I started writing this blog because I found it difficult to learn a lot from the internet. It’s hard to find good, reliable content. In the end, you find yourself staring at a glaring screen covered in ads.
Photography books cost money but the content is excellent and you can take it anywhere.
All the information and photos in the books below come from professionals. Here, they provide insight into their work – the internet can’t compete.
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Basics of Photography
Let’s start at the beginning.
Excellent photography requires a strong foundation. These books will ensure that you know exactly how to use your camera gear. This includes how to use settings, and technical knowledge properly.
If you struggle with these areas, read books on the basics of photography. I assure you that the speed at which you learn will only increase.
This book guides you through every aspect of digital photography. From shooting, through post-production and finally printing. This will help you master the theory and technical skills required of a photographer.
In an easy-to-understand format, it’s the complete package. There’s also a bonus chapter to help you choose the right digital camera. So it’s one of the best photography books to start with. Even before you’ve even bought one!
In this photography book, you’ll learn everything. Not only how to form images, but also how to control what you capture. From the best camera and lens type for your work to the equipment needed for great lighting.
You’ll learn how to frame, measure exposure and how to edit, organize and store your digital images.
And finally, you’ll learn how to print, finish and present your photographs. On top of that, it helps you understand how to get your work noticed. This is an excellent, all-inclusive package.
‘Everything You Need to Shoot Like the Pros’ is the subtitle of this book and pretty much sums it up.
Inside, Joe explains how best 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 little caption under each photo. It shows you the settings it took to create each image. Knowing the f-stop, shutter speed and ISO used can be helpful. You will understand how to replicate the same images.
This explains how to take your photography to the next level. Find out from one of the best photo books on the market.
With more than 350,000 copies sold, this is one of the most popular photography books. It demystifies the complex concepts of exposure for countless photographers.
The book keeps his trademark easy-to-understand style. Author Bryan Peterson explains the relationship between aperture and shutter speed. This includes how to achieve successful exposures in difficult situations.
You’l find information on white balance, flash, HDR, and more. This updated classic will inspire you to stop guessing. It will allow you to take control of your settings.
Use this photography book for better photos anytime, anywhere, and with any camera.
I found this photography book particularly fascinating. It’s a history not of iconic images but, rather, of the machines that made them possible.
Some of the biggest developments are thoroughly discussed. This goes from the earliest wet plate cameras to the cameras NASA used on the moon.
Detailed captions provide technical information. They also give glimpses into the personalities of those who created the cameras. You’ll find over 350 color illustrations in side, making it one of the best photo books.
Composition & Technique
Once you know what you’re doing, this is the next step towards taking amazing photos. Learn what makes photos great, then how to put in place that information into your own photos.
I’ve learned a lot from these books. It can be a lot of information to take in at once. But, when you’ve mastered it, your photos will improve dramatically.
Michael Freeman is on this list twice and with good reason: I love the way he writes.
Design is the single most important factor in creating a successful photograph. It helps you work on your ability to see the potential for a strong picture. Then organize the graphic elements into an effective, compelling composition.
This has always been one of the key skills in making photographs. Learn how from one of the best photo books on the shelf.
The nature of photography demands that the viewer be constantly intrigued. This is more so than in any other art form.
The aim of this book is to answer the question “what makes a photograph great?” It explores the ways in which top photographers achieve this goal, time and time again.
As you delve deeper, The Photographer’s Mind will provide you with invaluable knowledge.
Included is information on avoiding clichés on the cyclical nature of fashion, style, mannerism and light. And even how to handle the unexpected. Hurrah for this, as it is one of the best photo books around.
In this book, you’ll see Joe’s brilliant images. They illustrate the many different techniques he employed throughout his career. I’m sure you’ll recognize many of his photos from magazine covers.
You’ll gain insight into the story of how each shot was taken, including which equipment he used. Expect to see information on lenses, f/stops, lighting, accessories, et al.
On top of this, You’ll also gain useful knowledge about the challenges with each type of project. This photography book is great if you are looking to set up a similar shot of your own.
Black-and-white photography poses unique challenges. The main point is this. The contrast, lighting, and composition take on more importance when color doesn’t guide the eye.
Renowned photographer Harold Davis explains these elements. He further demonstrates the basic rules of black and white photography. Also, when and how to break them.
He breaks through the complexity of this photographic medium. On top of this, he explores opportunities for black-and-white imagery. And shows how to capitalize on every one.
Look through his inspirational photography from one of the best photography books around.
Lighting is an intrinsic component of photography and takes years to master. This is much longer than getting to grips with, for example, the right exposure settings. This process can be faster by learning from the pros.
Good lighting is rarely achieved by amateurs. By learning the techniques laid out in these books, you’re already rising above the rest.
This is a book aimed towards Canon users, but I find it very useful. Having read it, the majority of the information can cross over to other brands.
