The composition is probably the most difficult thing to master in otherwise quite technical word of photography. After all, you can learn the effect of ISO, aperture and shutter speed quite quickly, they can be described with simple setting and effect rules. The composition? You either get it or not.
The “rule of thirds” was one of the first things I learned when I started taking photography seriously. It was quite astonishing to me that I have never heard of it before, but truth be told although I do have collage degree (and beyond), but I never had attended a decent art class. Before getting familiar with the “rule of thirds”, my subjects were almost exclusively placed right in the center of the frame. Occasionally, it worked. After all, all rules have exceptions.
Since I still struggle with my composition, and always wanted to learn some more, I was ready to go “Beyond Thirds” with Andrew S. Gibson’s newest e-book when it was released.
“Beyond Thirds” starts from the “classics”- discussing the “rule of thirds” and its less known brother “the golden ratio”. With the disclaimer, that they do not work all the time. The examples are presented for both, as well as images with subject in center. But after that the books gets really interesting. The author dives into the mysterious field of visual weight, leading lines, focal points. I am still struggling to absorb all those concepts of visual balance, but the systematic explanation combined with many examples is a great help. I really like how in “Beyond Thirds” the main elements in each illustration are marked for you, to remove the necessity of guessing what the author means for example by “triangles in the image”.
The most interesting discovery for me after reading “Beyond Thirds” was that the crop of the image – or more general its crop ratio- can have a drastic affect on where to place the subject. And that rule of thirds might not work all that well for example in a square image.
If you expect to learn about composition rules other then ubiquitous “rule of thirds”- “Beyond thirds” is probably not for you. But if you sometimes wonder about guiding the eye through the image and what is visual balance and how to compose with that in mind, intuitively- it might just be the right e-book for you. And it all for just $5.
Andrew S. Gibson is, as he calls himself, author and fine art photographer. You can check out his portfolio and popular blog at his web site. He is also very prolific writer of e-books for Craft & Vision. It is his sixth e-book published by the company, after trilogy “The magic of black and white”, “The evocative image” and “The Andes – A monograph”.
“Beyond thirds” is available at Craft&Vision store for instant download as a pdf for only $5. However, if you purchase it before November 19th, 2011 and use the code BT4, you will pay only $4! Also, you can use the code BT20 to save 20% on your purchase of 5 or more e-books from ever growing Craft & Vision collection, including previous titles from Andrew S. Gibson, all well worth reading.
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