Best Photography Books

Best Photography Books

Photography books are a great place to find motivation and get some technical skills. Add one or several books on photography to your reading list for inspiration.

33 Best Photography Books

I’ve categorized the books into categories: from the best photography books for beginners to the business tips and more – these are the best classical and modern photography books for the money.

1. How to Create Stunning Digital Photography

Author: Tony Northrup
Print Length: 241 pages
Publication Date: December 11, 2011

How to Create Stunning Digital Photography is Amazon's #1 rated and best-selling digital photography book, and the first ever Gold Honoree of the Benjamin Franklin Digital Award. This book gives you innovations no other book offers: free video training, access to the private group on Facebook, hands-on practices and tests, 500+ original example pictures.

2. Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs

Author: Henry Carroll
Print Length: 128 pages
Publication Date: March 25, 2014

If you have always wanted to take good pictures but shun away from photography books filled with incomprehensible jargon, then this book may be for you. This book contains no graphs, no techie diagrams and no camera–club jargon, instead, it is packed with hands–on tips and inspires readers through analyzing iconic images by famous photographers.

3. The Beginner's Photography Guide

Author: Chris Gatcum
Print Length: 192 pages
Publication Date: May 10, 2016

The Beginner's Photography Guide, is a bestselling manual for any novice photographer who wants to unlock the potential of their new digital camera. Assuming no prior knowledge, this guide's easy-to-follow, step-by-step layout makes it accessible as it takes you through every technique you need to create stunning images, from exposure to camera flashes to image enhancement.

4. Picture Perfect Posing

Author: Roberto Valenzuela
Print Length: 336 pages
Publication Date: March 9, 2014

If you want to be able to pose your subject in a natural and compelling way to take your portrait photography from good to amazing - this book is a must for anyone who shoots people for a living. The author discusses every component of what makes portrait photography poses work, as well as fail.

5. Learning to See Creatively, Third Edition: Design, Color, and Composition in Photography

Author: Bryan Peterson
Print Length: 160 pages
Publication Date: August 4, 2015

This best-selling guide takes a radical approach to creativity by explaining how it is not just an inherent ability but a skill that can be learned and applied. Using inventive photos from his own stunning portfolio, author and veteran photographer Bryan Peterson deconstructs creativity for all level of photographer.

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

Author: Scott Kelby
Print Length: 504 pages
Publication Date: May 19, 2018

Scott Kelby is an American photographer, who is also an avid user and educator of Adobe Lightroom, which this book focuses on. Here, Scott did his biggest update ever. He shares all of his latest techniques, free Lightroom Tutorials, insights, and invaluable tips.

7. Adobe Photoshop Classroom in a Book (2020 Release)

Author: Andrew Faulkner
Print Length: 416 pages
Publication Date: January 3, 2020

Creative professionals seeking the fastest, easiest, most comprehensive way to learn Adobe Photoshop choose Adobe Photoshop Classroom in a Book (2020 release) from Adobe Press. The 15 project-based lessons show key step-by-step techniques for working in Photoshop, including how to correct, enhance, and distort digital images, create image composites, and prepare images for print and the web.

8. How to Photograph Absolutely Everything

Author: Tom Ang
Print Length: 384 pages
Publication Date: April 16, 2019

From still-life photography to sports, cityscapes and landscapes, and tackling children's parties to capturing the magic of seasonal celebrations, How to Photograph Absolutely Everything is the essential guide to produce high quality photos in all genres.

9. Sketching Light

Author: Joe Mcnally
Print Length: 432 pages
Publication Date: December 16, 2011

Learn all that’s possible with flashes from one of the masters of photography-legendary magazine photographer Joe McNally. No secrets are held back, and the principles he talks about apply generally to the shaping and quality of light, not just to an individual model or brand of flash.

10. Understanding Exposure

Author: Bryan Peterson
Print Length: 176 pages
Publication Date: March 15, 2016

This book explains the fundamentals of exposure: aperture, shutter speed and how they interact with and influence one another. With an emphasis on finding the right exposure even in tricky situations, it shows you how to improve sharpness and contrast in images, freeze action, take the best meter readings, and explore filters, flash, and light.

