- The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos
- Capture the Magic: Train Your Eye Improve Your Photographic Composition
- The Art of the Photograph : Essential Habits for Stronger Compositions
(via Andrew Price)
If you divide photographers by how they get their education, a lot of them, including myself, go for the self-teaching method. It's cheaper and more convenient than formal education, and you can focus more on exactly the type of photography you want. With the Internet offering unlimited content to help you become a photographer, it's no surprise that a lot of beginners turn to online tutorials.
(Success Tip #1: This deck of cards can help improve your photography.)
But self education is a two sided sword. You think you're learning exactly the same things a college student learns, but that's not exactly how things go. A lot of the people who turn to the Internet and books don't have a method of learning photography and they skip some of the most important things. One of them is composition. In fact, after exposure it is the most important thing you need to learn as an aspiring photographer.
Composition is placing the elements of an image in a way that is easy to understand and interesting. At least that's the most basic explanation. Photography is a lot more than pointing a camera at something pretty and pressing the shutter release. That rectangle in the viewfinder or LCD is a blank canvas that you are responsible for filling. The way you arrange the elements in your shot will determine if it will leave the viewer impressed or not.
Much can be learned about composition from the more classic art forms like painting and drawing. They share common rules with photography, so it might be a good idea to pick up a few art albums or visit some museums. Also, look back at the work of master photographers and see how they composed their photos. If you look closely, you'll notice that each of them had a style, a pattern that made their work stand out from the rest.
(Success Tip #2: Turn photos of people having fun into profits.)
In the mean time, here is a video made by Andrew Price that will help you understand composition.