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35 Best Photography Books in 2023 (Updated)

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Can’t find reliable content on the internet? Then you should try reading photography books by famous professionals! Photography books are still the best way to improve your photography skills. And they also give you a huge amount of inspiration.

Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs is our favorite photography book. It’s the ultimate how-to photography guide, diving into techniques, styles, and practical tips. Buying this book is the first step to becoming a better photographer.

Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs
Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs
If you’re looking to take your photography to the next level, this book is the perfect resource to help you take great photos.
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Finding the Best Photography Books

There are so many amazing photography books out there—it can be hard to find what you’re looking for. There are photography books to learn about the art form’s history. There are photo books to help you with your composition. And there are also ones to inspire you from some of the photography greats!

We have every type of photography book there is. So the list is fairly extensive. But we’ve broken it down so you can find the photography book you need. Click on a link to skip to the section you want:

  1. Best Books on Photography Basics
  2. Best Books on Composition and Technique
  3. Best Books on Photography Lighting
  4. Best Niche Photography Books
  5. Best Collection and Compilation Books
  6. Best Post-Processing Photography Books

Best Books on Photography Basics

Learning how to take pictures requires a strong foundation. If you struggle with these areas, read publications on the basics of photography. I assure you that the speed at which you learn will only increase.

Our list of how-to books on photography will ensure you learn exactly how to use your gear. It includes how to use camera settings and technical knowledge properly. Also, you can learn a little bit about the history of photography along the way.

Here’s a quick look at the best books on photography basics. We’ll take a more detailed look at each book in the section after.

Book Title
Why We Love It
Buy From
Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs
Our Top Choice
  • Great entry-point for new photographers
  • Full of practical guides for easy learning
  • Playful language anyone can understand
Master Digital Photography: Pro Tips & Tricks
Best for New Photographers
  • One of the most popular photography guide books
  • Specific chapters on portrait, sports, and wedding photography
  • A helpful book if you're looking to make money in photography
Complete Digital Photography: 9th Edition
Best Resource
  • Takes a deep dive into all aspects of digital photography
  • Everything is covered, from camera basics to photo editing
  • A rich recourse even experienced photographers can use
Mastering Photography: From Beginner to Pro
Best for Starting a Career
  • Career-focused objective from the outset
  • Well-explained, practical guidance to help you master your camera
  • The author's wealth of experience give the words heft
Langford’s Photography: Mastering the Art
Most Comprehensive
  • A complete and comprehensive study of photography
  • Teaches techniques and skills with suggestions for equipment
  • Chapters on editing and organizing your photos
Mastering Photography: A National Geographic Guide
Best Illustrations
  • Awe-inspiring illustrations throughout the book
  • Well-explained tutorials for absolute beginners
  • A perfect choice for younger photographers
Digital Photography: Pro Tips for Amazing Photos
Best for Beginners
  • Great explanations on different cameras and how to get the most out of them
  • Fantastic illustrations with the settings used to capture them
  • Written by one of LIFE's most prominent photographers
Mastering Photography: Shoot Great Photos with Any Camera
Best for Fundamentals
  • One of the most popular photography books for beginners
  • Gives you a technical foundation from which you can flourish
  • Author has a personal and easy-to-follow style of writing
The Art of Photography: A Personal Approach to Artistic Expression
Best for Conceptual Skills
  • Teaches you how to express yourself through photography
  • New dedicated chapters on digital photography
  • A beneficial read for anyone interested in the visual arts
Photography: A Cultural History (4th Edition)
Best for History
  • Helps you see history through the lens of a camera
  • Explores the cultural impact of the camera
  • An interesting read for any history buffs
On Photography
Best for Theory
  • A timeless classic that still holds up
  • Helps you understand how context can change a photo's meaning
  • It'll take your image-making in a new direction

1. Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs

Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs
Subtitle N/A
Author(s) Henry Carroll
Number of Pages 128
Best For Beginners

Are you looking for the best photography how-to books for beginners? Then Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs is worth checking out. It has practical guides, easy-to-read text, and simple, playful language. So it’s easy to follow for the beginner.

This book offers an excellent foundation to improve as a photographer. It puts beginners on the fast track to better photography results. And even experienced photographers will find useful information in its pages. The book’s title might be in-your-face, but it’s not wrong.

Oh, and did we tell you that the book includes tips from 50 famous photographers? Now, you can’t go wrong with that!

