I think most amateur photographers overlook their best learning tool without realizing it. That tool being books. I’ve learned so much from the experts that I can hardly document it all.
I own three dozen photography books at least. I have not read every single one of them cover to cover, but I have read at least 9 that way. And they are the ones I recommend.
I’ll try to go in order by the most useful, but all of them are excellent and in the end what is useful to me might not be useful to you.
Check them out at the library if you prefer, or buy cheaply from Amazon. For your convenience (and to help support my blogging efforts – I won’t hide that fact) I will provide links to amazon.com.
Note to Canadians … I often buy from amazon.com as I often find it cheaper overall than the Canadian Amazon site, even after shipping is factored in.
Update for 2016: This is waaaaayyyyy overdue. And yet, not. You see, the fundamentals of photography have hardly changed in decades. We do have better equipment now than ever, but that is the tool. You are the craftsman, and so you still need to make sure that you understand how to use the tool and what your goals should be. It should be blindingly obvious that the most important aspect in any image is light. Or maybe lighting. Or both. You simply cannot make an image without light, and you cannot fix horrible light, although you can attempt to compensate for it (for example, processing to black and white is a time-honored save.) Also, the following list might look a little out of date. But fear not ... many of these books have been updated in the last few years and are as current and relevant as when they first appeared. And finally, these books are best practices that are bound to improve your technique, which will absolutely show up in your results.
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Bryan Peterson – Understanding Exposure 3rd EditionThis is a classic. Everyone eventually reads it.
|Jim Zuckerman – The Perfect Exposure |
I like this one because it deals with difficult situations like white on white and black on black. Plus it puts some effort into spot metering.