Best Photography Books

Best Photography Books

Look though these top 30 best photography books that can help you improve your skills and find inspiration for creative photo ideas. No matter you’re a beginner or experienced photographer – you will definitely find a good coffee-table or educational book below.

best photography books

Top 30 Best Photography Books

Regardless of whether you have just started taking pictures or you have hundreds of photos in your portfolio, you should continue improving your skills. Digital photography books can be an inexhaustible source of useful information and inspiration.

1. Photographers A-Z

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Author: Hans Michael Koetzle
Pages: 444

  • Comprehensive collection of photographers
  • Lots of illustrations
  • Great design
  • Info on photographers is basic

This is the best book to learn photography history. You can find interesting information about the photographers who left the most significant mark in the industry.

The author talks about outstanding personalities from the very beginnings of photography to representatives of contemporary genres. You can learn about the most significant photographers from different parts of the world and get familiar with their work.

2. The Beginner's Photography Guide

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Author: Chris Gatcum
Pages: 192

  • Divided into theme groups
  • Simple and easy to understand
  • Practical hints
  • Beautiful design
  • Some explanations are too short

This is one of the best photography books for amateurs. The author will tell you about a variety of key concepts such as manual camera settings, working with flashes, exposure, etc.

Moreover, you will find excellent checklists with a description of the necessary settings for different techniques. You can also view sample photos taken in the same conditions but with different camera settings.

This learning photography book is filled with many images that can inspire you to create your own digital masterpieces.

3. The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Taking Photos Like a Pro

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Author: Jim Miotke
Pages: 240

  • Simple
  • Camera settings given to every picture
  • Includes exercises
  • Terminology is too elementary

Tips and recommendations given here are quite universal and suitable for any camera. This is one of the best photography books that contains many simple explanations that will help you work out all the tricks profession photographers use.

First, the author talks about the basic aspects and then describes the main features of twenty of the most popular genres such as family, monochrome, portrait, macro photography, etc.

4. The Art of Photography: A Personal Approach to Artistic Expression

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Author: Bruce Barnbaum
Pages: 408

  • Informative
  • Numerous pictures
  • Inspiring
  • A bit repetitive

In the new edition of the book, Bruce pays more attention to digital photography. The book covers issues, such as the digital zone system and photo adjustments applying digital tools.

Such themes as “traditional vs digital” approaches and “art vs technique” are raised. The author covers not only the technical aspects. He also considers the creative and philosophical aspects of photography.

5. The Guide for Serious Photographers

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Author: Michael Langford, Anna Fox, Richard Sawdon Smith
Pages: 448

  • Easy to understand
  • Each chapter has a summary
  • Some concepts aren’t well-explained

The authors of the book will acquaint you with all the important issues of photography from preparation for shooting to the final image post-processing and output.

You will learn how to form an image properly, control a camera to get incredible photos. This photography for beginners book contains useful information about cameras and other equipment for shooting, as well as many useful tips on how to become successful in your business.

6. Pro Secrets to Dramatic Digital Photos

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Author: Jim Zuckerman
Pages: 176

  • Great explanations
  • Illustrated
  • Practical tips
  • The print could be larger

This one of the best photography books that is filled with professional tips on many technical and abstract points of outdoor photography. You will learn how to edit photos so that they are attractive without losing their naturalness.

Moreover, the author pays a lot of attention to the principles of composition that will undoubtedly help you get better results.

7. A Photographer's Guide to Shooting in Unconventional Locations

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Author: Nick Fancher
Pages: 272

  • Lots of example images
  • Suitable for novices and pros
  • Too concentrated on Lightroom

Are you looking for the digital photography book which will provide you with useful information on how to take great pictures without expensive equipment? Then this book can be a reliable guide to your success.

You will get a lot of practical hints on how to get great shots outside the studio. In addition, the author pays a lot of attention to photo enhancement and the most popular photo editors.

