: Composition

 CompositionBasics: Photography – Composition

An accessible read that is designed to make newcomers to photography aware of the importance of composition. The text offers fundamental techniques, but does provide some food for thought if pros are looking for new approaches to tired shots. Digital Photographer Issue 53

Basics: Photography – Composition

Composition is one of the fundamental principles of photography, and Composition demonstrates exactly why this is. Inside you’ll find loads of ‘before and after’ colour examples that demonstrate how composition technique can improve your images no end.

The book’s author covers all methods for improving composition in a photo, from form, shape and perspective, to frames, colour and texture. What’s great about the book is that you could learn an awful lot by just looking at the images – this is always a sign of a good manual. Having said that, the text itself is very interesting, giving full background to every theory.

The reason why this book works so well is that it focuses on getting your image right before you push the shutter button. It would have been so easy to concentrate on perfecting an image using editing software but not so good if you don’t. However, this title only assumes you own a camera, so anyone will find it useful.

It’s clear that a lot of the thought has gone in Composition, and the end result is an informative and good-looking read. There’s a ton of helpful tips and pointers, and like us, you can’t fail but become a better photographer after reading it.

Final verdict Comment: David Prakel has presented an excellent account of what composition is and how it can improve your photography. Buy it now. **** Digital Camera Buyer, Issue 54

*****My kind of book

Prakel’s book on Composition is to-the-point, and yet still comprehensive in the way it treats the subject. He avoids the unsupported (hot air!) theories of composition spread in earlier times by artsy types, as well as some pseudo-scientific stuff about what “leads the eye” and so on. In easy steps, he gives a useful, informative and well-illustrated as well as well-documented and thorough treatment of the subject. David D Snider amazon.com customer review


You will be astonished at the impact correct composition can have on your shots. Composition is key to achieving great shots. Now you can learn all there is to know about the subject in one handy manual. All the boobs from AVA’s Basics Photography series, including Composition, are well organised and informative resources, leaving no area neglected. This one is divided into six main chapters covering topics such as organising space and time, and using basic rules to construct your own composition. Also included is an impressive selection of great works by artists such as David Hockney, Harry Callahan and Martin Parr. Combined with diagrams and comprehensive explanations, they demonstrate the principles involved in the successful composition of photos. Reading this book is sure to result in a dramatic improvement in your photography.

Creating a balanced picture – you’ll be surprised there is so much to learn
Diagramattic support – The more complex subjects are reinforced with diagrams and charts
Useful quotations – Vital info is provided in the form of quotations from pro photographers and designers
Carefully chosen images – The visuals are not only attractive to look at, but reinforce the body text perfectly
Full page inspirations – More unusual images take up the whole page, encouraging you to push your creativity further. Photoshop Creative Issue 17

Just a quick note to say well done re the book.  It looks excellent and reads very well. Personal email from John Darwell (Contemporary British Photographer)

Basics: Photography – Composition

One of a series of books looking at the fundamentals of photography – the other four titles cover lighting, process, colour and black & white – this neat little guide aims to improve the formal organisation of your images by addressing viewpoint, perspective, scale, texture, tone, pattern and colour.

Admittedly, I came to this book with reservations: having long held the belief that composition is an art that largely develops naturally, or not at all. However, I’m not ashamed to say that when I reached the last page I had been taught a lesson or two about the art of organising space in my photographs.

Divided in to six core chapters: the basics, formal elements, organising space, organising time, application and originality, Präkel’s offering is illustrated by a wonderful, and varied, selection of images from the like of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Dorothea Lange and the author himself. The design of the guide is incredibly user-friendly, though I did find the ‘how to get the most out of this book spread’ a little patronising – but I’m sure it’s the in-house style.

