Focus on Photographing People by Haje Jan Kamps – Focal Press

I consider this book an excellent introduction for anyone who is starting to do serious photography and for the occasional serious photographer who may not have previously done portrait photography.

The author opens with basic information about equipment and camera settings. I like that he emphasizes that an expensive camera is not a requisite for successful imaging. He then discusses composition including how to direct a model, elements of lighting, and some basic rules of composition. There is a discussion of the merits and techniques of street photography. The last section discusses photo editing.

In addition to my opening comment, this would be a good text for an Introductory Course at the high school or college level.

Focus on Composing Photos by Peter Ensenberger – Focal Press

The major portion of the book covers the “Rules” of good photographic composition. The author performs competently as he progresses through the various chapters. The text is clearly written, and examples abound.

But the very best has been saved till the end; “Epilogue: Where Do You Go from Here? Like the author, I am an advocate of “having a game plan” and being prepared. In the earlier pages the author speaks of scouting out one’s subject and determining different perspectives. On pages 126 and 127 you will find six very different images of the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Clearly photographic evidence of the truth of the author’s instruction.

I teach photographic composition to beginning photographers and I’ll be using this book in my next class.

Charles Heisterkamp, III, M.D.
Photographer