10 Must-Read Photography Books

Fancy treating yourself to a new photography book to curl up with this weekend but don't know what to get? Don't worry, help is here! I know it can be hard to know which to buy from the multitude available out there, so - seeing as I appear to have my own mini library of them -  I've compiled a list of books that should give you some idea of what to add to your Amazon cart this weekend!  I should point out, I don't have all of these: some are books that I have read and enjoyed, others are ones that have been recommended to me by people I trust, and I've thrown in a couple that have caught my eye but that haven't actually got around to buying yet!

This was a book that was recommend to me a year or so ago by a blog reader and I have to say it is absolutely jam-packed full of information on composition.  So much so, that I haven't read the whole thing yet.  It's very detailed, and I would actually say it's perhaps a little too in depth for a beginner (with composition, I feel you are always better to learn the basics before branching out) although to be fair, that is covered too.  However, if you are more experienced, this will be great for you, as I can guarantee there will be something new in here for you to learn - it's one you'll be able to dip into for years to come.  

This is a brand new book (not yet released but available for pre-order on Amazon) which aims to give tips and advice for photographing your everyday life. It's by Clickin Moms, and features contributions from their members. I'm afraid since this is new title, I can't say whether it is any good or not, but it's certainly something I think many of you will be interested in and judging by the preview, it looks like it will be a good read.   You can still buy this now, and you'll get it shipped it out the minute it is released (love Amazon's pre-order feature - saves me having to remember to go back for things!) 

This is probably one of the most well-known photography books out there! If you already know how to shoot in Manual mode and understand many of the basics of exposure, then you might want to give this a miss as it probably won’t hold TOO much for you but If you are just starting out you may find it invaluable - it's such a great "how to" book. It’s one I haven’t read personally but I have heard such good things about it - and I believe it is one of most purchased photography books in the world - it just had to make it onto the list! If

As you can probably guess from the title, this book delves into composition in photography, and is suited to a beginner or intermediate who wants to learn a bit more how to create impact with their images. If you already have the basics down and want to take it further, the Photographers eye might suit you better, but this would be great for those of you just starting out. 

My husband bought me this one and I did a full review on it's here. It’s not a book that tells you about the technical side of photography, but more about how to create compelling portraits. What I like about it is the fact that each chapter is actually an exercise for you to try (there are 30 in all) to help you take better ”people pictures”. All you need is a camera and some imagination.

This is mainly going to be of benefit for those of you that take images of children and families professionally, as this deals mainly with providing inspiration for you to use on your shoots. (That said, if you are a hobbyist and just want to get some ideas of how to photography your own children and family, many of the ideas are applicable to you too - it's not all formally posed)  

I have had this book recommend to me a couple of times, but I've never picked it up yet - I'm not 100% sold on it to be honest!  It's not a traditional photography book, rather one about shooting from the heart, rather than how to technically create an image.   If anyone has this book, I'd love to hear their thoughts!

This book aims to teach us how to talk about photographs. I know that sounds dull, but it’s actually extremely interesting - trust me! He breaks down his photographs into Vision, Elements and Decisions to help you better understand how to create compelling images by tackling and understanding what goes into each one. I really loved how this book was set up, and still enjoy flicking through it - particularly if I am feeling in need of some inspiration. Actually, any David DuCheninbook is worth a read in my opinion, but this one is the most that struck a chord with me.

I love Elizabeth Messinas work and I bought this book even though I knew that some of the information wouldn't be relevant since she shoots film, and I shoot digital. However, if I love a photographers work, I like to try and buy a book if they have one out, as I love hearing the special tips and tricks they use in their images.  Is it a must-read? No (well, not unless you are a film photographer) but sometimes we just need a book to give us a bit of eye candy and some inspiration, and a couple of tips. If you are after something more along the lines of "do this to get this" then definitely give this one a miss, but if love her work, then you'll enjoy the book. 

I  just got this one at Christmas, and I haven't gone all the way through it yet either! But honestly, I think it will take several months for that to happen because there is so much information in here. If you really want to learn more about light, then I suggest you get this - the photographs are stunning, he explains light very well, and gives you lots of ways to incorporate different light into your images - even problematic light. 

That's all ten! If you treat yourself to one from the list I'd love to know what you bought, and what you think of it!

However, a post on photography books just wouldn't be the same without a bit of shameless self promotion, so as a bonus, here's two more! You can also now download a FREE SAMPLE of Beyond the Basics so you can see whether you think the book is for you! The sample includes pages from each section to give you an idea of what's included - but bear in mind this is just a small sample! 

Beyond the Basics eBook - A Guide to The Creative Side of Beautifully Capturing Your Days 

Beyond the Basics looks at the complete creative side of photography for beginners to intermediates, and covers everything from finding inspiration, understanding quality and direction of light, how to work with various lighting scenarios and get different looks from the light available,  composition guides, tips for telling stories with images, and even checklists for planning your own lifestyle sessions. 


Mastering the Basics eBook - A Complete Guide to Understanding The Technical Basics of Photography 

Mastering the Basics covers everything you ever wanted to know about camera settings! We look at exposure, depth of field, capturing motion, white balance, a basic introduction to finding light, how to meter, focus techniques and white balance. Also includes an overview of how I have my camera set, and walk throughs of various images showing all the settings I use (not just the exposure settings) and why I chose them. 

Hope you have enjoyed this post, and it has given you some ideas for your Amazon wish list! 

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