8. Mastering Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO and Exposure

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Author: Al Judge
Pages: 70

  • Fast and easy read
  • Clear definition of all terms
  • Only explains basics

Would you like to know more about the Exposure Triangle? Do you need some basic knowledge of lighting to be able to cope with any tasks? Then choose this option from my recommended photography books.

The book contains many illustrations and charts to simplify perception. All photo terminology is explained at an understandable level. You will also find many useful things related to various camera settings, including shutter Speed, aperture and ISO.

9. The Most Common Photography Problems and How to Solve Them

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Author: Bryan Peterson
Pages: 144

  • Aimed at novices
  • Many useful tips
  • Simple instructions
  • Fairly short

This book will be a real find for those who have problems with exposure. The author talks about various situations with exposure in the studio and outdoors, describes possible difficulties and suggests possible solutions.

You can find the answers on how to properly balance a brightly lit background and objects in the shade. Learn how to capture the full moon or take a picture at sunset.

10. The Secrets to Creating Amazing Headshot Portraits

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Author: Peter Hurley
Pages: 240

  • Personal secrets
  • Informative
  • Illustrated
  • Too much info on the author

The author of the book shares with you his secrets of successful headshots. Peter Hurley explains how to adjust the lighting so that the face is captured in the most advantageous way.

In addition, one of the best portrait photography books contains tips on how to get a natural, attractive smile, choose the right positioning and so on. Peter's invaluable experience can be the necessary foundation that will lead you to amazing headshots.

11. Light and Lens: Photography in the Digital Age

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Author: Robert Hirsch
Pages: 454

  • Completely up-to-date
  • Convenient page format
  • Big choice of exercises
  • No illustrations

This option is one of the most advanced digital photography books for beginners. The author raises such topics as studio lighting, aesthetics, and even some aspects of picture editing in Photoshop.

Readers will be able to find basic information about the principles and methods of creating digital photos, saving and outputting them. Robert Hirsch analyzed the theory and methodology of photography and gave readers a lot of practical exercises that are often used by the best teachers of photo art.

12. Light Science & Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting

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Author: Fil Hunter, Steven Biver, Paul Fuqua
Pages: 400

  • Detailed guidelines
  • Lots of practical tips
  • Special informative sidebars
  • Suitable for all
  • Photo gear isn’t taken into account

If you want to learn as much as possible about the light, its nature and basic principles, then this professionals’ and beginners’ photography book is exactly what you need. You will find many great illustrations, tables, diagrams, practical tips, etc.

The author will share practical tips on how to adjust the lighting properly for the most capricious objects, including metals, liquids and glass.

13. Learn Step by Step How to Go from Empty Studio to Finished Image

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Author: Scott Kelby
Pages: 264

  • Lots of methodological information
  • Illustrated
  • Focuses on studio photography

This is one of the most comprehensive photography books about studio light. It covers a wide range of issues related not only to the preparation for shooting and photographing itself but also further image improvement.

The author tells what equipment you need for shooting, how to arrange it in the best way, and what settings to choose. Besides, you will learn about some of the important points of image post-processing in Photoshop.

14. The Flash Book

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Author: Scott Kelby
Pages: 208

  • Many guidelines
  • No unnecessary information
  • For photographers with any experience
  • Only about off-camera flash

Working with flashes requires knowledge and skills to get the desired result. The author presents you his system, which he successfully applies during his photoshoots. Each page is related to a tip or idea.

Scott described the basic flash settings without burdening you with too complex and unnecessary info. In addition, you can get familiar with the camera settings that Scott uses (it is quite possible that they will be suitable for you).

15. Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites

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Author: SylArena
Pages: 432

  • Extensive explanations
  • Half a thousand pictures
  • Not suitable for other flash users

The book, which starts with a detailed tour of what color and light are, will help you navigate through the exhaustive description of everything connected with Canon Speedlite range, including accessories and equipment that go with it.

It provides plenty of examples of more than 500 photos with beautiful light, which will help you learn how to create various images, like portraits, event or product shots. It’s an amazing resource, one of the best photography books about light and how it works.

