THE 10 BEST HOW-TO PHOTOGRAPHY BOOKS
Let’s review Front Row’s top 10 how-to photography books. We’ll discuss:
- Understanding Exposure
- Digital Photography Boxed Set
- Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs
- The Photographer’s Eye
- The Art of Photography
- The Hot Shoe Diaries
- Digital Photography Masterclass
- Picture Perfect Practice
- How to Create Stunning Digital Photography
- Black & White Photography
1. Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera | Best How-to Photography Books
Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera [Amazon Link] by Bryan Peterson has received excellent reviews across both Amazon and Goodreads, indicating that it is a very useful and popular how-to photography book.
The book covers the fundamentals of photography: exposure, aperture, shutter speed, light, and includes a discussion of special techniques and filters at the end.
One user’s comment (Meghan) on Goodreads: “I couldn't put this book down! I read almost all of it in one sitting. I am an amateur photographer and I learned so much from this book.”
2. Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Boxed Set | Best How-to Photography Books
Kelby (an American photographer) has written five parts to his Digital Photography Book series and now you can get all books together in a boxed set [Amazon Link] for a reasonable price.
This book series includes myriad useful photography tips with chapters on each, including “avoid increasing your ISO on a tripod”, “use your flash at outdoor weddings”, and “pre-focus to get the shot”.
One user’s comment (Dreama) on Amazon: “I love Scott's books. He does not write in a technical way. He writes so the non-professional photographer can understand how to improve and get better pics.”
3. Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs | Best How-to Photography Books
The straightforward book title says it all. Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs [Amazon Link] by Henry Carroll has positive reviews on Goodreads and Amazon and is a short, concise read at just 128 pages.
The book contains sections on composition, exposure, light, lenses and seeing.
Famous photos taken by master photographers – including Henri Cartier-Bresson – are included throughout the book.
4. The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos | Best How-to Photography Books
The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos [Amazon Link] by Michael Freeman (professional photographer) is a book that focuses more on teaching the design and artistic side of photography, as opposed to just the technical.
The book includes sections on the image frame, design basics, graphic & photographic elements, light, intent, and process.
One user’s comment (Nicholas) on Amazon: “This is a really important book. Most photography books are solely concerned with cameras and lenses, but this book focuses (pun intended) on the psychology of the way images are interpreted and understood by people, which I think is far more important than equipment.”
5. The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression | Best How-to Photography Books
The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression [Amazon Link] by Bruce Barnbaum is a highly readable photography textbook.
This hefty book (360+ pages) includes sections on composition, visualization, filters, the zone system of exposure, presentation, and even the philosophy of photography. There is also a section on rebutting photographic myths. The book contains over 100 beautiful photographic illustrations.
One user’s comment (Justin) on Goodreads: “Shifts your thinking when it coming to photography. Some aspects of the book are hard to grasp, but worth re-reading.”
6. The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes | Best How-to Photography Books
The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes [Amazon Link] by Joe McNally (acclaimed photojournalist) is a book focused on the lighting aspects of photography. McNally – a former National Geographic photographer – shares his tips on photography lighting best practices and techniques.
McNally recounts the entertaining stories behind his myriad photographic assignments, and then goes on to describe in technical detail how he managed to get the lighting just right for each photo.
7. Digital Photography Masterclass: Advanced Photographic Techniques for Creating Perfect Pictures | Best How-to Photography Books
Digital Photography Masterclass: Advanced Photographic Techniques for Creating Perfect Pictures [Amazon Link] by Tom Ang is a book appropriate for both new and experienced photographers.
The book has sections on key camera controls, exposure control, tonality and contrast, timing, light, image manipulation, documentary photography, sports photography, wildlife photography, and more.
One user’s comment (vuddha) on Amazon: “The sections are detailed and logical. The photo examples are beautiful and interesting. The discussions with the professionals in their respective fields are invaluable.”
8. Picture Perfect Practice: A Self-Training Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Taking World-Class Photographs | Best How-to Photography Books
Picture Perfect Practice: A Self-Training Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Taking World-Class Photographs [Amazon Link] by Roberto Valenzuela (photographer, specializing in wedding photography) is also well reviewed on Amazon.
The book is broken up into four main sections: locations, poses, execution, and deliberate practice. The chapters include practice exercises to improve your photographic abilities.
One user’s comment (Michel) on Amazon: “This is one of the only books I have that actually shows you correct pictures and pictures with mistakes so you can easily compare what works and what doesn't.”
9. How to Create Stunning Digital Photography | Best How-to Photography Books
How to Create Stunning Digital Photography [Amazon Link] by Tony & Chelsea Northrup is – according to the book’s description – “Amazon's #1 rated and best-selling digital photography book, and the first ever Gold Honoree of the Benjamin Franklin Digital Award”.
The book has sections on lighting & flash, controlling your camera, portraits, weddings, animals, landscapes, underwater photography, and more. The book also comes along with access to over 20 hours of video training on photography.
10. Black & White Photography | Best How-to Photography Books
For those interested in black & white photography on film, look no further than Black & White Photography [Amazon Link] by Henry Horenstein (American artist and photographer).
The book has sections on the camera body, the camera lens, the shutter, film exposure, film developing, camera accessories to consider, and more.
One user’s comment (kkrome25) on Amazon: “The book contains excellent quality black & white drawings and photographs, and the style of writing is in straightforward, plain English.”
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If you’re reading how-to books on photography, chances are you own some photography gear. In addition, if you own valuable photography gear, you should consider insuring that gear. If you have received any money for your photography, your gear is now considered “commercial equipment.” This, in turn, means that your homeowner or rental insurance policy likely will not cover your photo gear.
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