5 Must-Read Photography Books

5 must-read photography books
The contributors and I put together a list of must read photography books! There are so many books out there but it can be confusing to know exactly which one to purchase.

Here is a list of our must-have photography books:

1. Skin: The Complete Guide to Digitally Lighting, Photographing, and Retouching Faces and Bodies

Kelly Garvey’s Favorite

For portrait photographers I think this book is a must have. A popular topic I always hear about on forums, receive emails on, etc. are skin tones. Skin tones & color are so important to the look of your images. Good color & skintones can take a flat image & make it look exceptional. Skin: The Complete Guide to Digitally Lighting, Photographing, and Retouching Faces and Bodies goes in depth in addressing color, capturing all kinds of skintones, & all the factors that contribute. This book is extremely detailed in addressing color & thorough in providing example images to go along with the information. This book was recommended to me by Sarah Wilkerson of Clickinmoms a couple years ago. Knowing how knowledgeable she is with skin tones & the CMYK method, I knew the recommendation came from someone who really knew what she was talking about so I went right out & bought this book immediately!

2. The Digital Photography Book, Vol. 1 by Scott Kelby

Jen Bacher’s Favorite

My favorite photography book is The Digital Photography Book. It’s claimed to be the world’s best-selling book on digital photography! There are actually four volumes and I love all of them. Scott Kelby’s books are easy to read and straight to the point. He has a funny sense of humor, which makes them entertaining, and he writes as if you are his friend and he is giving you advice. He skips all the technical jargon and gives tips and techniques in plain terms that he has learned over the years from some of the top pros. He covers lighting techniques, composition, camera settings, editing, posing, exposure, printing and so much more. Each page covers a single concept on how to make your photography better and includes an example photo. I am a visual learner, so I really like this! I had many “aha moments” while reading this series where he explained something in a way that finally made sense to me. He also gives equipment suggestions in different price ranges so you can decide as you are reading what you need to buy based on your budget. Definitely a resourceful book for learners at all levels! More of his fantastic books:
Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography Boxed Set, Volumes 1, 2, and 3 and The Digital Photography Book, Part 4

3. Learning To See Creatively- Design, Color & Composition in Photography by Bryan Peterson

Laurie Flickinger’s Favorite

One of my favorite authors who writes about photography is Bryan Peterson. While I’m sure most people have heard of Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson, an equally interesting book by Peterson is Learning to See Creatively: Design, Color & Composition in Photography. For many people, I think seeing creatively is certainly a gift, but I think it can also be learned. In this book, Peterson goes beyond the rule of thirds and discusses alternative “rules” of composition. In addition to the “rules”, he also explains when it is okay to break them. He goes into lines, shapes, forms, framing within frames, using color, patterns, diagonals….all to create more interesting images. It is definitely worth adding to the photography book collection!

4. Humanity: A celebration of Friendship, Family, Love & Laughter

Melissa Noste’s Favorite

Humanity: A Celebration of Friendship, Family, Love & Laughter is truly my favorite photography book. It has little writing, only inspirational quotes and 150 beautiful photos. To sum this book up I would say it’s incredibly inspiring. The photos are about life, capturing beautiful life and when I feel like I’m in a rut, it’s the only book I will pick up.

5. The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos

Courtney’s Favorite

I have to admit, I’m not finished reading The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos yet because it covers so many things. I like to read a little and test out what I learned. The chapters cover image frame, design basics, graphic and photographic elements, composing with light and color, intent and process. Finding new and interesting ways to compose my shots has been an interest of mine since taking Shooting 301: Composition and Creativity through Clickin’ Moms. The book is full of beautiful images that aren’t just inspiring to look at but also serve as great examples of the lessons he is teaching. It is a little dry because of all the information it covers but if you are interested in learning more about composition and design I definitely think it’s one to check out.

Here are a few more photography books recommended by y’all:

* Composition: From Snapshots to Great Shots

* The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression

* Focus On Light & Exposure in Digital Photography (Lark Photography Book)

* Pro Secrets to Dramatic Digital Photos (A Lark Photography Book)

* Expressive Photography: The Shutter Sisters’ Guide to Shooting from the Heart

* Mamarazzi: Every Mom’s Guide to Photographing Kids

* Photographic Composition

* Digital Nature Photography: The Art and the Science

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post. That means, at not extra cost to you, the company will give Click it Up a Notch and it’s contributors a percentage of the sale. Thank you in advance if you decide to purchase something and support Click it Up a Notch.

What’s your must-read photography book and why?

Pin It
the unexpected everday posts
avatar
I combined my passion of teaching and photography to create this website. I invite you to take this 30 day challenge - The Unexpected Everyday
avatar

Latest posts by Courtney Slazinik (see all)

Comments

  1. avatar Catherine R. :

    Great list! I also like Vision & Voice by David DuChemin (it deals with Lightroom).

  2. This is a very helpful post. I have hit a wall with my camera and its ISO ability (not in position to upgrade now), so I really want to concentrate on creativity now. I will be heading to the library today. Thank you! Your blog is full of great information.

  3. I think I need that first book, Skin. I had a shoot earlier this week with a red head and the tones I picked up really challenged me.

  4. YAY! I can’t wait to check out some of these books :) Some of them I’ve already read and they are fabulous! Skin only applies to CS right?
    Mama Monkey recently posted..Tutorial Tuesday: Double Exposure, South Fork style

  5. I have 3 of the ones you mentioned. My favorite book right now is Pet Photography 101. That’s my favorite niche. I have several Michael Freeman and Scott Kelby books. And I just love Bryan Peterson. Someone told me he’s holding affordable workshops this year around the country. I hope so!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted..5 Things You Should Know About the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

  6. Thanks for this list! Looks like I’ll be putting them on my mothers day suggestions and amazon wish list.

  7. love this! just blew up my amazon wish list with your picks. thank you, courtney! :)

  8. Thank you, I too am a visual learner so I took you advise and got the 4 book box set of Scott Kelby digital photography.

    I know I will learn a great deal.

  9. Chris Orwig is one of my favorite portrait photographers, his writing is heartfelt and simple, easy to understand and inspiring. His book “People Pictures” 30 excercises for creating authentic photographs is wonderful.
    Janice recently posted..Playing with Instant Film and a Large Format View Camera; The Seine River, Paris France

  10. Thank you for another great article.

    My all time favourite photography book that is both “how to” AND “creatively motivational” is
    Tom Ang’s: “Digital Photography Through The Year”.

    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16183210-digital-photography-through-the-year (4.5 stars)
    http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Photography-Through-Year-Tom/dp/0756698340 (5 stars)

  11. Love all of your lessons. This one is great. Of the 5 suggested, I have 4 of them. Going now to order humanity.
    Thank you for all your help in continuing on my photography journey..

  12. Great post – thanks! I’m mainly working on food right now—I just put the digital photog book in my cart. Any other great ideas for me as far as books go? Maybe the composition one? Pinning this post and many others of yours :).
    Adrienne @ Whole New Mom recently posted..Chocolate Ganache Brownies, Two Dark Chocolate Granolas, Cherry Heart Gummies, and Vegan Nacho Dip from Veggies

Speak Your Mind

*

CommentLuv badge