16 lessons + 16 exercises. Understand the power of good visual design.
Ever wish you had an eye for photography like Ansel Adams or Edward Weston? To simply see what’s in front of you and somehow magically pop out a compelling, emotional, and technically compelling photograph? It seems like a gift. Luck, even.
Except it’s not. It never was. Sure, you can be born with an eye for visual design, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn it. The elements—or principles—are available to every single photographer. It’s just that there are some photographers who study and some who don’t.
If you truly want to improve, and you know you have to study, you need to read these ebooks by Anne McKinnell. They are two of my favorites when it comes to explaining the precise elements that go into making a perfect photograph. Elements like form, composition, exposure.
It’s all here. But the ebooks are written in a way that makes everything clearer. You’ll find yourself nodding your head because something finally clicked. I smiled a couple times, in fact. They’re really, really good while also being entertaining.
And they’re not pricey. They’re not long reads either. You’ll finish them in an afternoon, but the knowledge you gain will always follow you. In all, you’re going to get 191 pages. Two ebooks. All divided into 16 lessons. Each ebook discusses 8 different elements. Read below to see which ones.
What will I learn? Why should I buy this?
Each book in Compelling Photograph tackles 8 different lessons to creating a compelling photograph. Each lesson comes with an exercise to help you train your eye to see a different element of good visual design, while also helping you learn how to use it well.
These 8 lessons are covered in Book 1:
- Textures: The more you train your eye to notice the details, the more interesting your photographs will become.
- Lines: Lines are one of the fundamental building blocks of composition. They direct the eye around an image and give the viewer a path to follow.
- Color: Colors determine the viewer’s emotional response to an image. They set the mood and determine what part of an image gets the most attention.
- Reflections: Photographing a reflection creates a more unique image of an often photographed subject by adding interest and depth to your photograph.
- Silhouettes: One way you can add drama, intrigue, and mystery to an image is by photographing your subject as a silhouette. Deep contrasts make for powerful and memorable images.
- Close-ups: Often a story is better told in a series of images that reveal more about the essence of a subject than a single image can.
- Frames: One way to quickly add a new dimension to your subject is to give it a frame inside the boundaries of the image.
- Twilight: That time before a sunrise or after a sunset when when the skies become calm, peaceful and full of rich color.
These 8 lessons are covered in the Book 2 of The Compelling Photograph:
- Patterns: The human eye is drawn to patterns in the same way our ears are drawn to the beat of the music or the chorus of a song.
- Symmetry: Despite everything we have been taught in photography about the rule of thirds and keeping things off balance and out of the middle, symmetry has always been associated with beauty.
- Leading Lines: When leading lines connect the foreground to the background of a scene, they help to create depth and dimensionality which draws the viewer into the image.
- Curves: Curves create a graphic design that make an image easy to look at by leading the viewer’s eye through the frame.
- Shapes: A real shape is tangible – it’s a solid object that exists within the physical realm. An implied shape is a relationship between objects that is created only in our minds.
- The Depth of Field: Where you choose to place the focal point in your image is critical, but it’s not just what we focus on that matters, it’s how much we focus on.
- Long Exposures: Long exposures can capture the passing of time, give an image a dreamy effect, or even convey excitement.
- Minimalism: Less is more. Minimalism is about reducing your scope and focusing only on the key elements of the scene and nothing else.