The best books on photography will help you improve your skills, give you a fresh perspective on how to approach a shoot, and provide a burst of inspiration and ideas for new projects. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an experienced pro or a total novice: there are always new things you can learn about taking pictures.
So here are some books we suggest to our users who are taking their first steps towards photography:
01. Read this if You Want to Take Good Photographs
Getting to grips with the basics of photography has never been easier – or more fun – than with Read This if You Want to Take Good Photographs. An easy-to-follow, accessible guide, this book is perfect for anyone knew to using DSLRs, compact system and bridge camera.
The author – teacher, writer and photographer Henry Carroll – has dialled down the technical jargon and instead opted for handbook that champions the art of photography via iconic images, playful dialogue and expert tips.
Inspired by the greats, Carroll draws on acclaimed photographers such as Sebastião Salgado, Nadav Kander and Daido Moriyama to help illustrate technique and encourage readers to get involved.
02. Better Photo Basics
If you’re a photography novice looking for a relatively light and friendly read, this guide from Jim Miotke – the brains behind online photography school BetterPhoto.com – should be just up your street. Explaining everything an absolute beginner needs to get started taking great photos, it’s packed with tips and advice, and explanations are friendly sounding and written in plain English.
Once you’ve got to grips with the basics, Miotke walks you through taking 20 common categories of photos, including family and pet portraits, flowers, sunsets, candids, close-ups and monochrome shots.
03. Tony Northrop’s DSLR Book: How to Create Stunning Digital Photography
That’s exactly what this package from Tony Northrup, the founder of photo.net, offers. As well as this 233-page book, you get over three hours of supplementary online training videos, and free help from the author and other readers via an online readers group.
This is very much a practical, hands-on course that requires you to grab your camera and get shooting right away. There are exercises at the end of every chapter to give you the real world experience you need, and the emphasis is very much on learning by doing.
04: One Face, Fifty Ways
Mark Wilkinson is an enthusiast photographer, and Imogen – the model of the titular “one face” – an acquaintance. Their chance encounter spawned not only Europe’s most popular photography YouTube channel Weekly Imogen, but now this book. Its simple premise is to offering easy-to-follow examples you can use to getting as many different looks as possible with the same model.
In so doing it also covers many basics of photographing all people (and there is a chapter with models other than Imogen). Since so many of us start out with family members or cooperative friends serving in that role, this light-hearted but informative guide is a good way to build your confidence shooting people.
05. The Headshot: The Secrets to Creating Amazing Headshot Portraits
You’ll learn the same techniques the author had used to take amazing headshots of Fortune 500 CEOs, actors and public figures, from lighting your subjects correctly to putting them in flattering positions. Hurley also shares his trade secrets for getting genuine smiles and authentic expressions rather than people’s standard ‘photo face’ that always makes a headshot look dull and lifeless.
Note that this is not so much a step-by-step training manual or reference guide as an insight into how one man approaches his art. But when it’s someone at the top of his game like this, there’s a huge amount any photographer can learn here.
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