Photography requires both technical knowledge and artistic skill. Have you ever taken a photo and thought, ‘It just doesn’t look right?’ Despite our best attempts, sometimes we all need a little guidance, whether we’re professionals or just starting out. Photography books are a great place to start! They cover a wide range of topics applicable to any type of photographer. Below, we have outlined some of the best photography books out there today.
Photography Books on the Basics
1. The Soul of the Camera: The Photographer’s Place in Picture-Making, by David duChemin
They say a picture speaks a thousand words. Photography has been used both as an art form and a communication format. How do photographs capture emotion? Author David duChemin shares his take, that photographs lack soul, in The Soul of the Camera: The Photographer’s Place in Picture-Making.
2. The Flash Book
Intimidated by your flash? Or maybe you haven’t bought one yet, and avoid less than ideal lighting scenarios? Fear not with The Flash Book! Learn to love your flash, embrace flash photography, and create stunning photographs your clients will love for years to come.
3. Mastering Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO and Exposure, by Al Judge
There are so many aspects that go into creating a beautiful photograph. Aside from artistic freedom and creativity, camera settings can be adjusted depending on lighting, movement of subjects, and other technical factors. Improve your technical skills after reading Mastering Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO and Exposure, and never question how to program your camera’s settings again.
4. Picture (Im)perfect Photography: 14 Secrets to Capturing Beautiful Images and Advancing Your Photography Fast, by Andrei Anca
Whether you’re an experienced photographer or just learning about the basics of photography, Picture (Im)perfect Photography: 14 Secrets to Capturing Beautiful Images and Advancing Your Photography Fast is a book sure to inspire you. Between beautiful images and simple directions, this book will set you in the right direction wherever you are in your photographic journey.
5. The Photographer’s Guide to Posing: Techniques to Flatter Everyone, by Lindsay Adler
As much as we might want those ‘candid shots’ to turn out perfectly, it doesn’t always work out that way. In these situations, it is important to have a knowledge of posing for various group sizes. The same poses that might look stunning for a couple may not work for a family of five. Lindsay Adler outlines a wide array of poses you can use during your next photoshoot to make your clients look and feel their very best. This is a great photography book for beginners!
6. BetterPhoto Basics, by Jim Miotke
Getting started with photography can be tricky. Between different types and styles of cameras, just figuring out what buttons to click is confusing. BetterPhoto Basics is another great photography book for beginners wanting to learn more about photography.
Photography Books on Composition and Style
7. Night Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots, by Gabriel Biderman
Sure, the natural light provided by daytime hours can provide beautiful images – but what about events that occur at night, or the changing of the night sky? While these settings may be intimidating, they don’t have to be anymore, as Night Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots guides you in perfecting your photography, regardless of the time of day.
8. Light, Gesture, and Color, by Jay Maisel
Jay Maisel, a renowned photographer, mentor, and educator shares his many years of expertise in the photography industry, informing you in how to create the most impactful and artistic images. Wherever you are in your photography journey, Light, Gesture, and Color is a book appropriate for photographers of all skill levels wishing to learn more about photography.
9. Achieving Your Potential as a Photographer: A Photographer’s Creative Companion and Workbook, by Harold Davis
Have you ever felt that you were holding yourself back? Afraid to take the next step in your photography? Award-winning photographer Harold Davis shares his experience with igniting creativity and producing tangible results. Achieving Your Potential as a Photographer: A Photographer’s Creative Companion and Workbook acts as a helpful resource and tool for aspiring and existing photographers.
10. How to Create Stunning Photography, by Tony Northrup
How to Create Stunning Photography is a hands-on training program in addition to a book. Complete with 14 hours of videos and assistance from professionals, this book is perfect for any photographer hoping to develop their skills and improve their images. Tony Northrup is an award-winning photographer, and How to Create Stunning Photography is the #1 best-selling photography book on the market today.
