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