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Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Review: Digital Photography Composition for Dummies

Review by: Contributing Editor Melanie Beus


Digital Photography Composition for Dummies
by Tom Clark. A branded imprint of Wiley


The For Dummies series has produced another winner. Digital Photography Composition for Dummies is a sit-down-and-read-it-cover-to-cover type of book. This a literally a semester-long art class in book form dealing with all types of compositional instruction as it relates to photography. Another full-color publication, there are a multitude of images that emphasize and illustrate the lessons taught throughout the various chapters.

While most photography instruction books will cover composition in a chapter or so, writing an entire book soley on composition is something of a feat. The approach here is to discuss all aspects of photography; posing, lighting, lens choice, depth of field, as well as topics such as landscapes and action; and put them in the context of good photographic composition.

Early on in the book is a most helpful chapter on seeing. In this chapter is a discussion of how the eye sees and learning to see how the camera and lens see, thus providing a training of sorts on developing that all important photography "eye" for composition. The subsequent chapters move beyond the mere discussion of the placement of "things" in the image, but rather discuss relationships, shapes, forms and lines. The discussion is not limited to these aspects in a literal sense, but in an implied one as well.

With the book divided into parts covering the basics of composition, photographic design, arranging elements, and practical composition, the first half covers more the technical aspects. This includes rules, use of color, blur, placement of elements, lighting, and such. An entire chapter is also dedicated soley to backgrounds: Good, bad, recognizing good and bad, and dealing with them. In the latter portion of the book, the chapters discuss how these relate to specific types of photography, such as photographing people, action, and still life. The final portion of the book gives tips and ideas for developing and inproving photographic composition skills, as well as suggestions and inspirations for practicing newly learned compositional skills.

Digital Photograph​y Compositio​n for Dummies is a wonderful resource for anyone looking to improve their photography, at any level. And containing literally a course-full of information, it costs only a tiny fraction of the cost of taking an actual course.

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