For those new to flash photography, we have the book. For anyone who has given up out of frustration, the Speedliter’s Handbook is a revelation.
Whether you want to create a classical portrait, shoot an event, or simply add a little fill light. The Speedliter’s Handbook will show you how. This photography book will show you how it should be done.
In The Hot Shoe Diaries, Joe brings you behind the scenes to share his lighting solutions for a ton of great images.
Using Nikon Speedlights, Joe lets you in on his uncensored thought process. He demonstrates how he makes his pictures with these small flashes. Thanksfully he has very inspirational photography.
Whether he’s photographing a gymnast on the Great Wall, or a fire truck careening through Times Square. Joe uses these flashes to create great light that makes his pictures sing.
It’s hard to choose a photographer, in particular, to add to this list. This is because, for every photographer I add, I have to disregard 100.
I’ve chosen the work of many over the work of one. I also included some of my favorite collections of photos ever published.
You can learn a lot by looking at other people’s photos. This is what makes these photography books as important as a book on the basics.
This was a recent birthday present and I’ve been picking it up daily ever since. It’s not difficult to understand why this is one of the best photo books around.
It’s a collection of famous photos of memorable events from the past 10 years. The images coupled with a brief description of what the photo is about.
It helps to jog your memory and remind you of what’s going on in the world. I find it a good source of inspiration but it’s just as good a coffee table book or conversation piece.
A very famous collection of photos from Robert Frank shot during 1955-1956. In a nutshell, it’s an amazing collection of photos. Hard to believe they came from one photographer’s viewfinder.
He saw the roiling racial tension, glamour and beauty and, Americans’ love for cars. This might be because Frank himself had a fondness of the road.
It’s a great reminder of America’s past with some fantastic photography. Not only is this famous photographer’s work inspirational, but together, it makes one of the best photo books on the shelf.
National Geographic has a worldwide reputation. Behind this lies one of the most unique graphic resources on Earth. I present The National Geographic Image Collection.
It’s an archive from the earliest photographs. From the late 19th century to the cutting-edge work of today. It includes both iconic and never-before-seen images from virtually every corner of the globe.
Every species of wildlife is represented. Amazing human achievements in exploration, adventure, science, and more showcase here. They place themselves in a historic, artistic, technical, and journalistic context. Do your self a favor and grab a copy of one of the best photo books on the internet.
Truly 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 presented by the subject. This includes the reminiscences of the places and people involved.
The man is an artist, through and through. As far as famous photographers go, Ansel Adams is at the top of the list. Grab a copy and understand what makes this one of the best photography books.
This book has collected 70 years of photography. They all come from one of the most influential publications of the 20th century.
Like Decade and National Geographic, LiFE presents history in photos. The book highlights the most famous and beautiful pictures from the magazine’s history.
The fourth edition of Our World Now captures the key events from 2010. You’ll find more than 350 powerful photographs.
Organized into four sections, images cover the full range of global reporting. Each section represents a season or quarter of the year.
Politics, commerce, conflict, the environment, natural disasters, faith and festivities. Even entertainment, celebrity and lifestyle are all represented.
The photos offer a fresh take on the year’s most memorable events as well as plenty of less-familiar stories.
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’s going to be a lot.
Below are the best books on the three most popular post-processing software.
Scott Kelby is an American photographer and the publisher of many books. He is an avid user and educator of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, which this book focuses on.
Here, Scott did his biggest update ever. He shares all of his latest techniques, insights, and invaluable tips. His award-winning, step-by-step, plain-English style makes learning Lightroom easy and fun. He doesn’t just show you which sliders do what (every Lightroom book does that, right?).
Instead, he shares his own personal settings and time-tested techniques. A great and proven step-by-step method of learning Lightroom. So you can begin using it like a pro from the start.
Of all the post-production features you will need, image sharpening is one of the most important. This photography book looks at image sharpening across three different software platforms.
You can sharpen images in Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and Camera Raw. The book shows you every possible way. A great book for anyone using any of the mentioned programs, or even if you have all three.
For beginners, Adobe Photoshop is stressful and difficult to learn. From the get-go, you’ll realize that the post-production software has a very steep learning curve. Thankfully, Andrew Faulkner and Conrad Chavez created The Adobe Photoshop CC Book.
If easy-to-understand text is the best way for you to learn, this is the book for you. There are images alongside every technique and feature. This will help you find the right place for your mouse-clicks. This book is a perfect addition to any photographer’s bookshelf.
Bonus – Your Camera Manual!
There is so much information in there. Not just irrelevant facts specific to your camera as you might think.
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 camera. That’s the one thing holding them back. If they just knew how to work their cameras, they’d be much better photographers.
Have I missed one of your favorites? Almost certainly. Leave a comment to let us and everyone else reading this know what you think is worth reading.
If you want to get to know more about photography, check out our post on 25 awesome photography facts you probably didn’t know next!