11. The Dramatic Portrait: The Art of Crafting Light and Shadow, by Chris Knight
Great photographers play and experiment with light to create meaningful, high-quality images. Author Chris Knight demonstrates how to perfect portraiture by curating an understanding of how light impacts the camera, how different posing of your subjects creates a dynamic portrait, and other photographic lessons in The Dramatic Portrait: The Art of Crafting Light and Shadow.
12. Pro Secrets to Dramatic Digital Photos, by Jim Zuckerman
Have you ever wished you could sit down with a seasoned, talented photographer and ask them all of your questions? In Pro Secrets to Dramatic Digital Photos, Jim Zuckerman shares his own personal experiences and stories of how he learned how to shoot awe-inspiring photographs. Whether you specialize in portrait photography, nature photography, or landscape photography, Zuckerman shines a light on his best practices to capture images.
13. The Art of Photography: A Personal Approach to Artistic Expression, by Bruce Barnbaum
Bruce Barnbaum’s classic photography textbook has sold over 100,000 copies since its original release in 1994. It was revised and updated in 2010, and continues to provide assistance, inspiration, and education for thousands of photographers. It includes stunning photos in both black and white and color, and is a great addition to any photographer’s library.
14. Chasing the Light: Improving Your Photography with Available Light, by Ibarionex Perello
There’s no question – learning to work with light is absolutely essential in any type of photography. The author of this book discusses ways to create meaningful photographs with available light sources to bring your photography to the next level.
15. The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos, by Michael Freeman
Digital photography allows us to view our images immediately upon capturing them. Because of this, we have a better understanding of how photographs turn out, and can use this tool to increase our composition and artistic design. The Photographer’s Eye: Composition for Better Digital Photos walks photographers step by step to learn all about composition, both in traditional photography education and innovative new techniques.
16. Understanding Color in Photography: Using Color, Composition, and Exposure to Create Vivid Photos, by Bryan Petersen
Bryan Petersen is a skilled photographer who is well-known for his composition and dramatic color-scapes. In this book, he shares some of his best-kept secrets and long-term knowledge, valuable skills for hobbyist and experienced photographers alike. Petersen shares his perspective on things like shooting in any kind of light, utilizing color to create stunning images, and various uses of flash photography.
17. Infrared Photography: Artistic Techniques for Brilliant Images, by Laurie Klein
Infrared photography is just another way to create artistic, creative, and dramatic images – but mastering this art can be tricky. These photographs were once only able to be created by using certain films or cameras, but today, with digital photography, we can manipulate settings to permanently change your retired DSLR to an infrared capture camera. Laurie Klein discusses how to do this, as well as many other photographic concepts and ideas, in her book, Infrared Photography: Artistic Techniques for Brilliant Images.
Photography Books on Travel Photography
18. iPhone: The Missing Manual, the book that should have been in the box, 11th Edition, by David Pogue
Whether you like it or not, smartphones are here to stay. You may have heard the saying, ‘The best camera is the one in your pocket.’ There is some truth to this. You might not always have your DSLR with you when you want it, and that’s why it is valuable to learn about the photography functions available to you using your smartphone camera, just in case.
19. Aerial Photography and Videography Using Drones, by Eric Cheng
Do you own a drone, or know someone who does? Drones serve many uses, but are now changing the game of photography. Photographers can attach their camera to a drone, flying long distances to capture landscapes in ways that weren’t possible before. Learn more about drone photography and videography in this helpful read!
20. Wide-Angle Photography: Capturing Landscape, Portrait, Street, and Architectural Photographs with Wide-Angle Lenses, by Chris Marquadt
Do you wish that you could better focus on all of the subjects within your image? How do you capture that ‘wow factor’ you long for? In Wide-Angle Photography: Capturing Landscape, Portrait, Street, and Architectural Photographs with Wide-Angle Lenses, these questions are answered.
