10 Best Photography Books | April 2017

We spent 30 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. If you know a shutterbug, or someone who simply appreciates great images, check out our selection of photography books. We've included great learning tools that will help anyone develop their skills as a photographer, elegant coffee table tomes and, of course, many options that feature some of the most stunning digital and film images. Skip to the best photography book on Amazon.
10 Best Photography Books | April 2017
Overall Rank: 8
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 6
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 9
Best Inexpensive
Extraordinary Everyday Photography helps readers understand they don't need to be in exotic locations to find great images. It will inspire you to take another look at your daily surroundings and teach you how to find the stunning images lurking just under your nose.
  • inspiring photo examples from authors
  • will help you find your personal style
  • doesn't contain many technical tips
Brand Amphoto Books
Model pending
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
Rather than teach you to improve your skills, On Photography is a philosophical examination of how photography has affected how we look at the world. It discusses concepts such as how seeing an image of a place before visiting it can produce unattainable expectations.
  • raises a lot of interesting questions
  • complex, thought provoking read
  • some topics feel somewhat dated
Brand Sontag, Susan
Model pending
Weight 12.2 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
The Photographer's Playbook includes 307 photography assignments and ideas to get your creative juices flowing, so you can learn by doing, not just reading. It is organized in a way that allows you to jump around and pick the subjects and assignments you want to focus on.
  • has anecdotes from pro photographers
  • will spark your creativity
  • doesn't contain any photos
Brand Aperture
Model pending
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
Digital Photography Complete Course uses a combination of techniques, including tutorials, step-by-step demonstrations, practical assignments, and Q&As to expand your digital photography knowledge and skill set. It's great for those who like to work at their own pace.
  • helps you troubleshoot common issues
  • very detailed and superbly illustrated
  • seems to jump around a lot
Brand Ang, Tom
Model pending
Weight 2.8 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
In The Art of Photography the author somehow manages to make a book that is applicable to nearly every skill level without talking down to anybody, or over anyone's head. It not only covers technical aspects of photography, but philosophical ones as well.
  • helps you polish your personal style
  • lots of how-to techniques
  • mostly applies to film based photography
Brand Barnbaum, Bruce
Model pending
Weight 3.3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
How to Photograph Everything is filled with over 500 breathtaking images and, more importantly, gives you the tips to help you take photos of the same caliber. It's the kind of book that teaches and inspires at the same time, so you'll be itching to break out your camera.
  • makes a good coffee table book
  • brilliant image editing tips
  • basic and only suitable for beginners
Brand Popular Photography (CO
Model pending
Weight 3.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
Understanding Exposure is an extremely useful tool to in the quest to improve your photography skills. In it, the author explains the relationship between aperture and shutter speed, and gives lots of tips on how to achieve successful exposures in difficult situations.
  • easy-to-understand style
  • encourages you to think outside the box
  • covers all camera settings in detail
Brand Amphoto Books
Model pending
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
Photography: A Complete Guide is designed to take you from beginner to pro. It will help you create stunning photographs by teaching you the secrets the professionals use, and it gives lots of small details that are easy for beginners to overlook.
  • teaches about equipment and angles
  • helps highlight your mistakes
  • has great composition tips
Brand CreateSpace Independent
Model pending
Weight 13.3 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
Tony Northrup's DSLR Book is a hands-on, self-paced photography class that will help you improve your skills and master aspects of composition, exposure, shutter speed, ISO and more. It even includes 12 hours of online training videos and quizzes.
  • good resource for beginners and pros
  • has end of chapter practice exercises
  • includes lifetime ebook updates
Brand Brand: Mason Press
Model pending
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0
Photography: The Definitive Visual History is written by a world-renowned photographer, and traces the history of the practice from the 1800s to the digital age. It gives a comprehensive overview of the people and technologies that have shaped modern photography.
  • celebrates the most iconic photographs
  • profiles 50 famous photographers
  • special features on pulitzer winners
Brand Ang, Tom
Model pending
Weight 6 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

