The 10 Best Photography Textbooks

video play icon 10 Best Photography Textbooks

This wiki has been updated 21 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 choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. The Art of Photography

2. National Geographic Photo Basics

3. The Hot Shoe Diaries

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.

4. Photography: The Key Concepts

5. Photography: 12th Edition

6. A Short Course In Photography: Digital

7. The Manual of Photography

8. Complete Digital Photography

9. Photography: A Cultural History

10. Digital Photography Masterclass

Daniel Imperiale
Last updated 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).

Thanks for reading the fine print. About the Wiki: We don't accept sponsorships, free goods, samples, promotional products, or other benefits from any of the product brands featured on this page, except in cases where those brands are manufactured by the retailer to which we are linking. For more information on our rankings, please read about us, linked below. The Wiki is a participant in associate programs from Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, Target, and others, and may earn advertising fees when you use our links to these websites. These fees will not increase your purchase price, which will be the same as any direct visitor to the merchant’s website. If you believe that your product should be included in this review, you may contact us, but we cannot guarantee a response, even if you send us flowers.