I love Michael Freeman books. They are perfect mix of art vs technique. The Photographer’s Eye (review) has to be one of my favorite book about the technical aspect of photography and now I just finished reading its follow up: The Photographer’s Mind. While the Eye book tag line was Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos, the Mind book tag line is Creative thinking for better digital photos.
To reach this goal, the book is divided in three sections: Intent, Style and Process.
This section is all about what makes a photo looks good, why it looks good and in which context. It reviews the various aspects of beauty, from the perfectly symmetrical face of a model to the cliche and sublime subjects.
This section follows up where the Photographer’s Eye left us: going deeper into the ways to compose your framing. If you want to improve your composition skills, you should get the book for this section alone. It is well made and the author decompose a lot of his pictures to show his choice of framing and explain their dynamics.
Here the author talks about the process involved in taking the picture, not how to apply the post process. There are a few pages about post processing but it is just part of the over all process. Other parts are about having a memory bank of various image template (so you can quickly pick the best one for a give situation), interactive composition, selecting a look, etc… This is the shortest section of the book (around 40 pages) and I think it could have been a book by itself, being such a wide topic.
What I like
This book is very much like The Photographer’s Eye in its format, layout and presentation. So everything I liked about it is still valid for this one. What I like even more in this case is how the explanations are a more down to earth (thanks to a lot of case studies) and how the various examples show how to be creative even when you are stuck with a very mundane subject.
A few other things to like:
- Very good example & illustrations taken from the author huge collection of travel/commercial pictures.
- Lots of reference, both online and in other books. The author always point us toward other sources of information on each topic.
- A lot of page inserts with tips and pointers.
What I did not like
No matter how much I look at the book, I could not find something to fill this section. If I had to be really picky, I would say the third section could have been refined. Then again, as I said, I think it could have deserved its own book.
What if I am a videographer?
There are not reasons for someone who is into video to not like this book. Nearly every concept covered can be applied to video, especially the topics from the Style section.
Should you get it?
Yes! This is the kind of book that makes you grow as a visual artist. You don’t have to remember or understand everything, even a subset will be enough to make it worth it.