The Photographer's Eye cover

The Photographer's EyeComposition and Design for Better Digital Photos

by Freeman, Michael

published in 

first published in 2007

edited by Adam Juniper


✔ Available to borrow

192 pages

published by Ilex Press

published in Oxford, UK

owned in Printed Book format

I received this book as a Christmas gift during high school and I read it voraciously. I used to be very into photography, and this is the book that made me start thinking about where I was standing and where I should be to capture a moment, and stop just snapping photos and hoping I liked how they turned out.

Excellent, graphics-forward introduction to photographic principles. Starts out with the philosophy and practice of framing, which is so crucial. Also has a wealth of diagrams explaining the text's lessons in practice, such as this great example teaching the impact of framing elements within another in your photographs:

An example of the excellent illustrations throughout this book from page 31, describing the impact of "frames within frames", showing the effect side-by-side with an image of the Empire State Building framed beside an archway along the Brooklyn Bridge next to one where it seems to sit within the arch, alongside simplified color diagrams of each.

One of the other key ideas it taught me is gestalt perception. Most things we are talking about in photography rely on the audience to perceive a completion of incomplete or vaguely-defined elements. Viewers complete incomplete shapes in their head when viewing an image; they cluster similar items; they register contrasts as nearly-visible dividing lines. Understanding this tendency is key to generating the feeling you intend to when someone is viewing you pictures.


Freeman, Michael. The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos. Oxford, UK: Ilex Press, 2007. Printed Book.