Photographic Composition

bookcover600_400As well as being a writer I’m also a keen photographer and have been taking photographs with an SLR for nearly 30 years.

I’ve taken images for local businesses, designed magazine and book covers, and had countless exhibitions around south Wales. During my time at Gartholwg Lifelong Learning Centre I developed and lectured many courses on digital photography and Adobe Photoshop. I’m Adobe Certified in Photoshop and InDesign.

After being made redundant, due to the council cuts, a few of my former students urged me to produce a photography book. In October 2014 I did just that and published a short guide on ‘Photography Composition‘.

The book was my first non-fiction publication but it won’t be my last.

My main photographic interests are wildlife, travel and urban decay.


This is the resulting e-book and is available to download from the Amazon website for just £3.49 and is the perfect introduction to anyone thinking about taking up photography as a hobby.


Sample chapter

As far as I’m concerned photography is an art, and photographers are artists. Some are good, some are not so good, and most opinion is just that – opinion!

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Take the image above. I think it’s a great image. Great in the sense I like it. You may agree or disagree but why do I like it? Well, firstly, it reminds me of a special holiday I had with my wife and daughter when we travelled to Morocco in 2007. Secondly, I think it’s a nice, simple, colourful photograph. I also like the shape, curve and depth. If I was pushed I might say it breaks the rule of thirds in a good way, it isn’t Photoshopped at all and is more or less exactly as I saw it and took it at the time. For me it captures a magical moment in time. Members of my digital photography and Photoshop classes are also very familiar with this image as I often use it as a sample image to go through various Photoshop lessons. As a result it is a well known image and one I get ribbed about regularly in class! But whether you like it or not is unimportant to me. Whether you think it needs editing, cropping or straightening I don’t care. Why? Because I like it. And the point of this book, and my philosophy on photography is just that. If you like a photograph you took, then it is a good photograph. I often say to my classes that there are no bad photographs and I truly believe this. Yes, of course we like some images more than others but who should be the judge? A stuffy professor? A jumped up little nobody from the local camera club? An Adobe Certified Photoshop tutor? The editor of a magazine or newspaper? No, the answer is none of them. The answer is you. You are the judge.

Like all art, photography is very subjective. Just think about music, sculpture or even real ale. I like Patti Smith, Robyn Hitchcock, Peter Gabriel and Tom Petty. Some people like Elvis or The Beatles. Some people don’t like ‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch, some people think Salvador Dali couldn’t draw or that Picasso couldn’t paint. Some people drink lager or prattle on about wine! You get my point. We are all different and our photographs are all different. Put two people together with the same digital camera and lens and send them into a city centre. Tell them to take just five photographs that capture the essence of the city. Guess what? They will walk off in different directions and take very different pictures.


Reviews:

‘A refreshing change from the heavily jargon loaded books available out there. Actually only one of only a handful of books I’ve read over the years that actually speaks to the reader like a normal human being. Ideal for those like myself who might not be ofay with a lot of technical photographic terminology. The terminology that is included is easily and effectively explained so that no confusion could be created, no matter how new to the subject of photography the reader might be. Dave Lewis is clear and concise, He makes the read an enjoyable and personal journey, encouraging budding photographers to try and experiment free from the reigns of pressure of attempting to succeed to some restrictive academicals expectations. The only drawback I can think of is that the book isn’t larger than it is. Not a criticism towards the author more that I enjoyed the reading experience that much I just wished it was longer.’ – David Haigh

‘This is an awesome little book and i will refer to it many times no doubt. I love photography and strive to get it right. This has taught me the rules but also that there isn’t always a right, only the way people perceive. Huge thanks to Dave Lewis for writing and giving us this little gem.’ – Tanya Cumberlin

‘A very easy book to read that doesn’t get technical. It still achieves its aim though – to cover a good many of the basic ‘rules’ of composition. I also enjoyed the photographs.’ – Alan Hoskins

‘As an aspiring amateur, looking to improve my photography, I wanted a book to teach me basic composition rules. This book fits the bill very well. It covers 15 rules of composition, with photographic examples of each. The book goes into enough detail for my liking, without getting too deep. Each rule is outlined with examples and that’s it. Trying to remember the 15 rules it covers will probably be enough for most amateurs. The book has given me exactly what I wanted, which was more ideas when composing shots.’ – Mr Shrub