2. The Digital Photography Book

Master Digital Photography: Pro Tips & Tricks
Subtitle The Step-by-step Secrets for How to Make Your Photos Look Like Pros'
Author(s) Scott Kelby
Number of Pages 272
Best For Absolute beginners through to enthusiasts looking for a refresh

The Digital Photography Book from Scott Kelby is the number-one, best-selling digital photography book ever. And that’s no fluke. It has been translated into dozens of languages. And it remains one of the most comprehensive photography books you can find.

You can find everything in this book that you would need to throw yourself into photography. There are chapters on portrait photography. You can learn how to use a flash for pro results. And it even gives you a head-start on wedding and sports photography.

This award-winning book is a great companion. You will take it from your shelf again and again to reread it. It’s essential reading for anyone serious about picking up a digital camera.

3. Complete Digital Photography

Complete Digital Photography: 9th Edition
Subtitle 9th Edition
Author(s) Ben Long
Number of Pages 416
Best For Anyone interested in digital photography

If you like to go deep into the fine details of the craft, then Complete Digital Photography is for you. Written by photographer Ben Long, it teaches you all the basics of photography. This book shows you everything from the mechanics of a camera to post-processing.

It covers both the technical aspects and the art of taking photos. With the level of detail and the number of topics this book covers, you won’t even need Google.!

Ben Long’s book gives beginners a missive introduction to digital photography. But it’s such a rich resource, so all digital photographers should take a look. There’s so much to learn in these pages.

4. Learning to See

Mastering Photography: From Beginner to Pro
Subtitle A Photographer's Guide From Zero to Your First Paid Gigs
Author(s) David Molnar
Number of Pages 256
Best For Beginners and enthusiasts looking to become professionals

Learning to See is for you if you want insider information from a seasoned professional. David Molnar is a professional at the top of the photography industry. His client list includes Pepsi, Sony, and Google. And his photos have appeared in People Magazine and the New York Times.

Molnar takes you through the basics of photography. You’ll learn how to use your camera and a range of photography techniques. But it’s all geared around photography becoming a career. It’s serious stuff. But it’s easy to follow and understandable for photographers at any level.

Buying this book is an investment for your photography career. And you’ll definitely see a positive return. Expert advice doesn’t get much more expert than this.

5. Langford’s Basic Photography

Langford’s Photography: Mastering the Art
Subtitle The Guide for Serious Photographers
Author(s) Michael Langford
Number of Pages 568
Best For Beginners and anyone looking to advance their skills

Langford’s Basic Photography is for people who want to pursue photography as a career. Some might find it academic. But it’s one of the most comprehensive photography books for beginners.

This publication is valuable because it helps you choose the best camera and lens for your work. It even offers useful suggestions on the equipment you need for great lighting. Of course, it teaches you skills such as framing and measuring exposure.

But apart from the technical aspects, it also teaches you how to edit and organize your images. It teaches you how to print, finish, and present your photographs. This is one of the best books on photography to help you jump-start your professional work.

6. National Geographic Photo Basics

Mastering Photography: A National Geographic Guide
Subtitle The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Great Photography
Author(s) Joel Sartore, Heather Perry
Number of Pages 256
Best For Beginners and young photographers

National Geographic magazine has been a source of inspiration for photographers for decades. Flip through the pages of any edition, and you’ll be itching to pick up your camera. But if you’re a beginner, you might not know how to achieve the best results.

National Geographic Photo Basics inspires with its stunning photographs. And it also teaches you photography basics, so you can create images that are just as breathtaking. You don’t even need a camera to read this book. The early chapters help you choose a camera for yourself.

Then they take you through the early stages of photography. It’s a fast track to becoming competent with your camera. And it puts you on a path to creating glorious images like those found in the book.

7. LIFE Guide to Digital Photography

Digital Photography: Pro Tips for Amazing Photos
Subtitle Everything You Need to Shoot Like the Pros
Author(s) Joe McNally
Number of Pages 256
Best For Beginners and Enthusiasts

Learn from one of the best photo books about photography on the market. The subtitle of the LIFE Guide to Digital PhotographyEverything You Need to Shoot Like the Pros—pretty much sums it up.

Joe explains how to take advantage of what your camera does best. He also helps you understand when it is wise to outthink your camera and push it to its limits.

