Ugly Hedgehog - Photography Forum
Home Active Topics Newest Pictures Search Login Register
Main Photography Discussion
Looking For A Book On Composition
Page 1 of 9 next> last>>
May 9, 2022 16:41:07   #
rdgreenwood Loc: Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
 
I'm an old photographer--I started in 1968--so when a student asked me to recommend a book that addresses composition, I was stumped. I've been photographing for so long I can't even remember where I learned how to compose an image. I'm not sure I ever read a book; I suspect that I just used my intuition.

I could probably write a book on composition, but knowing which to tell someone to read is not within my ken. Please think about this and let me know what you'd recommend. Thank you in advance.

Reply
May 9, 2022 17:15:51   #
User ID
 
rdgreenwood wrote:
I'm an old photographer--I started in 1968--so when a student asked me to recommend a book that addresses composition, I was stumped. I've been photographing for so long I can't even remember where I learned how to compose an image. I'm not sure I ever read a book; I suspect that I just used my intuition.
........................


The very thought of such a book is huuuuugely sad. Its also just plain disgusting.

You are some form of teacher. Show students the broad and shining path.

Reply
May 9, 2022 17:27:10   #
luvmypets Loc: Born & raised Texan living in Fayetteville NC
 
Bryan Peterson's Understanding Composition Field Guide.

I purchased a copy recently from Amazon. I have not read it yet as I am reading another book at the moment but this one is next. It's written by an experienced and known photographer so the information will be reliable.

I will have to disagree with User ID. Some people prefer reading to other methods of learning and they may also prefer a book so they can reference, annotate and add notes. Personally, I like books; something I can hold in my hand, take with me and make notes in. I know there are programs that allow you to have books on your phone/tablet/computer but a real book doesn't need batteries.

JUST MY OPINION!!

Dodie

Reply
 
 
May 9, 2022 18:08:44   #
User ID
 
luvmypets wrote:
Bryan Peterson's Understanding Composition Field Guide.

I purchased a copy recently from Amazon. I have not read it yet as I am reading another book at the moment but this one is next. It's written by an experienced and known photographer so the information will be reliable.

I will have to disagree with User ID. Some people prefer reading to other methods of learning and they may also prefer a book so they can reference, annotate and add notes. Personally, I like books; something I can hold in my hand, take with me and make notes in. I know there are programs that allow you to have books on your phone/tablet/computer but a real book doesn't need batteries.

JUST MY OPINION!!

Dodie
Bryan Peterson's Understanding Composition Field G... (show quote)

Im not against book learning. Im against treating composition like a subject, like a series of lessons as if it was some sort of a technique or a procedure.

Reply
May 9, 2022 18:32:24   #
MrBob Loc: lookout Mtn. NE Alabama
 
User ID wrote:
Im not against book learning. Im against treating composition like a subject, like a series of lessons as if it was some sort of a technique or a procedure.


ID and myself don't agree on some things but I think he is spot on concerning this topic... Sure, there are all sorts of books showing you rules of thirds, leading lines etc... but I think composition to me is a personal thing that comes from your gut and your mind when viewing something, and trying to capture whatever that feeling or message is what photography is all about for me. Just my personal opinion and I am sure we will prob. get into double digit pages on this one.

Reply
May 9, 2022 20:01:48   #
E.L.. Shapiro Loc: Ottawa, Ontario Canada
 
I disagree with anyone who proclaims that anyone who wants to learn about anything they have forgotten, never studied, doesn't know about, or wants to learn about should not endeavour to research, read about, attend classes or just asl advice about that particular subject.

True enough, some folks have a natural "eye" or propensity for composition, placement of objects or elements within a frame, and creating images that direct the viewer's eye to the motif of the image. Some folks may not have that inborn talent but can learn to apply certain basic principles. Some other fol may have the tale but it must be developed.

I am not suggesting that any needs to follow strict rules or draw diagrams on their camera's viewing screen but there are a few basic guidelines that may help the uninitiated. Understanding someof these basics may help in understanding all kinds of traditional and more contemporary artworks of all kinds.

