There are some topics in photography (such as off-camera flash) that require a bit of study and are often avoided by beginners and hobbyists. Other topics are a bit easier to learn and are things that all photographers should think about. Just last weekend, a friend on Twitter was asking me about such a topic when he asked about composition. What fortunate timing that this morning a great new ebook was released about that subject.
Beyond Thirds: A Photographer’s Introduction to Creative Composition is an easy read. At 38 pages, author Andrew S. Gibson provides a good introduction to composition as it relates to photography and goes into enough depth to bring newbies up to speed as well as provide a good refresher on composition basics for those with more experience.
Appropriately enough, the book starts by talking about the rule of thirds, but then talks about moving beyond that rule. The ideas of balance and stability are considered, and a look at using two, three, or more focal points provides some options for photographers to guide the viewer through a photograph to tell a story.
After significant discussion about the placement of objects within the photo frame, a few chapters explore the frame itself. Photographers are encouraged to fill the frame, and Gibson discusses various aspect ratios. We’re used to the 3:2 ratio of our DSLR or 35mm film cameras, but other ratios can provide alternative views that might work better depending on the particular photo subject at hand. I know I’m a fan of a square crop for circular or symmetrical objects.
The latter portion of the book is a look at how color (or, in the case of black and white, the lack thereof) affects a viewer’s perception of an image. It’s a good topic that’s not often considered when discussion composition but is worthy of reading.
Overall I found the book to be a good read; each section can stand on its own and when taken together the work provides a great primer on photographic composition.