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68 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book you can get about composing!
This is a cut-paste review taken form my blog at [...]
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I have been recommending the book Understanding Exposure via my Amazon affiliated link for a while now. This is far from being an original suggestion since this book must be on every photographer's blog I know. Still, this is a mandatory reading and I one of the best book to read when you...
Published on June 28 2008 by Alain Pilon

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars The book is full of information
I find the writing style to be dense and formal. It takes effort to read it. The content is great, but It reads like a text book. I often devour books in a day or two, but this one is taking time to get through. It is not a complaint because I feel like if I stick with it, it will be worth the effort.
Published 7 months ago by John H Watson


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68 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book you can get about composing!, June 28 2008
By 
Alain Pilon "Megapixelicio.us" (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos (Paperback)
This is a cut-paste review taken form my blog at [...]
----------------
I have been recommending the book Understanding Exposure via my Amazon affiliated link for a while now. This is far from being an original suggestion since this book must be on every photographer's blog I know. Still, this is a mandatory reading and I one of the best book to read when you are leaving the "green rectangle" mode.

As much as I like that book, I think it is time to share another book that I really like: The photographer's eye. I still have a few more pages to read before reaching the end but it has to be one of my favorite book so far.

It is not a technical book per say. It is never written things like: use spot metering and under-expose by X stop, etc. Yet, it has to be the most technical book I have read about what makes a good picture. There are a lot of explanations about how to approach a scene and how to exploit the color/contrast/lines to your advantage.

The content
One of the many things I like is the way each fact is justified and backed by a scientific concept. Sometimes the explanations might go a bit too philosophical for my taste but most of the time I could relate to them.

Basically, the author identified all elements/concepts that could be used to make a picture and describe their impacts. He starts with the simplest of them all (the dot) then building on top of it to move to more complex design (ex: curved lines). The approach works very well, especially if you take a break every few pages to go out and try this new knowledge. For example, after reading the section on framing, I gave a try to square aspect ratio (which is not that practical when you have a 2x3 viewfinder). It forced me to see my subject in a new way to make better use of the space. Now, when I am shooting a subject that is not suited for a 2x3 ratio, I instinctively check to see how it would look in a square frame.

This is just one of the many ways this book has changed my shooting style. Some of the other interesting topics covered are: framing/cropping, colors and shapes relationships, how to shoot with an intent, etc.

The pictures
This is not an art book, each picture was put there to illustrate a specific concept. The author has taken great care in his selection to pick images from around the world (with a focus on Asia) and often give some background information about them which is a nice touch. I also liked the fact that many versions of an image/scene are often used to illustrate a concept. Because, sometimes, pictures are stronger than words...

Conclusion
I got this book because I wanted to increase the artistic quality of my pictures. What I did not plan for was that my level of self-criticism would increase too. So Now I end up with a better skill set, but I am still aiming higher... I guess that is the only way to improve!
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent & succinct introduction to composition & design, Sept. 29 2008
By 
Robert Prior (Richmond Hill, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos (Paperback)
Ignoring technical details like f/stop, this book concentrates on the final image. What makes an image 'pop', and how to you take more photos that elicit "wows"? Moving past the well-known rule of thirds, Freeman covers concepts such as contrast, gestalt perception, rhythm, graphic elements, chiaroscuro, color relationships, intent, and other 'artistic' concepts.

You will need a fair bit of technical skill to take pictures like these, and the intent of this book isn't teaching you that skill (although Freeman has written his share of how-to books). Instead, this is about analyzing what you see and deciding what you want to make a picture of. I expect I'll be learning from The Photographer's Eye for years.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly explains composition, Oct. 19 2008
By 
Itai Danan (Canada) - 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, like me, you keep reading photography books and still don't understand composition, this is the book we have been waiting for. Here the ideas of what makes a composition strong and captivating are explained with numerous examples and case studies. This is the only book I've seen to explain composition in detail.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Photography Book, April 15 2009
By 
dlg (Ottawa, Ontario) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos (Paperback)
Of the half dozen photography books I've read this one is the best...a real treasure.

I am strictly and amateur photographer who enjoys taking photographs and admiring the photographs of others. When this book arrived in the mail I flipped through it and then read the other photography book I bought. I even wondered if I had made a mistake buying this book.

I was sceptical that his numerous diagrams of arrows and lines would be meaningful and convincing.

