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.