What I found useful was the short caption under each photo. It shows you the camera settings it took to create each image. Knowing which settings he uses to recreate breathtaking photos is always beneficial.

8. Understanding Exposure 4th Edition

Mastering Photography: Shoot Great Photos with Any Camera
Subtitle How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera
Author(s) Bryan Peterson
Number of Pages 176
Best For Beginners who want to know more about the fundamentals

With more than 350,000 copies sold, Understanding Exposure 4th Edition is one of the most popular books in photography. It demystifies the complex concepts of exposure for countless photographers.

This photography book maintains Bryan Peterson’s trademark easy-to-understand style. Its best section includes how to achieve successful exposures in challenging situations. You’ll also find information on white balance, flash, and HDR in this photography book.

Sure, these topics may seem a bit advanced. But Peterson makes it all easy to understand. And you can always take this along with you for better photos anytime, anywhere, and with any camera.

9. The Art of Photography

The Art of Photography: A Personal Approach to Artistic Expression
Subtitle A Personal Approach to Artistic Expression
Author(s) Bruce Barnbaum
Number of Pages 408
Best For
Photographers at all levels and other creative artists

Bruce Barnbaum’s The Art of Photography was originally published in 1994 and was first revised in 2010. And the 2017 edition also has dedicated chapters on digital photography.

It represents and explores the more artistic and conceptual sides of photography. And it helps you develop your artistic voice as a photographer. It features 200 black-and-white and color photos accompanied by clear and readable text.

Anyone interested in the visual arts should read this book. It benefits graphic designers, cinematographers, and even painters.

10. Photography

Photography: A Cultural History (4th Edition)
Subtitle A Cultural History (4th Edition)
Author(s) Mary Warner Marien
Number of Pages 352
Best For Photographers at all levels, history fans

Mary Warner Marien’s Photography offers a fascinating account of how photography has altered our perception of the world. She shows us history through the lens of a camera. It’s a gripping account. And the illustrations are spectacular!

This book is easy to understand as you don’t need any technical knowledge. And it’s not just for photographers. Any history buff will be gripped and excited by this photography book.

It aims to educate and inform us about photography. It integrates information about photography and photographers into their historical and cultural contexts.

11. On Photography

On Photography
Subtitle N/A
Author(s) Susan Sontag
Number of Pages 224
Best For Anyone interested in photography

Susan Sontag’s On Photography was first published in 1977. It is one of the most-read books about photography. And it remains an evergreen book for photographers. On Photography contains essays about the changing meaning of photography and photographs.

She examines the role photography plays in different circumstances. But most importantly, she looks at the impact of photography on us and the world. It’s a book for anyone interested in image-making.

It’s a seminal piece of work everyone should read. It’s eye-opening, educational, and inspiring.

Best Books on Composition and Technique

Once you know what you’re doing, the next step is to hone those skills. The secret is to learn what makes photos great. Then you make a goal to replicate that in your own photos.

I’ve learned a lot from the books on this list. What these publications teach can be a lot of information to take in at once. But when you master the techniques, your photos will improve dramatically!

Book Title
Why We Love It
Buy From
Extraordinary Everyday Photography: Awaken Your Vision to Create Stunning Images Wherever You Are
Our Top Choice
  • A great book for photographers at all levels
  • Teaches you how to create dynamic pictures everywhere
  • The techniques can be used with any camera including smartphones
The Landscape Photography Book: The Step-by-step Techniques You Need to Capture Breathtaking Landscape Photos Like the Pros
Best for Landscape Photographers
  • Expert advice from a master of landscape photography
  • Useful for landscape photographers at all skill levels
  • A blend of technical and conceptual advice for better landscapes
Unconventional Photography: Mastering the Art of Location
Best for Photography on Location
  • Helps you achieve the best results in any location
  • Tells you how to achieve studio results when working on location
  • A great book for portrait, fashion, and product photographers
One Face 50 Ways: The Portrait Photography Idea Book
Best for Portrait Photgraphers
  • Chock full of portrait inspiration
  • Broadens your mind for more creative portraiture
  • Portrait, fashion, and even boudoir photographers will learn a lot
The Photographer’s Eye Remastered
Best for Concepts
  • Packed with practical and conceptual advice
  • Helps sharpen your vision as a photographer
  • Easy-to-follow writing style
Unlock Your Creative Potential: Digital Photography
Best for Composition
  • Improves your composition with eye-opening ideas
  • Helps you find your visual voice
  • Gives tips on avoiding photography clichés
Unlock the Secrets of Photography: Tips from a Pro
Best for Editorial Photography
  • Full of McNally's iconic photography work
  • True expert advice from an industry insider
  • Practical advice that's well explained and easy to read
Mastering Black & White Digital Photography
Best for Black and White Photography
  • Ideal for black-and-white photo enthusiasts
  • Breaks down the key elements of B&W photography
  • Excellent bold and dynamic photography examples

