Book Review: The Photographer’s Eye

Photographers Eye FreemanPhotography and design.  Maybe not two peas in a pod – but I think there are lessons from design that can be applied to photography.

Design, though, is a big topic – and can become overwhelming pretty quickly.  I’m no expert in it – but I think it’s possible to learn a few key points with a little elbow grease (at least that’s my hope!).

I’ve started slowly – first reading Slide:ology by Nancy Duarte – which is mostly business-centric – but a good overview (and leverages to the day job).  And I’m currently working through The Information Design Handbook by Jenn and Ken Visocky O’Grady (this one has a bit more detail).   That said, neither of these are directed at photography – and that’s where Michael Freeman’s The Photographer’s Eye comes in.

Bottom line – good book.  This one walks the reader through photographic construction materials that help build a final product – pieces that can be assembled in the viewfinder and some that can be influenced after image capture.  It also helped me put a fine point on some concepts that I simply hadn’t taken the time to study.

This is a fairly short read – only 6 chapters spread over 200 pages.  Each page is essentially it’s own section within a chapter – making it quite easy to read only a few pages if you’re trying to squeeze in some reading time.  Chapters include: The Image Frame, Design Basics, Graphic & Photographic Elements, Composing with Light and Color, Intent, Process.

I found Freeman to be approachable and detailed enough – given the scope of this book.  Yes – he could have been more technical – but he would have risked diluting his message.  He also nicely balances explanations with good photographic examples.

One nit – it would have been my preference to cut “esoteric methods of preparation” within his section on “Reaction” – as it didn’t add to his solid work – but fortunately – this is a very (very)  small part of the book.

Overall – if you’re looking for a primer on photographic composition and design – this is good place to start.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Photographer’s Eye”

  1. I agree, this is a strong book. If you just absorb a couple new concepts – worth the price or more. This one gets you thinking a great deal about what goes into making an image – as oppsed to taking a picture.


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