10 Photography Books That Deserve a Spot on Your Bookshelf
Whether you are an aspiring photographer looking to expand beyond the basics, a casual snapper trying to make the best out of your smartphone pics, or simply a photography enthusiast enjoying the sight of beautiful images, you may want to check our list of 10 best photography books that will help you better understand the world of photography.
1. The Visual Toolbox: 60 Lessons for Stronger Photographs by David duChemin
Our list could not be topped by anyone but David duChemin, a bestselling author of photography guides. His “60 Lessons for Stronger Photographs” is jam-packed with practical tips and inspiring nuggets of photographic wisdom. Featuring precisely 60 short instructions on how to improve your photo-taking skills, the book invites you to explore the basic principles of photography, only to turn those principles on their head. A guide to pushing the boundaries of creative experimentation and exploration.
2. Langford’s Advanced Photography by Michael Langford
Michael Langford is another big name in the photography world. His “Langford’s Advanced Photography” is part of the “Langford’s Photography” series, recognized by the New York Times as the best photography compendium on the market. Providing a wealth of information, the book explores photography on its many levels: as an art form, a means of expression, an advertising tool and a product of modern technology. A must-read for seasoned professionals and novices alike.
3. The Digital Photography Book: The Step-by-step Secrets for How to Make Your Photos Look Like the Pros’! by Scott Kelby
Another photography heavyweight, Scott Kelby, is the author of choice for those new-to-the-trade, looking to master concepts like ISO, shutter speed or aperture. His straightforward writing style, good sense of humour and practical approach make “Step-by-step Secrets” one of the best books on photography and a must-have for every photography buff out there.
4. Learning to see creatively by Bryan Peterson
While photography equipment is important, it is not the camera that makes the photograph but the photographer behind the camera. In “Learning to see creatively”, Bryan Peterson teaches how to take better pictures by drawing a creative perspective of the world we live in. He also explains how to avoid composition mistakes which lead to boring pictures and – ultimately – how to create deeper visual experiences with your images. A great read with plenty of inspiration-inducing tips to keep your creative juices flowing!
5. Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson
Mastering exposure is a challenge that all photographers struggle with at some point of their journey. No wonder Peterson’s “Understanding Exposure” has been one of the most popular books on photography to date. Taking a detailed look at shutter speed, ISO and aperture, and how these settings interact and affect each other, Peterson’s work is a source of invaluable information for anyone from DSLR shooters to casual shutterbugs looking to capture great low-light photography.
6. Shooting with Soul: 44 Photography Exercises Exploring Life, Beauty and Self-Expression by Alessandra Cave
“Shooting with Soul” features 44 exercises that can be successfully applied by anyone who wants to create stunning visuals, from Instagram divas to bloggers, to Pinterest stars. The book takes you on an inward journey to enhance your photographic skills by exploring the idea of photography as a spiritual practice that shapes our experiences of the world around us and ourselves within it. A great read to help you think about how you choose to notice what is around you through various lenses.
7. Photographing Childhood by Lanola Stone
A treasure trove of tips and tricks to help any parent take better pictures of what they love most: children. In “Photographing Childhood”, Stone explains what pitfalls to avoid to capture the fleeting beauty of childhood on camera. From crying newborns, to fidgety toddlers, to camera-shy elementary schoolers, she teaches you that photographing children at different ages comes with different challenges and requires different techniques.
8. Food Photography, From Snapshots to Great Shots by Nicole S. Young
“Food Photography” by Nicole S. Young is a bestselling guidebook providing tips on creating delicious-looking food photography. Apart from offering insights on food styling and the use of props, Young also walks you through the process of improving your snaps through editing after the shoot. Illustrated with mouth-watering images, the book is an eye-treat for avid foodies from home cooks to restaurant aficionados and a great gift for any blogger looking to take their culinary pics to the next level.
9. On Photography by Susan Sontag
“On Photography” is a collection of essays on the history and present-day role of photography. In her study, Sontag elaborates on the idea of photography as a form of self-expression and a medium to record and shape the reality we live in. Above all, the author examines the ways in which omnipresent images have altered how we perceive the world and ourselves. A must read for anyone seeking to go beyond the technical aspects of photography.
10. The Photograph as Contemporary Art by Charlotte Cotton
“The Photograph as Contemporary Art” contemplates the full range of ways contemporary photographers experiment with images to make art. Some artists, such as Erwin Wurm, use photography as a record of everyday actions, while others like Cindy Sherman, stage images using themselves as models. Some, like Andreas Gursky present a cool, seemingly objective view of the world, while others, like Nan Goldin and Wolfgang Tillmans offer up intimate details of their private lives.
What about your favourite photography books? If you want to share your best picks, please drop a comment below!