Composition: From Snapshots to Great Shots
- By Laurie S. Excell, John Batdorff, David Brommer, Rick Rickman, Steve Simon
- Published Nov 17, 2010 by Peachpit Press. Part of the From Snapshots to Great Shots series.
- Copyright 2011
- Dimensions: 7-1/2" x 9-1/8"
- Pages: 288
- Edition: 1st
- ISBN-10: 0-321-74132-3
- ISBN-13: 978-0-321-74132-5
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Product Author Bios
Laurie Excell is a professional wildlife and nature photographer. Her images have been published in Outdoor Photographer, Outdoor Photography (UK), Photoshop User, Elements Techniques, and Layers magazines. Her work also appears regularly on Audubon calendars and National Park Service postcards, calendars, and posters. She leads popular wildlife photography adventures in North America and is an instructor at Photoshop World. Laurie is also a moderator for the Nikon Digital Learning Center on flickr. Prior to working as a professional photographer, Laurie spent more than two decades in photographic sales, helping pros and hobbyists decide which equipment suited their particular needs. See her work at laurieexcell.com.
Now that you’ve bought that amazing new DSLR, you need a book that goes beyond the camera manual to teach you how to take those great shots. One key element is composition—the creative arrangement of components in the shot, and the way a viewer’s eye travels through an image.
With Composition: From Snapshots to Great Shots, author and photographer Laurie Excell starts with the basics of composition and explores how the elements of color, shape, angles, and contrast work to create compelling images. Contributing photographers, John Batdorff, David Brommer, Rick Rickman, and Steve Simon, provide unique perspectives on black and white, sports, art history, and other subjects related to composition. Beautifully illustrated with large, vibrant photos, this book teaches you how to take control of your photography to get the image you want every time you pick up the camera.
Follow along with your friendly and knowledgeable guides, and you will learn about:
- Key camera features that affect composition, including the exposure triangle (ISO, aperture, and shutter speed)
- Shadow and light and how to direct the viewer’s eye to your subject
- Lines and shapes that create visual paths to points of interest in your image
- The role of color—using complementary or contrasting colors—to add your own unique artistic expression
- Spatial relationship and placing your subject within the frame for portraits, action shots, or landscapes
And once you’ve got the shot, show it off! Join the book’s Flickr group, share your photos, and discuss how you use your camera to get great shots at flickr.com/groups/composition_fromsnapshotstogreatshots.
85 of 93 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Composition: From Snapshots to Great Shots (Paperback)This is a short, rudimentary book on composition, yet ironically, is poorly suited to beginners. There are a number of serious flaws with this book, almost all of which are related to some form of bad organization/editing. For a book that can be read easily in within one evening, it's puzzling why there are *five* different authors--and this chaos really shows. The majority of this book is written by Excell, but the last 4 chapters are basically random, disconnected topics that were just stitched into this book as if it was just filler material. Those chapters are not connected to the main text, can overlap in content, and are often just poorly written in their own right.
The first six chapters written by Excell are by far the best in the book. The photos are excellent, and I enjoyed almost every one of them, although there was very little *instructive* value that was offered. You can see that Excell is an intuitive and gifted photographer, although (at least in this book),... Read more
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
I don't know where all the positive reviews are coming from,
This review is from: Composition: From Snapshots to Great Shots (Paperback)I doubt I'll be able to finish reading this book. I'm up to page 42, and so far all I've been treated to is a list of professional equipment the author owns, and pictures with descriptions that tell me "my xyz lens lets me do this" and "my abc lens lets me do that" and so on. It's been very tedious reading, and I'm not getting much out of it.
I thought I was buying a book to teach me something about composition. But a book that teaches you something is aimed at YOU. This book reads like the author's CV or autobiography ("and then I took this picture, using my jkm lens and my fizzbar tripod, and then I took this picture with my...").
Sorry, Laurie, this book isn't supposed to be about you. It's supposed to be about you teaching me about composition. And, lest we quibble over what the word "composition" actually means, the back cover of the book defines it thus: "the creative arrangement of components in the shot, and the way the viewer's eye travels through the... Read more
58 of 67 people found the following review helpful
Excellent for BEGINNER photographers,
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This review is from: Composition: From Snapshots to Great Shots (Paperback)This is a great book with lots of useful easy to read and digest information for AMATEUR photographers. There is much less to gain from the book if you are an experienced photog but that is no reason to downgrade the rating for this book given its TARGET audience.
The chapters are well organized, the book is well written and I really like that the pictures are accompanied with relevant information about the shot including basic things like the shutter speed and aperture.
I would have loved to have had this book a few years ago when starting out my photography hobby. It would be a GREAT complement to the Scott Kelby series of books about Digital Photography:
Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Boxed Set, Volumes 1, 2, and 3, and Bryan Peterson's classic book on Aperture.
The book is compact enough that... Read more
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Online Sample Chapter
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Equipment
Chapter 2: Exposure Triangle
Chapter 3: Light
Chapter 4: Lines, Shapes, and Patterns
Chapter 5: Color
Chapter 6: Spatial Relationships
Chapter 7: Black and White
Chapter 8: Sports and Composition
Chapter 9: Beyond the Rule of Thirds
Chapter 10: The Compositional Dance
Download the sample pages (includes Chapter 4 and Index)
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