1. Extraordinary Everyday Photography

Extraordinary Everyday Photography: Awaken Your Vision to Create Stunning Images Wherever You Are
Subtitle Awaken Your Vision to Create Stunning Images Wherever You Are
Author(s) Brenda Tharp, Jed Manwaring
Number of Pages 160
Best For All creative photographers

Photography is not just taking pictures of staged portraits and exotic travel destinations. Photography is looking at simple things with a new perspective.

Extraordinary Everyday Photography teaches you to capture the unexpected in the mundane. It can be your local park or the street where you live.

Rather than teach photography techniques, the photo book inspires photographers. It includes examples from DSLRs and smartphone cameras. It shows that good photography doesn’t depend on gear or location. Instead, it depends on the photographer’s eye.

2. The Landscape Photography Book

The Landscape Photography Book: The Step-by-step Techniques You Need to Capture Breathtaking Landscape Photos Like the Pros
Subtitle The Step-by-step Techniques You Need to Capture Breathtaking Landscape Photos
Author(s) Scott Kelby
Number of Pages 208
Best For Landscape photographers

Ladies and gentlemen, another book from the award-winning photographer and author Scott Kelby. It’s a must-read if you’re interested in landscape photography or plan to start shooting landscapes.

But you don’t have to be a beginner to find new ideas and tips in The Landscape Photography Book. You’ll learn new skills, improve your composition, and sharpen your vision.

3. Studio Anywhere

Unconventional Photography: Mastering the Art of Location
Subtitle A Photographer's Guide to Shooting in Unconventional Locations
Author(s) Nick Fancher
Number of Pages 241
Best For Portrait, fashion, product, and commercial photographers

It can often be overwhelming to find an excellent spot to shoot. Studio Anywhere is a must-read for photographers who are unlucky in picking the perfect locations. Nick shows us how to use any less-than-ideal location and still get amazing portraits.

And he offers practical help to create a portfolio without a dedicated studio space. It’s perfect for anyone needing help conceptualizing shoots with minimal equipment.

4. One Face Fifty Ways

One Face 50 Ways: The Portrait Photography Idea Book
Subtitle The Portrait Idea Book
Author(s) Imogen Dyer, Mark Wilkinson
Number of Pages 160
Best For Portrait, fashion, and product photographers

This fabulous photography book dives into the art of taking portraits. It shows us how to take 50 different types of shots of the same model. And it’s a practical guide that takes advantage of simple camera techniques.

But do you know what makes One Face Fifty Ways even more indispensable? It uses budget-friendly items from your wardrobe to create a wide variety of shots.

5. The Photographer’s Eye Remastered

The Photographer’s Eye Remastered
Subtitle Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos
Author(s) Michael Freeman
Number of Pages 192
Best For All photographers

Michael Freeman is on this list twice—and with good reason. I love the way he writes.

Design is the most critical factor in creating a successful photograph. It helps you improve your ability to see the potential for a strong picture. Then you organize the graphic elements into a productive, compelling composition.

I think The Photographer’s Eye Remastered is one of the must-read photography books for beginners. Why? Because early on, it trains you to develop your visual style. And that’s unique compared to the other publications on this list.

6. The Photographer’s Mind

Unlock Your Creative Potential: Digital Photography
Subtitle Creative Thinking for Better Digital Photos
Author(s) Michael Freeman
Number of Pages 194
Best For All photographers

The nature of photography includes the demand to intrigue the viewer continually. So this book aims to answer the question, “What makes a photograph great?” It explores how top photographers achieve this goal time and time again.

The Photographer’s Mind provides invaluable knowledge you can’t learn from practical guides. For instance, it helps you avoid clichés on the cyclical nature of fashion, style, mannerisms, and light. It even shows you how to handle the unexpected.

