The 10 Best Photography Textbooks

video play icon 10 Best Photography Textbooks
Photography: The Key Concepts
Photography: A Cultural History
Digital Photography Masterclass

This wiki has been updated 13 times since it was first published in July of 2018. Whether you're teaching, attending a class, or just a budding photographer with a desire to improve, a solid foundation is essential to good picture taking. These photography textbooks will help you learn all the tools you'll need regardless of your skill level or where your specific interests lie. We've included options that address digital, film, and even editing techniques. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best photography textbook on Amazon.

10. Digital Photography Masterclass

9. Photography: A Cultural History

8. Complete Digital Photography

7. The Manual of Photography

6. A Short Course In Photography: Digital

5. Photography: 12th Edition

4. Photography: The Key Concepts

3. The Hot Shoe Diaries

2. National Geographic Photo Basics

1. The Art of Photography

Editor's Notes

June 04, 2020:

While a few of the books on our previous ranking have received updates, the main focus in this visit was on filling some gaps left by that selection. The Art of Photography, for example, spends more time considering the artistic and theoretical side of the medium than many others. There's still technique in it, with its section on the zone system for film and another on how that system can be translated to digital work, but above all it wants to impart on the reader the position that photography is an artform first, and a craft second.

There was also too little lighting advice among the collection in our last ranking, so we included The Hot Shoe Diaries. This was given to me by a pair of mentors when I started shooting weddings, and it more or less revolutionized my work indoors and in poor lighting conditions. Given the fact that the smaller a light source becomes the harsher its results will be, if shooters can become proficient with only speedlights as their strobe source, they'll do fine when they eventually upgrade to professional studio equipment.


Daniel Imperiale
Last updated on June 05, 2020 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel Imperiale holds a bachelor’s degree in writing, and proudly fled his graduate program in poetry to pursue a quiet life at a remote Alaskan fishery. After returning to the contiguous states, he took up a position as an editor and photographer of the prestigious geek culture magazine “Unwinnable” before turning his attention to the field of health and wellness. In recent years, he has worked extensively in film and music production, making him something of a know-it-all when it comes to camera equipment, musical instruments, recording devices, and other audio-visual hardware. Daniel’s recent obsessions include horology (making him a pro when it comes to all things timekeeping) and Uranium mining and enrichment (which hasn’t proven useful just yet).


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