Compositio goes further than proportion and placement. It has to do with colour, tone, space, mood, rhythm, pose, lines and more.

It's a hell of a lot more interesting than always discussing camera brands' filters, whether or not to post process or not sitting around and counting pixcels and worrying about diffraction!

Books? If you can find anything written by Gerhard Bakker- here is a link that you can research;
https://www.dyxum.com/DFORUM/a-tribute-to-gerhard-bakker_topic61122.html

An old friend of mine Fran Kristian wrote a GREAT thesis on "The Powe of Composition". He self-published a few editions and sady passed aya before it went into serious distribution. Ihave a copy. You may fine one online

Reply
May 9, 2022 20:13:11   #
AzatVi Loc: AZ
 
You might suggest Ansel Adams "Image"

Reply
 
 
May 9, 2022 20:13:22   #
Strodav Loc: Houston, Tx
 
Mastering Composition, The Definitive Guide for Photographers by Richard Garvey-Williams

https://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Composition-Definitive-Guide-Photographers/dp/1781450633/ref=sr_1_1?crid=38UU7KB0SAV3P&keywords=mastering+composition+richard+garvey-williams&qid=1652141572&sprefix=Mastering+Composition+Richard+Garvey-will%2Caps%2C81&sr=8-1

Reply
May 9, 2022 20:36:31   #
rdgreenwood Loc: Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
 
E.L.. Shapiro wrote:
I disagree with anyone who proclaims that anyone who wants to learn about anything they have forgotten, never studied, doesn't know about, or wants to learn about should not endeavour to research, read about, attend classes or just asl advice about that particular subject.

True enough, some folks have a natural "eye" or propensity for composition, placement of objects or elements within a frame, and creating images that direct the viewer's eye to the motif of the image. Some folks may not have that inborn talent but can learn to apply certain basic principles. Some other fol may have the tale but it must be developed.

I am not suggesting that any needs to follow strict rules or draw diagrams on their camera's viewing screen but there are a few basic guidelines that may help the uninitiated. Understanding someof these basics may help in understanding all kinds of traditional and more contemporary artworks of all kinds.

Compositio goes further than proportion and placement. It has to do with colour, tone, space, mood, rhythm, pose, lines and more.

It's a hell of a lot more interesting than always discussing camera brands' filters, whether or not to post process or not sitting around and counting pixcels and worrying about diffraction!

Books? If you can find anything written by Gerhard Bakker- here is a link that you can research;
https://www.dyxum.com/DFORUM/a-tribute-to-gerhard-bakker_topic61122.html

An old friend of mine Fran Kristian wrote a GREAT thesis on "The Powe of Composition". He self-published a few editions and sady passed aya before it went into serious distribution. Ihave a copy. You may fine one online
I disagree with anyone who proclaims that anyone w... (show quote)


Oh, my goodness, thank you for your comments. After posting and receiving one sane response and then seeing the issue become a matter of US vs THEM, I was beginning to lose faith.

While I decided that I wouldn't get involved in the back and forth that so often evolves from comments that were intended to be simple queries, your response convinced me that there are members of this group who can look at an issue with objectivity and draw logical conclusions.

I have never read a book on composition. When asked about composition by one of my students, I generally put my hand on my chest and say, "It comes from in here." But many people can't relate to such an abstract explanation. They want, and need, discussions of rule of thirds, negative space, leading lines, triangles, and on and on. As their teacher, I feel it's my job to point them to sources from which they can glean formal, more detailed explanations. It's a great thing when a student sees me hold my hand to my chest, smiles knowingly, and says. "Yeah, I get it."

But not everyone "gets it" so easily. Some people need more formal instruction. "Pedantic" has become a bad word nowadays, but sometimes being pedantic ensures that the baseline information is delivered. Sometimes a teacher has to settle for delivering the skeleton of a lesson and pray that the student will gain the understanding that allows the flesh and blood to be attached through experience and practice.