The Birth Of Photography

The first photograph ever taken in 1827 by Joseph Nicephore Niepce, a French inventor. He used a camera obscura, which is often referred to as a pinhole image. Up until Niepce made a photograph with a camera obscura, they were only used for drawing and viewing purposes. Niepce used it to make a heliograph, which is an image that is created by letting light draw the picture. He applied a coating of bitumen of Judea, a light-sensitive material, to a pewter plate and then exposed it for eight hours. This hardened the bitumen and turned what was previously a soluble-in-spirits material, into an insoluble material. The parts that weren't exposed to light remained unhardened, and were washed away with a solvent. The result was the first ever photograph, and a perfect representation of the pinhole image. Unfortunately Niepce's technique not only took a very long time, making it impractical, the images quickly faded away.

Around the same time, another French inventor by the name of Louis Daguerre was also experimenting on ways to permanently capture an image. In 1829, he partnered with Neipce and together they worked to perfect the process. Unfortunately Neipce passed away in 1833, but Daguerre continued with their work and, in 1839, finally developed a method that created photographic images that wouldn't fade. His new technique also only required 30 minutes of exposure, instead of the eight hours Neipce's original technique needed.

Daguerre named the process after himself and called it the daguerreotype. His process fixed an image onto a sheet of silver-plated copper, instead of the pewter Neipce originally used. By coating the sheet in iodine, he made it sensitive to light, and, as with Neipce's heliograph technique, let sunlight create the image for him. The key step to making the image last was bathing it in a silver chloride solution, which prevented it from fading when exposed to light again.

Why Study Digital Photography Books

Many of the world's most renowned photographers never actually went to school for photography. Instead, the majority of them are self taught. While there is no substitution for practical application, studying photography books is also a great way to improve one's skills, without having to spend thousands of dollars on a photography degree.

Photography books come in a range of genres, from artistic to digital, and in all levels. There are books suitable for beginners just getting started on the path to photography, and for experienced professionals looking for inspiration. For beginners, the best photography books are often ones that focus on the technical aspects of photography. Amateur photographers need to learn about things like exposure, the relationship between aperture and shutter speed, composition, setting ISO speeds, and other technical aspects which can be difficult and time consuming to figure out on one's own. They may also need to learn how to take light meter readings and edit images for the best results. If nothing else, a great photography book will inspire them to get out and take more photos.

Many experienced professionals often wind up pigeon-holing themselves into a particular genre or subject. Taking the time to look through some great photography books can be a reminder of the many different styles out there and motivate them to tackle something new.

The First Photography Books

The first photography book ever published was Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions in 1843. It was produced by English botanist Anna Atkins and was intended to help the scientific community identify marine specimens with nearly 500 images. It was the first book to be illustrated solely with photographs, as opposed to the drawings that were more common in the time. Unlike standard photographs shot with a camera, the pictures in Atkins' book were cyanotypes, which were made by pressing marine specimens onto light sensitive paper and then exposing them. This created actual silhouette photos of the algae.

Currently it is believed 17 copies of the book still exist, with at least three of the copies being housed in museums, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the British Library in London and the New York Public Library. In 2004, a copy of the book sold for over $300,000 making it one of the most expensive photography books ever sold.

In 1874, Julia Margaret Cameron published the first photography book designed to illustrate a literary work. Cameron made 12 images specifically for Idylls of the King, which was written by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Her images were reproduced as wood engravings so she went on to publish her own copies of the book that included her original album prints.

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Last updated on April 22 2017 by multiple members of the ezvid wiki editorial staff

Our professional staff of writers and researchers have been creating authoritative product recommendations and reviews since 2011. Many of our wikis require expert maintenance, and are authored by individual members of our editorial staff. However, this wiki is currently maintained by multiple members of the ezvid wiki team.