Books on Photography Post-Processing
21. Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS5, by Jeff Schewe and Bruce Fraser
Most professional photographers will tell you that shooting in JPEG is a thing of the past. RAW images are the direction of the future, because they allow you the maximum amount of control post-editing. This book provides tips and techniques designed to help you know exactly how to edit your raw photos in Photoshop.
Bonus Tip: Check Out our massive list of free photoshop actions
22. Mastering Photographic Histograms: The key to fine-tuning exposure and better photo editing, by Al Judge
Do you use histograms when editing photos? Some photographers disregard histograms entirely. Learning how to use histograms allows for a new level of control and consistency in post-processing. This book reviews how to adjust histograms to create perfect exposure every time.
23. Lightroom CC Complete Training: Learn the Entire Photographers Workflow in the new Lightroom CC, by Serge Ramelli
The editing program Lightroom CC has been around for a few years now, but the change has confused many experienced photographers. A great tool, this e-book walks photographers through an efficient workflow, tackling topics such as sharing photos online, backing up your photos, and tips and tricks to improve your editing process.
24. Photoshop Layers: Professional Strength Image Editing, by Robin Whalley
Confused by Adobe Photoshop? Do you prefer to use Lightroom for its ease of use and user-friendly controls? Photoshop can be intimidating, but it also allows for greater control and creativity in post-processing. Photoshop Layers is both detailed and concise, and full of useful information dedicated to improving your understanding of Photoshop as a whole.
25. The Complete Raw Workflow Guide: How to get the most from your raw images in Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom, Photoshop, and Elements, by Philip Andrews
Raw images are the most dynamic file types to shoot in. However, because they are different than JPEG or PNG files, they can take some getting used to. This book teaches you how to import, export, and edit your raw files to get the highest level of quality in your images.
26. The Artist’s Guide to GIMP, 2nd Edition: Creative Techniques for Photographers, Artists, and Designers, by Michael Hammel
Have you heard of GIMP? GIMP is a free program with many of the same components as Adobe products like Photoshop and Lightroom. It is becoming a popular alternative. While the controls may be confusing at first, The Artist’s Guide to GIMP provides a guide about how to use GIMP, and also offers tips and suggestions to make your editing experience easier.
Books on Photography Business
27 Best Business Practices for Photographers, Third Edition, by John Harrington
The first step in starting your photography business is your art itself, however it is also important to establish yourself as a business. How much should you charge? What terms should be in a contract? How do you find and keep clients? Learn all of this and more in Best Business Practices for Photographers, Third Edition, and watch your photography business grow.
28. Post Like an Influencer, Grow Like a Marketer: A Proven Step-by-Step Guide to Start a Successful Instagram Page, Grow Your Following, and Make Money, by Justin Monsanto
Marketing has changed through technology and social media, moving from business cards to Instagram profiles and websites. Learn all about how to post effectively, gain followers on social media, and book photoshoots through an Instagram account. This book is great for those less familiar with social media. It is also a great investment for those wanting to improve their existing Instagram page.
29. InstaStyle: Curate Your Life, Create Stunning Photos, and Elevate Your Instagram Influence, by Tessa Barton
How do you keep up an Instagram profile after you’ve made it? Learn to create your brand and establish a social media presence in Tessa Barton’s InstaStyle: Curate Your Life, Create Stunning Photos, and Elevate Your Instagram Influence. Barton covers topics such as style, consistency, hashtags, and other helpful topics. Because of the change in today’s marketing styles, this book is a wonderful addition to any photographer’s library.
30. Worth Every Penny: Build a Business That Thrills Your Customers and Still Charge What You’re Worth, by Sarah Petty
It can be hard to start out in building a business. Balancing pricing that will both grow your portfolio and provide a stable income can be difficult. Besides that, creating materials for marketing and social media can also be tough. This book is pivotal in starting a business.
What Are Some of Your Favorite Photography Books?
Have you read any photography books lately? We would love to hear about the books that have made an impact on your photography, editing, or style. Please leave a comment below and we will consider adding your favorite book to this list!
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