As I said in my original post, it's been years since I began my journey in photography. I didn't hear about the rule of thirds or leading lines or any of that stuff until I joined my first camera club; that was about nine years ago. By that time I'd had over a dozen images appear as magazing covers, had been in a gallery where I sold many photographs, and had been offered an opportunity to teach photography at a major botanical garden.

I'm not asking anyone to praise or even follow me. All I'm asking is "Do you know of a book that will give a neophyte some insights into good composition?" If you don't, thank you for reading. Now move on. If you do know of such a book, please share the title. Don't tell me what I can and cannot teach. All I'm trying to do is help someone become a better photographer even if he doesn't understand what it means when i place my hand over my heart. Use another discussion to air your feelings about what can or cannot be taught; I have a job to do.

Reply
May 9, 2022 20:59:20   #
rook2c4 Loc: Philadelphia, PA USA
 
Over the centuries, there have been countless books written on the subject. Keep in mind: Photography, painting, drawing - they all share the exact same principles of composition!

Reply
May 9, 2022 21:28:03   #
rockdog Loc: Berkeley, Ca.
 
rdgreenwood wrote:
Oh, my goodness, thank you for your comments. After posting and receiving one sane response and then seeing the issue become a matter of US vs THEM, I was beginning to lose faith.

While I decided that I wouldn't get involved in the back and forth that so often evolves from comments that were intended to be simple queries, your response convinced me that there are members of this group who can look at an issue with objectivity and draw logical conclusions.

I have never read a book on composition. When asked about composition by one of my students, I generally put my hand on my chest and say, "It comes from in here." But many people can't relate to such an abstract explanation. They want, and need, discussions of rule of thirds, negative space, leading lines, triangles, and on and on. As their teacher, I feel it's my job to point them to sources from which they can glean formal, more detailed explanations. It's a great thing when a student sees me hold my hand to my chest, smiles knowingly, and says. "Yeah, I get it."

But not everyone "gets it" so easily. Some people need more formal instruction. "Pedantic" has become a bad word nowadays, but sometimes being pedantic ensures that the baseline information is delivered. Sometimes a teacher has to settle for delivering the skeleton of a lesson and pray that the student will gain the understanding that allows the flesh and blood to be attached through experience and practice.

As I said in my original post, it's been years since I began my journey in photography. I didn't hear about the rule of thirds or leading lines or any of that stuff until I joined my first camera club; that was about nine years ago. By that time I'd had over a dozen images appear as magazing covers, had been in a gallery where I sold many photographs, and had been offered an opportunity to teach photography at a major botanical garden.

I'm not asking anyone to praise or even follow me. All I'm asking is "Do you know of a book that will give a neophyte some insights into good composition?" If you don't, thank you for reading. Now move on. If you do know of such a book, please share the title. Don't tell me what I can and cannot teach. All I'm trying to do is help someone become a better photographer even if he doesn't understand what it means when i place my hand over my heart. Use another discussion to air your feelings about what can or cannot be taught; I have a job to do.
Oh, my goodness, thank you for your comments. Aft... (show quote)



Reply
 
 
May 9, 2022 23:40:03   #
E.L.. Shapiro Loc: Ottawa, Ontario Canada
 
rdgreenwood wrote:
Oh, my goodness, thank you for your comments. After posting and receiving one sane response and then seeing the issue become a matter of US vs THEM, I was beginning to lose faith.

While I decided that I wouldn't get involved in the back and forth that so often evolves from comments that were intended to be simple queries, your response convinced me that there are members of this group who can look at an issue with objectivity and draw logical conclusions.

I have never read a book on composition. When asked about composition by one of my students, I generally put my hand on my chest and say, "It comes from in here." But many people can't relate to such an abstract explanation. They want and need, discussions on rule of thirds, negative space, leading lines, triangles, and on and on. As their teacher, I feel it's my job to point them to sources from which they can glean formal, more detailed explanations. It's a great thing when a student sees me hold my hand to my chest, smiles knowingly, and says. "Yeah, I get it."

But not everyone "gets it" so easily. Some people need more formal instruction. "Pedantic" has become a bad word nowadays, but sometimes being pedantic ensures that the baseline information is delivered. Sometimes a teacher has to settle for delivering the skeleton of a lesson and pray that the student will gain the understanding that allows the flesh and blood to be attached through experience and practice.