Perhaps the greatest addition to this book is the chapter on originality – it’s all too easy to follow the ‘rules’ of composition slavishly, but this can often be at the cost of nurturing your own person(al) style. Learn the rules, but don’t be afraid to break them! Tracy Hallett, Outdoor Photography, February 2007

Nice introduction to the basics of composition. With gorgeous photos, too. Ana Ulin – blog comment

I’ve been reading Composition by David Prakel over the weekend – it’s a great summary of the elements and practice of photographic composition. Present Moment Photography http://www.creamybokeh.com

Overall rating: 5 out of 5

Say Gouda, April 27, 2007 By studiorats, Santa Monica, CA

David Prakel’s Basic Photography: Composition is an excellant tutorial. The photos that provide examples to its methodolgy are truly inspiring. customer review from http://www.Alibris.co.uk

Basics: Photography – Composition French edition

Tres didactique: Debutant en photo, je pense avoir trouver l’ouvrage ni trop ni pas assez technique. Une notion, un article pas trop long, une photo commentée pour l’application directe, vriament bien!! Je recommande chaudement. Reader review http://livres.mysic.fr

***** Explained a Complex Subject Well: I am an experienced amateur photographer who has done work for school classes and I’ve also been offered jobs by the local newspaper. […] 
This book is awesome. At least enough for me to write a review. I bought this book after reading a review of it in Advanced Photoshop magazine, and it was definitely worth it. It is smaller than I thought in cover size and font size, around the size of a national geographic magazine, and much thicker. 

It covers all the details of composition from the basic everyone knows (but only very little about) like the “rule of thirds,” and goes on to formal elements of point, line, shape, form, texture, pattern, tone, and color. It discussing organizing space through balance and different aspects of its appearance, and even explains more complex concepts such as “negative space.” It goes into how each rule can be applied to real-world jobs and setups such as journalism, documentary, portraiture or advertising. Finally it sets you in the right direction for developing your own “look” for photography so that you don’t have to rely on mimicking others. 

Bottom line: The book is almost like a mini-course in compositional photography, and covers the conceptual and technical aspects of all, with plenty of examples from a wide variety of photographers, as well as famous photography quotes. The way this book is organized it reads like an interesting textbook and is immediately applicable to experienced photographers and newbies alike. Reader review – http://books.mysic.co.uk

***** Fantastic book: Despite the sheer number of photography books in the marketplace, finding one that defines, explains and teaches the basics of composition has been difficult – until now. David Prakel’s fine book explains the fundamentals of composition in clear and understandable ways, providing examples and definitions. Far from being a mechanical “how-to” book, Composition provides the building blocks that a photographer can use to build a style, or simply improve casual picture-taking. This book is a must-have for photography students, amateurs interested in improving their photos (like me!), or people interested in the art of photography. 

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Is there a six-star button in here somewhere? Reader review – http://books.mysic.co.uk

From AVA Publishing’s Basics Photography series, Composition is a beginners guide to Composition, the “second key ingredient for the creation of a successful photograph”, and includes photographic work by professionals such as Martin Parr, David Hockney and Dorothea Lange. Composition is a thorough yet easy to understand introduction to the subject, with explanatory diagrams, high quality images and relevant quotations throughout. It covers all elements of the subject, including information and advice on viewpoint, perspective and scale, how to organise and balance space, and discusses the formal elements of composition such as shape, form, texture and colour. While the guide is aimed at newcomers to composition, it assumes a basic level of photographic knowledge, and is a useful resources for all levels and abilities. A great introduction guide to the subject of Composition. Simple, without being dull, concise, yet thorough, and well-written throughout. Ideal for any beginner, or those wanting to explore the subject in more depth. Book reviews on http://www.ephotozine.com

  1. Halley Laizure says:

    Easily, this article is really the most informative on this deserving topic. I agree with your conclusions and am eagerly look forward to your future updates. Just saying thanks will not just be enough, for the extraordinary clarity in your views and writing. I’m signing up to

  2. Andrew A. Sailer says:

    I was searching for digital photography when I found your site. Very good post. Thank You.

  3. phillip christie says:

    I purchased your book on composition.What a great new understanding that it gave me of how to create composition. Photography is amazing when you truly open up your eyes and see the great earth the way that God created it. Thanks again for another great tool to help us shoot amazing shots.

    Phil Christie

  4. J’aime tomber sur ce type blog ! Je vous ajoutes à mes Favoris!

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