7. The Moment it Clicks

Unlock the Secrets of Photography: Tips from a Pro
Subtitle Photography Secrets from One of the World's Top Shooters
Author(s) Joe McNally
Number of Pages 256
Best For Portrait, fashion, product, and fine art photographers

The Moment it Clicks illustrates the different techniques Joe McNally has employed throughout his career. I’m sure you’ll recognize many of his photos from magazine covers. You’ll gain insight into how each shot was taken, including which equipment he used.

On top of that, you’ll also gain useful knowledge about the challenges of each type of project. This photography book is excellent if you want to set up a similar shot of your own.

8. Creative Black and White

Mastering Black & White Digital Photography
Subtitle Digital Photography Tips and Techniques
Author(s) Harold Davis
Number of Pages 320
Best For Artistic photographers interesting in black-and-white photography

Creative Black and White is one of the best black-and-white photography books ever published. Black-and-white photography poses unique challenges. It makes the point that contrast, lighting, and composition are crucial without color.

Renowned photographer Harold Davis explains these elements in this book. He demonstrates the basic rules of black-and-white photography. But more than that, he also shows you when and how to break them.

Best Books on Photography Lighting

Lighting is an intrinsic component of photography. It can take years to master. And it’s more complex than getting to grips with other aspects, like exposure settings. But you can always make this process faster by learning from the pros.

Amateurs rarely achieve great lighting. But learning techniques from these great photography books is the best way to improve in that area. You’ll have professional illumination in no time!

Book Title
Why We Love It
Buy From
Mastering Canon Speedlites: Crafting Light with Ease
Our Top Choice
  • Best book on working with flashes for Canon users
  • Fantastic tips and techniques for using flash lights for different effects
  • Useful for any photographer, not just Canon users
Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes
Highly Recommended
  • Joe's experience inspires and educates
  • Tells you how to use flashes for maximum effect
  • Great tips for different low-light conditions
Studio Anywhere 2: Hard Light Mastery
Best for Dynamic Lighting
  • Techniques for maximizing natural light
  • DIY tips for getting the most out of your gear
  • Helps you master a variety of lighting techniques for dramatic photos

1. Speedliter’s Handbook

Mastering Canon Speedlites: Crafting Light with Ease
Subtitle Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites
Author(s) Syl Arena
Number of Pages 391
Best For Flash Photography with Canon cameras

Speedliter’s Handbook is mainly for Canon camera users, but it is still useful for people who use other cameras. Most of the information can cross over to other camera brands.

This is an excellent book for those new to flash photography. Using clear language, this book is also ideal for anyone who has given up learning out of frustration.

Arena teaches you everything from creating a classical portrait to shooting an event. Whatever it is, this photography book will show you how.

2. Hot Shoe Diaries

Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes
Subtitle Big Light from Small Flashes
Author(s) Joe McNally
Number of Pages 303
Best For Anyone interested in flash or low-light photography

In Hot Shoe Diaries, Joe shares his lighting solutions for a ton of beautiful images. Joe’s photographs are quite inspirational. He uses a flash all the time when shooting his subjects.

Using Nikon speedlights, Joe lets you in on his uncensored thought process. He demonstrates how he makes his pictures with these small flashes.

3. Studio Anywhere 2: Hard Light

Studio Anywhere 2: Hard Light Mastery
Subtitle A Photographer's Guide to Shaping Hard Light
Author(s) Nick Fancher
Number of Pages 224
Best For Fashion, portrait, and commercial photographers

Nick Fancher’s second entry on our list—Studio Anywhere 2: Hard Light—teaches you how to master light. He gives tips and techniques on maximizing and controlling natural light. And he goes deep into using artificial light, like flashes.

He gives experienced info about lighting equipment. And he has some handy DIY tips for getting the most out of what you have. You’ll be able to shape, bounce, and manipulate light in any location. You’ll be a light master before you get to the final page!

Best Niche Photography Books

Lots of publications focus too much on the most popular genres in photography. But what if you’re into a specific style, such as food or still life photography? Are there any options for you out there? The answer is yes, and there are a lot of them!

For this section, we are only covering five. But even if you don’t practice the niche topics on this list, you should still consider reading them. Who knows, you might end up liking it. Or, if anything, you might learn a thing or two that you can apply to your work.