As I said in my original post, it's been years since I began my journey in photography. I didn't hear about the rule of thirds or leading lines or any of that stuff until I joined my first camera club; that was about nine years ago. By that time I'd had over a dozen images appear as magazine covers, had been in a gallery where I sold many photographs, and had been offered an opportunity to teach photography at a major botanical garden.

I'm not asking anyone to praise or even follow me. All I'm asking is "Do you know of a book that will give a neophyte some insights into good composition?" If you don't, thank you for reading. Now move on. If you do know of such a book, please share the title. Don't tell me what I can and cannot teach. All I'm trying to do is help someone become a better photographer even if he doesn't understand what it means when I place my hand over my heart. Use another discussion to air your feelings about what can or cannot be taught; I have a job to do.
Oh, my goodness, thank you for your comments. Aft... (show quote)


I am not a teacher by profession and of course, I never had any formal pedagogical training. I do, however, find that I can transfer my knowledge to others in a logical and unadulterated manner. I enjoy inspiring folks to work hard at their craft and take pleasure in watching them progress and succeed. In the army, I instructed people in specific aerial photographic techniques, but those were fixed and strict procedures, not art. I have presented many seminars and workshops for my professional associations and have trained many photographers for my own business and for other enterprises.

In my experience, I have learned that many folks resent teaching, making, or learning rules in art. Many feel those rules, formulas and procedures impair their artistry and creativity. My argument is that photography is a mixture of art and technology and a mastery of the technology is required to bring creative and artistic concepts to flourish. In terms of composition, I make this analogy- it is impossible to become a creative writer, poet, or even a good technical writer if one de not know how to spell and utilize the language effectively. Before one becomes a great musician, one usually needs to practice the etudes and the scales and learn the basic theory and harmony. You need to know the rules before you can break them effectively.

Of course, in professional commercial and traditional portrait photography there are certain norms that work. In business, you have to produce and create on-demand. There are certain guidelines that work and that one can access and fall back on if nothing out of the box works. The basics are the foundation, the creativity follows.

There are many good folks in this forum who continuously reach out and help others. There are others who act like ill-behaved middle school kids- I know, I was one of the- grade 7 was HELL and I was one of the head devils but, fortunately, I grew up.

I do firmly believe that good photograhers do shoot from the heart. Their personality and approach are reflected inthe work. At the end of the day, however, it is great to know what you are doing in order to come up with results.

Don't be discouraged by the trolls and nay-sayers. They come withte territory on the internet as they do in life!

Reply
May 10, 2022 00:19:42   #
MDI Mainer Loc: Mount Desert, Maine
 
rook2c4 wrote:
Over the centuries, there have been countless books written on the subject. Keep in mind: Photography, painting, drawing - they all share the exact same principles of composition!


And that's why, for landscape, the all time winner is Edgar Payne's classic Composition of Outdoor Painting.

https://amazon.com/Composition-Outdoor-Painting-Edgar-Payne/dp/0939370115/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3179A9DHVQVKN&keywords=edgar+composition+landscape&qid=1652156304&sprefix=edgar+composition+landscape%2Caps%2C61&sr=8-1

Sample Page Payne Composition of Outdoor Painting
Sample Page Payne Composition of Outdoor Painting...

Sample Page Payne Composition of Outdoor Painting
Sample Page Payne Composition of Outdoor Painting...

Reply
May 10, 2022 05:56:17   #
Peterfiore Loc: Eastern PA
 
Edgar Payne is the source...

Reply
May 10, 2022 06:28:39   #
tcthome Loc: Keansburg , NJ
 
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=photography+composition&crid=Z16YRSU5K7VI&sprefix=photography+composition%2Caps%2C83&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Reply
Page 1 of 9 next> last>>
If you want to reply, then register here. Registration is free and your account is created instantly, so you can post right away.
Main Photography Discussion
UglyHedgehog.com - Forum
Copyright 2011-2022 Ugly Hedgehog, Inc.