio and video clips too embedded in the text.
If there's one message at all in this inspiring volume it's that there is always an interesting photo to be made whenever you are. You will find a wealth of ideas here to help you.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2013
This book isn't so much an instruction manual its more of a general guide to get you thinking about what you are doing. It has some useful exercises to help you understand how different viewpoints and lighting can affect the same shots. There are some great pictures in the book and for me probably the undertones of the book are the thingsI found most helpful, for example, you get an impression of how many pictures Bryan would take before getting the "one" he wanted... and that could easily be a significant number!
Its very easy to read, and certainly something I'll go back and re-read. I also think I'll probably have a go at most of the exercises - doubt I could have afforded to do them in the days of film!
I'll probably have a look at some of his other titles