The Best Photo Books – Camera Jabber

The best photo books challenge you to see and think differently, while teaching you at the same time. Although we’re firmly in the internet age, it’s still nice to have a book about photography available to read for inspiration or as a reference for a specific question you might have right now. Google is a wonderful tool, but a book with an index that can quickly direct you to your answer really beats navigating through pages of semi-relevant search results.

For our list of the best photo books, we’ve included a mix of beginner’s guides, ideas and inspiration, challenges, and writing on specific disciplines within photography. Have we forgotten one of your favorite photo books? Let us know in the comments and we can add it to our list!

A Year with My Camera, Book 1: The Ultimate Photography Workshop for Absolute Beginners: Volume 1
By Emma Davis

Emma Davies’ hugely popular book is a companion to her online course. Printed in black and white, A Year With My Camera is intended to be a pick-and-put-down book, a book to write in and read regularly. Davie’s approach dispels the notion that you have to learn everything about photography at once. This book is about setting your own pace, laying the foundations to understand how your camera works, and then letting your creativity flow from there. It’s also about finding your own personal style.

Buy it here.

A Year with My Camera, Book 2: The Ultimate Photography Workshop for Absolute Beginners: Volume 2
By Emma Davis

A Year With My Camera Volume 2 picks up where Volume 1 left off, putting more confidence in your skills and understanding of how your camera works. In this book, you’ll leave your camera’s automatic mode behind and explore how you can work with light. Like the original, this is a book not meant to be on your shelf. It’s designed to be written on, lugged around in your camera bag, and to be your companion as you develop your photographic style.

Buy it here.

52 assignments: street photography
By Brian Lloyd Duckett

This creative photo book provides the reader with 52 commissions to capture various street photography concepts. Along the way, Lloyd-Duckett suggests ways to avoid the usual street photography clichés by suggesting new ways of composing or lighting your shots. He also suggests techniques that can be used to achieve certain types of looks and provides sample images to inspire you.

Buy it here.

52 tasks: nature photography
By Ross Hoddinott and Ben Hall

For the nature section of the popular 52 Assignments series, Hoddinott and Hall provide year-long commissions to capture stunning animal imagery and macro masterpieces. You’ll learn how to set up a feeding station, work from hide and more.

Buy it here.

The Beginner’s Guide to Photography
Edited by DK

One of the best photo books for beginners, but also an excellent reference work for established photographers. The multi-year bestseller The Beginner’s Photography Guide is great at putting concepts into words for the layman and showing you how to master your camera with illustrated step-by-step tutorials. There are also lots of nice extras, like example photos with camera angles to show you the effect on an image, and projects and ideas at the end of each chapter to help you apply the techniques you’ve just learned. This comprehensive guide deserves a place on every photographer’s bookshelf.

Buy it here.

Complete Digital Photography Course: Everything you need to know in 20 weeks
Edited by DK

An excellent guide for beginners, the Digital Photography Complete Course combines demonstrations, step-by-step tutorials, and photo assignments to put your new skills to use. In addition, the book was recently updated to show you how to create different effects with the latest cameras and lenses. You will learn everything from photo composition to the best camera settings for different subjects. The excellent quality of the book is also noteworthy. With a sturdy hardcover and thick pages, it’s worth every penny and more of its modest price.

Buy it here.

The photo book
By Ian Jeffrey and Caroline Kinneberg

It goes without saying that any of the best photography books should showcase the best photographers, and that’s the role Jeffrey and Kinneberg’s book fills. This exquisite book is a showcase of 550 of the finest images by photographers from the mid-19th century to the present day. Covering reportage, fashion, sport, portraiture, documentaries, nature and a whole range of subjects and disciplines, you will be amazed by the role that photography has played in all facets of our culture. In addition to the magicians, you will also find explanatory texts about the pictures and some insights from the photographer. This is a Coffee Table Book to end all Coffee Table Books.

Buy it here.

Tate: The Photography Ideas Book: inspiration and tips from over 80 photos
By Lorna Yabsley

This is a really fun book and a must read for any creative photographer. Yabsley’s book is based on the ethos that there is always a new way to photograph a subject. It might be a different angle or shade of light, but there’s never an excuse to stop exploring. On each page you will find a new concept with an example image and suggestions on how to create an original and exciting image. If you’re looking to breathe new life into your photography, this is the photo book for you.

Buy it here.

The Photography Storytelling Workshop: A five-step guide to creating unforgettable photos
By Finn Beales

If Amazon ratings were the key criterion for being the best photo book, Beales’ offering would undoubtedly win. With 625 reviews and counting, The Photography Storytelling Workshop is a five-star masterpiece that takes photographers beyond the basics of beginner photography and teaches you how to tell a story with your images – and get paid for it. Beales’, an award-winning photographer and influencer, shares a five-step course on how to pitch, prepare, shoot, edit, and deliver a photo story. Most important are the lessons on how to craft a visual story that captivates and engages an audience. Beales suggests the most important shots of events, landscapes, portraits and other experiences, and how to edit your work into a concise series. If you’ve ever had ambitions to create narrative images, this is the best photo book you can buy.

Buy it here.

Mastering Exposure: The Definitive Guide for Photographers
By David Taylor

Aimed at more experienced photographers, Taylor’s book is designed to help you get creative with light. Starting with the exposure triangle and the basics, Taylor shows how to creatively interpret “right” exposures to achieve different results. The book examines the nature of light and the relationship of light to color. Alongside some of Taylor’s own images, you’ll also see histograms for different types of exposure, how different white balance settings affect a scene, and dynamic range. In addition, Taylor takes the different types of exposures he shows and applies them to different genres such as landscapes and portraits.

Buy it here.

Lessons in Landscape: 80 Techniques for Better Photos
By Peter Watson

The bible for any budding landscape photographer, Waton’s book takes 80 tried-and-true techniques and offers a masterclass in landscape photography. From composition to exposure, the book serves as a complete course in outdoor photography. Watson’s own stunning images illustrate the techniques to show you what’s possible. At less than £10/$10, Lessons in Landscape is a steal for the amount of information it contains.

Buy it here.

photography week
Edited by Jeff Meyer

Ok, we said at the beginning of this guide that the best photo books are in physical form because you can have them handy, but that’s not always the case. Photography Week is an app-based photo magazine – shameless plug – published by this author since 2012. Because it’s an app, the great thing about Photography Week is that it’s not only always at hand, but conveniently in your pocket at all times. For its modest price, you get 52 issues a year with the latest news and reviews, as well as tutorials on countless topics, providing a nice archive of tips and advice throughout the year.

Buy it here.

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