16. Photoshop Elements 2019 for Dummies

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Author: Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova
Pages: 448

  • About Photoshop Elements
  • Clear instructions
  • In full color
  • Lacks examples

If you are looking for a handbook that will teach you about basic and artistic ways you can use Photoshop Elements to edit your photos, then you need this one. You can be a beginner or a photo retoucher with experience – this book will help you learn Photoshop Elements, which, in its turn, will assist you in turning your images into breathtaking works of art.

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

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Author: Scott Kelby
Pages: 504

  • An exhaustive handbook
  • Effective techniques only
  • Uncomplicated
  • Lots of typos

This most recent update to the book about Lightroom Classic CC presents all the new techniques, special features, and priceless recommendations on how to use Lightroom. Scott Kelby will teach you the basic controls of Lightroom, share with you his own tried-and-true techniques and settings in easy step-by-step way of learning the software. This is a gem among other best photography books for image editing.

18. Image Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop, Camera Raw, and Lightroom

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Author: Bruce Fraser, Jeff Schewe
Pages: 360

  • Creative sharpening techniques
  • Workflow strategies
  • Detailed explanations
  • Not all technical terms are defined

This is one of the best digital photography books about sharpening. The authors have created an extensive manual about the variety of sharpening tools in Photoshop, Lightroom and Camera Raw.

If you have any kinds of questions about using sharpening, this book will give you the answers. With its help, you will be able to streamline your photo post-processing, learn how to use sharpening and noise reduction for different types of images.

19. Essential Techniques for Mastering Layer Masks, Brushes, and Blend Modes

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Author: Glyn Dewis
Pages: 256

  • Clear explanation
  • Offers a useful links collection
  • Offers hands-on experience
  • Focuses on only 3 PS techniques

This book focuses on just three components of Photoshop: layer masks, brushes and blend modes. The author of the book firmly believes that if you master these tricks, there will be nothing you are unable to do in Photoshop.

There is a bonus chapter in which the author breaks down how to use some techniques for very specific purposes, such as creating smoke or using contrast, sharpness and light to bring depth to your image.

The final chapter of the book is a project that gives you a great hands-on experience of using the features discussed, which makes it one of the best photography books for beginners.

20. Photoshop Elements 2019 Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts in Easy Steps

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Author: Nick Vandome
Pages: 192

  • For both PC and Mac versions
  • More than 1,000 tips
  • Fully illustrated
  • Plain language
  • Lacks organization

The author has created an excellent manual that will take you from beginning to advanced level with clear instructions, photo editing tips and tricks along with some hidden secrets of Photoshop Elements.

It’s also one of the best photography books for experts who want to refresh their knowledge of the software.

21. Adobe Photoshop CC for Photographers 2018

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Author: Martin Evening
Pages: 768

  • Clear and comprehensive
  • Convenient navigation
  • Great value for money
  • Background knowledge is needed

In the manual, you can find the description of all recent Photoshop CC updates, among which there are such functions as the painting tool, Pen path tool refinements, and Range Masking in Camera Raw.

You will learn everything you need to know about Photoshop CC, starting with basic skills to higher-level techniques that will give you a polished outcome. Clear instructions make it the best book to learn photography editing in Photoshop.

22. Lightroom CC Complete Training

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Author: Serge Ramelli
Pages: 794

  • Comprehensive
  • Clear text structure
  • Full of practical information
  • Additional tutorials on YouTube
  • Quite long

A learning photography book by Serge Ramelli will become your guide to the workflow in Lightroom and all components of Lightroom CC. The way the information is presented will make it easy for everyone to understand.

You will read about all the secrets of Lightroom and will be able to use it as an expert photo retoucher. As an additional bonus, you will get access to YouTube tutorials.

23. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC Classroom in a Book

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Author: Rafael Concepcion
Pages: 416

  • Well-organized
  • Recent Adobe features
  • Interactive quizzes and videos
  • Quite expensive

This is one of the best photography books that will teach you about Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom Classic CC. It offers its readers 12 lessons covering every topic you need to know about using these photo editing softwares.