Book Title
Why We Love It
Buy From
Mastering Travel Photography: 55 Pro Tips
Best for Travel Photography
  • Well-structured and highly consumable information
  • Each principle is explained and illustrated well
  • Opens your eyes to new aspects in travel photography
Still Life in Photography
Best for Fine Art Photography
  • Helps you construct stronger and more dynamic images
  • Brilliant tips for improving composition
  • Illustrations include work from photography masters
Discovering the Art of Film Photography
Best for Film Photography
  • Teaches you about 35mm, medium format, and large format photography
  • Explains everything you need to know from loading film to printing in a dark room
  • Fantastic techniques that use digital technology to enhance your film photography
Create Your Brand: Master Instagram Photos
Best for Influencers and Social Media
  • The authority on building a social media brand
  • Teaches you how to take pictures for social media formats
  • Timeless advice for every-changing tech platforms

1. The Enthusiast’s Guide to Travel Photography

Mastering Travel Photography: 55 Pro Tips
Subtitle 55 Photographic Principles You Need to Know
Author(s) Jordana Wright
Number of Pages 232
Best For Travel photographers and photojournalists

The Enthusiast’s Guide to Travel Photography is the best book to pick up before you go on your next backpacking trip overseas. Travel photography is perhaps one of the most challenging genres in photography. A travel photographer needs to know how to photograph several niches like food and wildlife photography.

Thankfully, this book provides all the photo knowledge you need to trot the globe. Of course, it includes the usual lessons on architecture and urban photography. But it also includes tips on taking portraits of strangers and nighttime landscapes.

2. Still Life in Photography

Still Life in Photography
Subtitle N/A
Author(s) Paul Martineau
Number of Pages 112
Best For Creative and artistic photographers

Still Life in Photography isn’t necessarily a collection of tutorials. Instead, it’s a compendium of the works of some of the best still-life photographers.

The photos come from the J Paul Getty Museum, so the collection, in a sense, feels limited. But regardless, the samples you see are enough to inspire you to create your own masterpieces.

Photographers in this book include Edward Weston, Irving Penn, and Roger Fenton. They’re big names with incredible work that will get your attention!

3. The Film Photography Handbook

Discovering the Art of Film Photography
Subtitle Rediscovering Photography in 35mm, Medium Format, and Large Format
Author(s) Chris Marquardt, Monika Andrae
Number of Pages 282
Best For Anyone interested in film photography

Film photography is back in fashion in a big way. And whether you’re a film photography veteran or a beginner, you need The Film Photography Handbook. As the title says, this is the ultimate handbook for film photography. It has all the necessary information, from loading film to printing photos.

What makes this invaluable is that it includes digital technology in the mix. Where else can you find a book that shows you how to digitize your film? It even shows you how to use your smartphone as a light meter!

4. Capture Your Style

Create Your Brand: Master Instagram Photos
Subtitle Transform Your Instagram Photos, Showcase Your Life, and Build the Ultimate Platform
Author(s) Aimee Song
Number of Pages 208
Best For Influencers and social media creators

Instagram evolves so fast that any book written about it could be useless by now. But social media star Aimee Song’s Capture Your Style is definitely an outlier.

The book was published in 2016 to massive fanfare. Years later, it remains one of the authoritative books on Instagram and influencer photography. Song teaches you the basics of taking pictures for Instagram. But she also shows you how to gain followers and become Insta-famous.

Sure, there are tons of new features on Instagram that you can’t find in this older book. But the main tenets of social media photography are still there and will remain for years. Because, in the end, taking click-worthy photos is never going to be out of fashion.

Best Collection and Compilation Books

You can learn a lot by looking at other people’s photos. It’s what makes these books on photography as crucial as regular textbooks.

But it was hard to choose one photographer over another for this list. I felt I had to disregard 100 photographers for each one I included.

The photographers below are perhaps some of my ultimate idols in photography. But they are by no means the only ones I look up to.