11. Mastering Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO and Exposure

Author: Al Judge
Print Length: 72 pages
Publication Date: January 9, 2014

Master what most photographers take years to learn, only in a few hours – the 3 components of the exposure triangle, aperture and depth of field. This book will painlessly provide help and insight with easy-to-follow discussions of what you need to know in order to create better images with confidence.

12. Shooting in Sh*tty Light

Author: Lindsay Adler, Erik Valind
Print Length: 240 pages
Publication Date: October 14, 2012

This book covers the top ten worst lighting situations you’ll inevitably encounter at some stage in your photography career, along with a variety of solutions for each. So if you’re a beginner or intermediate photographer who is often forced to shoot in bad light, and want to learn how to handle yourself to still produce professional quality pictures - this book is for you.

13. Headshot

Author: Peter Hurley
Print Length: 240 pages
Publication Date: August 13, 2015

Here’s your chance to learn exactly how to create the Peter Hurley headshot photography style that’s so in demand today. The Headshot book will teach you how to get authentic expressions and incredible flattering positioning that will make your clients look better than they have ever looked in any photo.

14. The Decisive Moment

Author: Henri Cartier-Bresson
Print Length: 160 pages
Publication Date: February 24, 2015

The work of French photographer Cartier-Bresson has influenced almost every photographer, or at least inspired every photographer’s inspirations. The decisive moment is a study of timing in photography and a beautiful coffee table book of a legend’s finest work.

15. Annie Leibovitz at Work

Author: Annie Leibovitz
Print Length: 240 pages
Publication Date: November 18, 2008

This is a unique behind-the-scenes insight into the photography of one of the most celebrated portrait photographers of the 21st century. The celebrated photographer Annie Leibovitz provides the stories, and technical description, of how some of her most famous and iconic images came to be.

16. Vivian Maier: Street Photographer

Author: John Maloof
Print Length: 136 pages
Publication Date: November 16, 2011

Vivian Maier was a professional nanny, who from the 1950s until the 1990s took over 100,000 street photographs worldwide, from France to New York City to Chicago and dozens of other countries, and yet showed the results to no one. She was also one of the most famous film photographers. Presented here for the first time in print, this book collects the best of her incredible, unseen body of work.

17. 50 Portraits

Author: Gregory Heisler
Print Length: 224 pages
Publication Date: October 22, 2013

Gregory Heisler, one of professional photography’s most respected practitioners, shares 50 iconic portraits of celebrities, athletes, and world leaders, along with fascinating, thoughtful, often humorous stories about how the images were made. 50 Portraits offers not only a gorgeous collection of both black-and-white and color portraits, but an engrossing look at the rarely seen art of a master photographer at work.

18. Negative

Author: Ansel Adams
Print Length: 288 pages
Publication Date: June 1, 1995

Ansel Adams produced some of the 20th century's most iconic photographic images and helped nurture the art of photography through his creative innovations and peerless technical mastery. The Negative has been teaching generations of photographers how to use film and the film development process creatively.

19. 100 Photographs: The Most Influential Images of All Time

Author: Kira Pollack
Print Length: 240 pages
Publication Date: October 18, 2016

In a world where we're exposed to millions of images every day, there are some photographs that leave a mark in the imaginary collective for generations to come. To mark its 175th anniversary, TIME magazine published a collection of its most influential photos of all time, complete with a background story of each image.

20. Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World's Most Amazing Places

Author: National Geographic
Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: October 27, 2015

Another stunning coffee table book, this National Geographic collection shares breathtaking views of some of the most remote and most beautiful destinations around the globe. Featuring over 250 images that span the range from secluded islands, exotic rainforests, and majestic mountains this a perfect book for anyone involved in travel photography.

21. Humans of New York

Author: Brandon Stanton
Print Length: 432 pages
Publication Date: October 13, 2015

In the summer of 2010, photographer Brandon Stanton began an ambitious project to create a photographic census of New York City. The street photos he took and the accompanying interviews became the book Humans of New York.

22. Extraordinary Everyday Photography

Author: Brenda Tharp & Jed Manwaring
Print Length: 160 pages
Publication Date: August 21, 2012

This book encourages amateur photographers to slow down, open their eyes, and search beyond the surface to create an alluring photo wherever you are, be it a local park, or your own front lawn. Inspiring photo examples from the authors, taken with DSLRs, compact cameras, and even iPhones, show that it is the photographer’s eye and creative vision, not the gear, that make a great image.