In the end, you get a collection of handy tricks that will help you use the software more efficiently, optimize your workflow with smart tools, and make adjustments selectively with color and tone range masking.

24. Adobe Photoshop CC Classroom in a Book

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Author: Andrew Faulkner, Conrad Chavez
Pages: 416

  • Well-structured
  • Beautifully illustrated
  • Photoshop icons/sliders are shown
  • Not enough advanced editing

There are 15 project lessons in this manual with step-by-step methods showing you how to work in Photoshop. It will teach you about photo correction, enhancing and distorting, the ways you can make image composites and all about image web-publishing.

This edition is updated with new tools and features of Photoshop for 2019. Even if you are looking for digital photography books for beginners, you will be able to find a lot of useful information here.

25. Adobe Photoshop CS6 Bible

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Author: Brad Dayley, DaNae Dayley
Pages: 1104

  • Detailed
  • 16-page full-color insert
  • Relatively low price
  • Before/after images in black and white
  • Not for Mac users

This is the latest edition of the book where you can find out about all the new tools of Photoshop CS6. Some of these are Lens Blur, Match Color, histogram palette.

You will learn about keyboard shortcuts, how to work with photo retouching, Camera Raw images, color correction, web-publishing, etc.

If you are looking for photography for beginners book with handy tips and tricks, here is literally a bible for you.

26. Running a Successful Photography Business

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Author: Lisa Pritchard
Pages: 192

  • Explains main business aspects
  • First-hand experience
  • Clear and simple language
  • Suitable only for freelancers

If you are looking for the best photography book that will also teach you about how to create and run your own business, then this full manual is perfect. It covers all the main aspects of a photography business, starting from creating your brand, finding and keeping clients, to all the legal issues, agents and agencies, etc.

This is basically everything you need to know in order to establish a successful business.

27. Best Business Practices for Photographers

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Author: John Harrington
Pages: 832

  • Useful information
  • Legal questions explained
  • Some chapters irrelevant for business

John Harrington has updated his bestseller on the topic and has given us this textbook about everything you need to know in terms of starting and successfully running your own business. In this book, the business is broken down into key milestones.

The author explains how you can start, plan your work, market it, etc. It will be equally helpful for beginners and experts who might need some advice on how to improve their existing practice.

28. How to Start a Photography Business When You Have No Money, No Time, and No Energy

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Author: Angela Goodhart
Pages: 136

  • Excellent for beginners
  • Only tried and true tips
  • Excellent encouragement
  • Low price
  • Too short

If you are a professional and you are on the lookout for learning photography books, this one will be your ticket to the world of photography business. What this particular manual gives you is a detailed road map full of useful recommendations and strategies that will eventually help you start a business that will prosper.

You will learn where you can find the time, about different ways to improve your skills and how to showcase them in your portfolio.

29. Everything You Need to Know for Your Photography Business

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Author: Sal Cincotta
Pages: 191

  • Simple action plan for beginners
  • Step-by-step after each chapter
  • Motivating
  • Short chapters
  • Few real-life examples

If you, as a photographer, have ever had questions about how to deal with marketing, pricing and contracts, then this book by Sal Cincotta, who is a famous photographer and business owner, will take you on the journey of becoming a successful business owner.

It is one of the most recommended photography books, as the author explains what kind of business you should choose, how to create a business and a marketing plan, how to set your business goals and reach them.

30. The Savvy Photographer's Guide to Sales, Marketing, and More

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Author: Lara White
Pages: 336

  • Very informative
  • Clearly-written
  • Quite detailed
  • Logically-organized
  • Lots of irrelevant images

This isn’t one of the best photography books, but it is one of the best textbooks on how to run a photography business. The author won’t teach you about equipment or Photoshop, instead, you will find out about how you can control your business.

It will take you from doing photography as a hobby to becoming a successful business owner armed with many ideas and tricks.

Ann Young

Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a professional blogger, read more