The Photography Books section of The Bookshelf contains a selection of my favourite books written by photographers for photographers. Some talk technique, other focus more on artistry while others are just eye candy. There so many books out there, so if you have any suggestions of what I should pick up next, get in touch!
You can purchase the books below by following the links to the Book Depository. These links are affiliate links whereby I get a small commission if you purchase a book while you get the same great price you would anyway. The commissions help to give me the ability to improve this site. Win-win if you ask me!
The Passionate Photographer
– by Steve Simon
TYPE: Inspiration, Creativity, Motivation
This book is the perfect mix of visual inspiration and action you can take to get creative and improve your photography. Steve has a great way of breaking down the steps to becoming a great photographer. This is the book that convinced me to try “back-button auto-focus” which I still use today and is one step in the journey of mastering autofocus.
Ever photographer should have this photography book in their library.
– by David duChemin
TYPE: Inspiration, Creativity, Business
David is so passionate about photographers following their own personal vision to tell stories with their images. This is one of his most popular books because it combines the business of photography with the more artistic, visionary side of things. He mixes his own ideas with vignettes about other photographers who are following their own path into the profession.
This motivational book will inspire you to get out and follow your own photographic vision. What could be better?
– Gregory Heisler
TYPE: Inspiration, Technique, Journey
This is a perfect combination of eye candy, technical info and the story behind the image that I’ve ever read. There’s something about the way Gregory Heisler writes that I really connected with. He didn’t make it seem like he was some expert in an ivory tower. He felt like a fellow photographer/artist who is always in search of his next great photo (although all of his images are beautiful). He struck me as down to earth.
Because of how great a read this was, plus the amazing images, this is an easy recommendation to make.
Road to Seeing
– by Dan Winters
TYPE: Inspiration, Creativity , Journey
The Road is Seeing is a beautifully made, behemoth of a book. It is fascinating to read about Dan Winter’s journey into photographer and his experimentation with the medium. It isn’t often that you get such a window into a photographer’s career and life.
It’s definitely a commitment to read through the whole book, but you’ll be rewarded if you do.
Magnum Contact Sheets
– by Kristen Lubben
TYPE: Historical, Selection Process, Photographic eye
Another massive book (don’t travel with this one), Magnum Contact sheets is a fascinating journey into historical events that have shaped the world and the iconic images that defined them. It gives an insiders look at the processes of image capture and image selection of some of the world’s best photojournalists.
If you’re a history buff, or are keen to investigate the selection process of other photographers, this is a great book to have in your library.
The Moment it Clicks
– by Joe McNally
TYPE: Inspiration, Technique, Journey
Joe McNally is one of the most prolific shooters of his generation. He has worked for some of the best photo-journalistic magazines including Life, Time, Sports Illustrated and National Geographic. In this book you get to be inspired by his awesome imagery while getting a behind the scenes of how he got the shot.
I love the way that Joe writes; it is very authentic and funny. You really get a sense of who he is as a photographer.
The Hot Shoe Diaries
– by Joe McNally
TYPE: Inspiration, Technique, Lighting
Another excellent book by Joe McNally, this time jumping into the interesting and challenging world of small flash (speedlight) photography.Anyone who’s keen on adding this to their toolkit is bound to be inspired by the images and stories in this book.
So if you’re into the “strobist” style of photography, this book is a must have.
Secrets of Great Portrait Photography
– by Brian Smith
TYPE: Inspiration, Technique, Portrait Photography
Brian Smith has been lucky enough to have an extremely successful career where he’s been able to shoot many interesting (and even famous) people. This book covers a wide variety of these shoots, the stories behind them as well as some of the technical info on how they were executed.
If you ‘re looking for a book that combines visual inspiration with technical information, this book is a great choice.
– by Ansel Adams
TYPE: History, Technique, Theory
The first in a set of three books by landscape photographer Ansel Adams, The Camera is a great book to get a better understanding of what’s going on in that black box (camera). Although quite technical at time, it is full of examples and diagrams to help explain how cameras work. This book is responsible for my understanding of tilt and shift when it come to photography.
Although it may seem out of date, it’s always good to understand where photography came from to understand how it still works today.
Nature Photography Field Guide
– by John Shaw
TYPE: Technique, Theory, Nature
When I was first starting our my photographic journey, I thought I’d be a landscape photographer. This was one of my first photography books and the one that I learned the most from at the time.
So if you’re looking for a book that full of lots of technical information as well as beautiful photographers this one is worth checking out.
Summits to Starlight: The Canadian Rockies
– by Paul Zizka
TYPE: Inspiration, Creativity, Nature
When my friend Paul Zizka announced he was coming out with a book, boy was I excited. His photography is spectacular.What’s lacking for me is that there wasn’t enough about Paul himself. He is such a great guy who has a pure love for photography. I missed his viewpoint and the stories behind the images.
That said, if you’re looking for some great eye candy of the Canadian Rockies, this is a great coffee table book.
Plate to Pixel
– by Helene Dujardin
TYPE: Technique, Inspiration, Food Photography
This is the book the inspired my wife Rachel Korinek to try and laid the groundwork for her to excel at food photography. It is a beautiful book, full of amazing images and a lot of information regarding technique and tips on how to get the best images.
If you’re looking to get into food photography (and if my wife is any indication) you should definitely get this book.