23. The Moment It Clicks

Author: Joe McNally
Print Length: 256 pages
Publication Date: February 2, 2008

In The Moment It Clicks, Joe McNally breaks new ground by blending the rich, stunning images and elegant layout of a coffee-table book with the invaluable training, no-nonsense insights, and photography secrets usually found only in those rare, best-of-breed educational books. It will help you understand photography and the art of making great photos at a level you never thought possible.

24. Magnum Contact Sheets

Author: Kristen Lubben
Print Length: 524 pages
Publication Date: October 24, 2017

This groundbreaking book presents a remarkable selection of contact sheets and ancillary material, revealing how the most celebrated Magnum photographers capture and edit the very best shots. Addressing key questions of photographic practice, the book illuminates the creative methods, strategies, and editing processes behind some of the world’s most iconic images.

25. Film Is Not Dead

Author: Jonathan Canlas, Kristen Kalp
Print Length: 288 pages
Publication Date: February 2, 2012

While digital has proliferated and permeated every aspect of the photography industry, a growing movement is bringing film photography back to the forefront. In Film Is Not Dead Canlas, a successful film photographer teams up with co-author Kristen Kalp to open the doors for anyone who wants to begin or return to shooting film.

26. Night Photography and Light Painting

Author: Lance Keimig
Print Length: 265 pages
Publication Date: July 2, 2015

Night Photography presents the practical techniques of shooting at night alongside theory and history, illustrated with clear, concise examples, and charts, stunning images and night photography ideas. From urban night photography to photographing the landscape by starlight or moonlight, from painting your subject with light to creating a subject with light, this book provides a complete guide to digital night photography.

27. Creative Black and White: Digital Photography Tips and Techniques

Author: Harold Davis
Print Length: 320 pages
Publication Date: July 23, 2019

Renowned photographer Harold Davis explains these elements and demonstrates the basic rules of black and white photography, as well as when and how to break them. He breaks through the complexity of this photographic medium, explores opportunities for black-and-white imagery, and shows how to capitalize on each and every one of them.

28. Photography Q&A

Author: Zack Arias
Print Length: 312 pages
Publication Date: June 14, 2013

In this book, commercial photographer Zack Arias answers over 100 frequently asked questions that he fielded directly from the public. These are questions that range across all aspects of the photo industry: gear, photo marketing, street photography, vision, photographer’s price list, branding, light, models, work/life balance, technical advice, and much more.

29. What They Didn't Teach You in Photo School

Author: Nick Fancher
Print Length: 224 pages
Publication Date: October 6, 2015

This book focuses on the business-side of photography, which is rarely fully disclosed in photo schools. Based on the experiences of an veteran professional photographer, this guide shares valuable networking tips that will help you build a strong network, impress potential clients, and successfully reach out to brands for partnerships.

30. No Plastic Sleeves

Author: Larry Volk, Danielle Currier
Print Length: 266 pages
Publication Date: July 18, 2014

No Plastic Sleeves addresses all facets of photography portfolio production, with a special focus on self-promotion and new information about blogs and social media’s role in the process. Including hundreds of photos, examples of successful design, and interviews with industry professionals, this text will guide you through the complete process of developing your portfolio package.

31. Photography Business Secrets

Author: Lara White
Print Length: 192 pages
Publication Date: November 30, 2012

Photography Business Secrets talks about building your brand, networking, creating a marketing plan, determining prices and a lot more. Very informative book for all photographers looking for ways to build their own business.

32. Social Media Marketing for Digital Photographers

Author: Lawrence Chan
Print Length: pages
Publication Date: November 29, 2011

Social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Flickr offer loads of exciting marketing opportunities. This practical guide from a well-respected marketing strategist shows you how to take advantage of social media to grow a profitable photography business.

33. Wedding Photography Magic

Author: Garry Edwards
Print Length: 81 pages
Publication Date: June 26, 2019

This book focuses on the less-talked about side of wedding photography - business side, instead of technical information. A lot of the content in this book is about costing, pricing, making a profit and related business considerations.


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