In fact most of his ideas are convincing--usually interesting and often exciting. He persuades by example, by solid argument, and the science of perception. Most of his abstract ideas are given substance by linking them solidly with concrete effects.

In his later book of top tips, which I bought for the technical sections, there is a hint of frustration to the reaction to his ideas on composition and design. I think he feels that he is being misunderstood and accused of having a cookbook approach to photography. But there is nothing rigid in his ideas. He is a great professional photographer who has thought deeply about why some photographs are so much better than others. He uses these ideas in his daily work--and he wants to share those ideas with others.

The book is structured around an analogy with language: setting, grammar, vocabulary and syntax. My inability to relate to this analogy did not detract from my feeling that the book's structure was carefully thought out and effective.

I was intrigued in the first chapter and then really hooked in the next two chapters. After a couple of short chapters with good solid information and good ideas, I found the excitement return in the final chapter. It ties the ideas of the previous chapters together with a few concepts illustrated by case studies. I was amazed by the extent to which his photography is goal-directed. He acknowledges the role of chance as in the example of the "girl with brooms". But without thousands of photographs previously taken with great thought and care, he would probably not have had the instincts to grab the moment.

There is a photo of a boy in a herd of cattle who is framed by a pair of horns . The image was anticipated before it happened. Good photographers have a way of making there own good luck. The cases studies of the kindergarten, Muslim cleric, and Japanese monk are fascinating and enlightening. They illustrate the experimental and goal-directed nature of the process.

The attention to detail in many of the photographs was very interesting. From arranging pearls to positioning a background figure in a display of Thai cooking, he shows how seemly random placement was actually careful thought out.

His ideas have already enhanced by appreciation for the photographs of others and will also help me develop my own skills. Great stuff.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!, Aug. 13 2009
By 
Mathieu Burton "MB" (Chambly, QC, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos (Paperback)
I was looking for a book to enhanced my photos, to better understand what differentiate a outstanding picture from a good one. This book was what I was looking for, really clear and informative about all the aspects of a photo. It is filled with great examples and the picture inside the book are really of professional quality. Great book!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Photographic design textbook, Oct. 6 2008
By 
snowstorm (British Columbia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos (Paperback)
I purchased "The Photographers Eye" to improve my pictures; the book did that.

"The Photographers Eye" is not a cookbook giving recipes and rules for better pictures. It is a textbook discussing composition and techniques for better photography, filling the readers head with ideas to use when the time is right.

The first half of the book describes photo composition, followed by a section on colour, and ending with two chapters on a photographers though processes. I found the last section fascinating.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book But Not Really My Style, Feb. 8 2010
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This review is from: The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos (Paperback)
It's well written by a great photographer and very comprehensive, but it made me realize that analyses of composition presented in this detailed manner for me is neither interesting or inspiring. I couldn't read more than a few pages at a time because I inevitably would start to realize that much of this I already know instinctively and the rest I am not likely going to remember or just won't matter when I'm about to press the shutter. I guess it's just too much information- like spoiling art with too much science. I would be content to skim through the book in one or two evenings, just reading the description at the top of each page or section, then looking at the images and visual examples provided in demonstration of that particular principle of composition, and say "okay, I get the idea" and then move on to the next section. Obviously from the majority of other reviews, the book is solid and extremely valuable, so I gave it 4 of 5 stars so as to not unfairly detract from it's score because of my own short attention span. But for me it's just not a cover to cover reader...my creative mind just doesn't work that way. If you are like me. David Duchemin's Within The Frame is probably a better choice for inspiration about composition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, July 14 2014
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This review is from: The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos (Paperback)
Complete guide to composition for photographers.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The book is full of information, Dec 5 2013
By 
John H Watson (Calgary, Alberta Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos (Paperback)
I find the writing style to be dense and formal. It takes effort to read it. The content is great, but It reads like a text book. I often devour books in a day or two, but this one is taking time to get through. It is not a complaint because I feel like if I stick with it, it will be worth the effort.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great content, Jan. 19 2013
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This review is from: The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos (Paperback)
I learned quite a bit from this book. It had great details about how photos are viewed and thusly how to compose in order to have the best impact with your photos. It was a little dry and tough to read cover to cover but sticking it out and reading a few pages at a time really helped the information be set to mind without the mind tuning it out. It contained great quotes from other photographers and a wonderful selection of images to demonstrate the matter being discussed. It's not a book about camera settings but more about how to create and capture an exceptional picture.
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