Book Title
Why We Love It
Buy From
Decade
Our Top Choice
  • A brilliant visual history of a momentous decade
  • Beautifully printed and well-written accounts
  • A must-have for fans of modern history
Robert Frank: In America
Best Historical Viewpoint
  • A fantastic collection from an icon of American photography
  • Printed well with crisp and clear photographs
  • A personal view into 1950s America
National Geographic Image Collection
Best for Wildlife and Nature
  • Breathtaking wildlife and natural photographs
  • Includes classic images from early NGO publications
  • Documents the lengths the photographers took to achieve these incredible photos
Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs
Best Traditional Collection
  • A behind-the-lens account from a pioneer of photography
  • Illustrated with incredible black-and-white images
  • A personal account that helps you improve your own photography skills
70 Years of Iconic Photography: Platinum Anniv.
Best Cultural History Collection
  • Includes hundreds of iconic images from the pages of LIFE
  • Features work from the finest photographers of the last century
  • A true expression of cultural history any history buff can enjoy
Robert Capa: Photographs
Best for Photojournalism
  • Contains some of Capa's most memorable war images
  • Demonstrates Capa's versatility as a photographer
  • Shows the basis for modern photojournalism
Decade
Subtitle N/A
Author(s) Aemmon McCabe, Terrence McNamee
Number of Pages 512
Best For History buffs and photojournalism fans

Decade was a recent birthday present, and I’ve picked it up daily since then. And it’s not difficult to understand why this is one of the best photo books.

It’s a collection of famous photos of memorable events between 2000 and 2010. And each image has a brief description that serves as a history lesson.

It jogs your memory and reminds you what a momentous decade it was. It’s a good source of inspiration. But it’s also a great coffee table book or conversation piece.

2. Robert Frank

Robert Frank: In America
Subtitle In America
Author(s) Robert Frank
Number of Pages 196
Best For Documentary photography and history fans

Robert Frank is a fantastic collection of photos from the seminal photographer. He was a central figure who documented the United States in the 1950s. And he created some of the most iconic images of that era. Frank’s cultural documentation is invaluable for anyone interested in that period.

It is hard to believe his photos came from one photographer’s viewfinder. It covers racial tension, glamor, and Americans’ love for cars. The latter might be because Frank himself had a fondness for the road.

He shows a cultural history with a human touch. This book is a great reminder of America’s past through some fantastic images. This famous photographer’s inspirational work deserves to be on your bookshelf.

3. National Geographic Image Collection

National Geographic Image Collection
Subtitle N/A
Author(s) Leah Bendavid-Val
Number of Pages 512
Best For Travel, landscape, wildlife, nature, and documentary photographers

Behind this title lies one of the most compelling graphic resources on Earth. I present The National Geographic Image Collection.

It’s an archive that includes a wide range of images… of the earliest photos from the late 19th century to modern ones taken today. It includes both iconic and never-before-seen images from around the world.

Of course, we already know that this book represents thousands of species. But it also showcases terrific human achievements in exploration, adventure, and science. And they are placed in a historical, artistic, technical, and journalistic context.

(And if you’re into portraits, you must look at National Geographic’s book of portraits.)

4. Examples

Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs
Subtitle The Making of 40 Photographs
Author(s) Ansel Adams
Number of Pages 180
Best For Landscape and film photographers, and anyone interested in traditional photography

Examples has some of the best black-and-white photography I’ve ever seen. Each of Adams’ 40 photographs presented here accompanies an engaging narrative. The text explores the technical and aesthetic problems of each scene he photographed.

As far as famous photographers go, Ansel Adams is at the top of the list. So grab a copy and understand what makes this one of the best photography books.

5. LIFE 70 Years of Extraordinary Photography

70 Years of Iconic Photography: Platinum Anniv.
Subtitle The Platinum Anniversary Collection
Author(s) Editors of LIFE
Number of Pages 304
Best For All photographers and history fans

LIFE 70 Years of Extraordinary Photography is one of the best photography books, with over 70 years of great images. And they all come from one of the most influential magazines of the 20th century—LIFE.

This book is like Decade and National Geographic Image Collection. LIFE 70 Years of Extraordinary Photography presents history in photos. It highlights the most famous and beautiful pictures from the magazine’s history. It has some of the best photography you will see.

6. Robert Capa

Robert Capa: Photographs
Subtitle Photographs
Author(s) Robert Capa
Number of Pages 192
Best For Photojournalists, documentary photographers, and history fans

Robert Capa is the father of modern photojournalism. He was intrepid, brave, and had a fantastic eye for a photo. He is most well-known for his war reportage, snapping violence in the Spanish Civil War and World War II.

His shots remain some of the most famous examples of wartime. But he was more than just a war photographer. This collection shows the true breadth of his photography work. His documentary work is powerful and poignant. And you also find intimate and engaging portraits.

