Beginning Photography

Photography Books That Will Inspire You

There is a wealth of photography books out there that are useful for photographers at every stage. Here are some of the books that I recommend!

Photography is as much a learning process as it is an art form. From beginning photographers all the way to world-renowned professionals, we all must set aside time to learn about every aspect of photography. Many go to college to major in arts, others take to the internet to learn what they can. But these aren’t the only resources at your disposal. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of books covering every aspect of photography, many of which are indispensable to photographers of all kinds. Let’s take a look at some of the great photography books that have inspired me and should be on your bookshelf as well!

“Understanding Exposure” by Bryan Peterson

This book is an absolute must for every photographer. New photographers will find that it covers almost everything they need to get started while experienced photographers thumb the pages of this book to refresh their knowledge. Not only will this book teach you about the basics of photography – aperture, shutter speed, and lighting – but it also delves into topics such as composition and special photography techniques. – Get the Book

“Chasing the Light” by Ibarionex Perello

Chasing the Light is part instructional and part inspirational. You’ll learn not only how to put lighting of all kinds to work, but also how to “see” and compose an image thoughtfully and emotionally. After reading this book, you’ll understand that there is a lot more to photography than just the technical aspects of exposure. – Get the Book

“The Best Camera” by Chase Jarvis

The full title of this book says it all: The Best Camera: Is the One That’s With You. Here, Chase Jarvis proves that it isn’t all about the gear. Any camera at all can be used to create art. To create this book, Jarvis exclusively used his iPhone’s camera to create profound, inspiring images. – Get the Book

“LensWork Magazine” Owned and Edited by Brooks Jensen

This isn’t a book, but rather a niche magazine that publishes exquisite black and white photography. Even if you don’t dabble in monochrome images, you’ll still find this publication insightful as a gallery of gorgeous photography. In addition to the magazine, you’ll also find thoughtful books and essays by Brooks Jensen as well as an informative podcast. – Get the Magazine

“The Digital Photography Book, Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5” by Scott Kelby

If your medium is digital, then this series of books will answer every digital photography question you might have. In addition, these encyclopedic tomes will provide you with tons of great tips and tricks, and best of all, even though this is an exhaustive five-book series, you’ll find that each word is written in an entertaining, engaging way. – Get the Book

“The Photographer’s Eye” by Michael Freeman

It will take time to understand the basics of exposure, but even so, those basics are relatively simple to learn. The hard part is understanding composition. Composition is what separates one amazing photo from another that is only slightly different but somehow manages to be lackluster. The Photographer’s Eye is one of the very few books that goes into excellent detail about what makes composition work. This book is recommended to all photographers, beginners, and experts alike. – Get the Book

“How to Photograph Absolutely Everything” by Tom Ang

This is another great book that covers a broad variety of topics. For those of you that are new to photography, you’ll be able to learn all about exposure and the ins and outs of cameras. However, there is also a lot of value in this book for professionals, too. Are you in an uninspiring location or a situation that doesn’t quite fit with the images that you’d like to create? This book will show you how, as the title implies, to photograph anything in an interesting way. – Get the Book

“Wildlife Photography: Stories from the Field” by George Lepp and Kathryn Vincent Lepp

All outdoor photographers should read this book at least once. Inside, the authors mix beautiful storytelling with the instructional knowledge to bring you an entertaining and informative read. George Lepp is both an award-winning photographer and an accomplished author, so even if you are not looking for books about outdoor photography, be sure to check out some of the other books that he has written, such as Beyond the Basics Volume I and II. – Get the Book

“VisionMongers: Making a Life and Living in Photography” by David duChemin

There is a world of difference between photography as a hobby and photography as a living. This book was made to help you transition from the world of hobby photography into the world of professional photography. You’ll read the important lessons that David duChemin learned as he became a paid photographer, and you’ll also learn that each photography business is unique in its own way. Choose from among the ideas that duChemin puts forth, and you’ll find it easier to pursue your dream of photography as a career. – Get the Book

Of course, there are many more books out there on a variety of photography and business-related subjects – books on portraiture, wedding photography, street photography, and much more. However, this sampling of literature will prove helpful no matter what you aspire to do.

I have a few free photography ebooks that you can download from here.

About the author

Will Moneymaker

Will has been creating photographs and exploring his surroundings through his lens since 2000. Follow along as he shares his thoughts and adventures in photography.