1st Edition

Focus On Composing Photos
Focus on the Fundamentals (Focus On Series)

ISBN 9780240815053
Published April 18, 2011 by Routledge
140 Pages

USD $26.95

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Book Description

As digital cameras and software packages become more advanced, seemingly by the minute, it has become easier than ever to overlook the basic elements which have always resulted in the best photographs, no matter how fancy (or primitive) the camera itself. Composition is the single most important aspect of creating great images, no matter what level of photographer you happen to be. No amount of digital wizardry can turn a badly composed image into a picture you would want to display. While many books on composition tend to overcomplicate the subject, this book breaks down everything you need to know into small, digestible chunks of information that you will actually remember once you're out and about taking pictures. Instead of plodding through long and complex pages of text, this book supplements the necessary information, such as the basics of the rule of thirds and how to get good highlights and shadows, with tons of gorgeous, full color images that actually show you what to do and how to do it, rather than just telling you what to try. You'll be amazed at the gorgeous images you'll create, whether your passion is for photographing your family, pets, travel adventures, nature, or anything else.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Strong Focal Point; Chapter 2: Rule of Thirds; Chapter 3: Simplicity; Chapter 4: Leading Lines; Chapter 5: Lens Choice and Cropping; Chapter 6: Highlights and Shadows; Chapter 7: Breaking the Rules

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Throughout his career, Peter Ensenberger has crossed photographic boundaries to explore different styles and diverse subjects. After studying fi ne art photography in college, he went on to win awards as a staff photojournalist for several newspapers. More recently, he served 25 years as director of photography for Arizona Highways, the award-winning nature and travel magazine. His responsibilities for the magazine covered a wide range of roles-photographer, photo editor, writer, and project manager. Peter left Arizona Highways in 2009 to devote full time to his own photography business. Currently, he resides in Tempe, Arizona, where he is a freelance photographer for Black Star, an international photo agency based in New York. Corporate and editorial assignments make up the bulk of his work, with an emphasis on travel and lifestyle. In addition, he leads group and individual photo workshops to Arizona's most beautiful and remote locations.


"Composition can make or break a photograph and Peter Ensenberger focuses on this important aspect of better photography. The author covers the elements of composition and the basics for creating better composed photos. He begins by discussing the importance of a strong focal point than moves on to types of lighting, color, viewpoint and perspective. He then discusses the rules of composition, such as the rule of thirds and the Gestalt theory and when to break them."--BellaOnline

"Ensenberger - who was director of photography at Arizona Highways magazine for 25 years before turning full time to his own photography business - has a new book called 'Focus on Composing Photos' (Focal Press, $19.95). It's a concise course on the use of subject, light, color, composition and equipment to produce dramatic, memorable photos. Ensenberger also emphasizes another critical tool: gut instinct."--Arizona Daily Star

"Composing Photos is part of the 'Focus On' series of photography books by Focal Press which aim to help readers achieve consistently beautiful and dynamic images without becoming tangled in overly technical material. The book covers: focal point; light, shadow, and color; viewpoint and perspective; rules of composition; and leading lines. As would be expected with a book such as this, Composing Photos is packed with great images that serve as inspiration for the reader. Most valuable are when author Peter Ensenberger includes side-by-side photos of the same subject to illustrate concepts, such as comparing lighting throughout the day or creating tension in an image by breaking one of the rules previously discussed. In the final chapter, Ensenberger ties into his initial discussion about the importance of visual awareness in photography by including a list of more than 25 photography and photographers' personal websites to explore.. While the book is written so people can easily read it without having a background in photography, it is far from a basics-only book. Composing Photos is the kind of book you will continue to learn from when you review it as your photography progresses through the years."--San Francisco Book Review: Focus on the Fundamentals (Focus On Series)

"The major portion of the book covers the 'Rules' of good photographic composition. The author performs competently as he progresses through the various chapters. The text is clearly written, and examples abound. But the very best has been saved till the end; 'Epilogue: Where Do You Go from Here?" Like the author, I am an advocate of 'having a game plan' and being prepared. In the earlier pages the author speaks of scouting out one's subject and determining different perspectives. On pages 126 and 127 you will find six very different images of the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Clearly photographic evidence of the truth of the author's instruction. I teach photographic composition to beginning photographers and I'll be using this book in my next class."--Lancaster Camera Club.org

"There are loads of good books out there that teach aspiring photographers how to take better images, and each on of them undoubtedly has a chapter dedicated to composition.  Yet, it is rare to find an entire book dedicated to understanding photographic composition, from basic dos and don'ts to detailed descriptions of how and when to apply and break the rules. Ensenberger does not disappoint; he has created a guide to composing images complete with photographic examples, useful assignment and extensive descriptions, all conveyed in a casual, conversational style that makes the material fun and friendly."--Photographer's Forum, Winter 2011

"This book deals with the basic knowledge a beginner should know and a great refresher for the experienced. I highly recommend this book. I enjoyed the use of assignments and how the book flowed; it’s clear and easily understood." - Peter Ensenberger, Seven Hills Camera Club