Capa was a true photography talent. And his photographs are still just as striking as ever.

Best Post-Processing Photography Books

When you’ve been out taking photos all day, there are always going to be a few that need extra work. If you’re shooting in RAW, there will be a lot. So below are the best books on the three most popular post-processing software:

  1. Adobe Lightroom
  2. Adobe Elements
  3. Adobe Photoshop
Book Title
Why We Love It
Buy From
Adobe Lightroom Classic CC: The Photog’s Guide
Our Top Choice
  • A must-have for anyone using Adobe Lightroom
  • Written by one of the world's leading photographers and editors
  • The plain-English style makes it accessible for all users
Mastering Adobe Photoshop Elements 2022
Best for Elements Beginners
  • The most comprehensive book on Photoshop Elements
  • Handy practical tips for getting setup and organizing work
  • Detailed and thorough but understandable throughout
Adobe Photoshop Classroom in a Book
Best for Photoshop Beginners
  • The official Adobe workbook
  • Takes you through the basics to more advanced editing techniques
  • Valuable for anyone in the creative industries
  • The language is accessible for everyone from beginners to experienced editors

1. The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC Book for Digital Photographers

Adobe Lightroom Classic CC: The Photog’s Guide
Subtitle (Voices That Matter)
Author(s) Scott Kelby
Number of Pages 504
Best For All digital photographers

As mentioned, Scott Kelby is an American photographer and the publisher of many books. He is an avid user and educator of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

In The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC Book for Digital Photographers, Scott did his most significant update ever in this book. He shares all his latest techniques, insights, and invaluable tips for Lightroom. His award-winning, step-by-step, plain-English style makes learning Lightroom easy and fun.

He shares his settings and time-tested techniques. It consists of proven methods of learning Lightroom. So, you can begin using it like a pro from the start.

2. Mastering Adobe Photoshop Elements 2022

Mastering Adobe Photoshop Elements 2022
Subtitle Boost Your Image-editing Skills Using the Lastest Adobe Tools and Techniques
Author(s) Robin Nichols
Number of Pages 420
Best For All Adobe users

Mastering Adobe Photoshop Elements 2022 is the book on how to use Adobe Photoshop Elements for photo editing. It’s thorough, detailed, and extremely well-written. Any photographer can breeze through the pages, learning as they go. It’s a great way for beginners to get a head start on photo editing with Photoshop Elements.

Nichols doesn’t only focus on editing. He has useful tips and techniques to manage your editing setup, organize your library, and develop your visual style. Adobe software can seem daunting for photographers new to photo editing. But this book is understandable and practical. It’s an investment worth making.

3. Adobe Photoshop Classroom in a Book

Adobe Photoshop Classroom in a Book
Subtitle (2020 Realease) 1st Edition
Author(s) Andrew Faulkner, Conrad Chavez
Number of Pages 416
Best For All Photoshop users

For beginners, Adobe Photoshop can be stressful and challenging to learn. Post-production software has a very steep learning curve. But thankfully, Andrew Faulkner and Conrad Chavez created Adobe Photoshop Classroom in a Book.

Don’t worry if the title gives you flashbacks from your school days. It’s well-written and easy to understand. It takes you through the basics. And you never feel like you’re being talked down to. Plus, all the text is accompanied by helpful illustrations. It helps you click in all the right places!

Bonus Book: Your Camera Manual!

There is so much information in your camera manual. It’s not just irrelevant facts specific to your camera. The day I got my first DSLR, I got out the manual and began reading. I must have read it while playing with my camera for two weeks.

It always frustrates me when friends don’t know how to do something on their cameras. That’s the one thing holding them back. They’d be much better photographers if they knew how to work their cameras. So I encourage you to give it a read.

Camera sitting on top of photography books
© Markus Spiske (Unsplash.com)

Conclusion

These days, you can find everything you need about photography online. But nothing compares to flipping the pages and viewing printed pictures. So go ahead, pick up a book. You’ll learn, develop, and find inspiration.

Read This if You Want to Take Great Photographs is our favorite photography book. Any photographer can pick it up and learn something new… And that’s true of all the photography books on our list. There are hundreds of amazing photography books. But these 35 are the best photography books right now!

Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs
Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs
If you’re looking to take your photography to the next level, this book is the perfect resource to help you take great photos.
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