The 10 Best Books For Aspiring Photographers

Ellie Griffiths

Today, it’s very easy for anyone to pick up a camera and take photographs, but it takes a special something for someone to turn into a professional photographer. With many books to help teach you the secrets behind the camera, and to provide you with incredible inspiration, we are here to help all of our budding Culture Trippers get off their cameras’ ‘auto mode’ and start their photographic journey.

Exposure: Sentosa Island, Singapore

Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera – Bryan Peterson

For any aspiring photographer who wants to read a book that is easy to understand, and doesn’t throw a hundred technical terms around, this is the right book! Step away from auto mode and learn how to use exposure and aperture settings. With more than 350,000 copies sold, professional photographer Bryan Peterson, has introduced many to the photographic triangle: aperture, shutter speed and ISO. If you do not know what these modes are, Peterson will not only introduce these to you, but will advise you on how to achieve successful exposure in even the hardest situations. This book is definitely where you should start.

Photography: Complete Guide To Taking Stunning, Beautiful Pictures – Nicole Woods

With an incredible photograph on the cover of the book, you would be silly not to stop and stare at it for a few minutes… or hours! Nicole Woods has collected a variety of breathtaking photographs that will not only inspire you, but introduce you to the techniques behind some of the most spectacular photographs you will see. Providing an overview of everything you need to know, from equipment, to techniques, to angles, Woods has created a book that will have you stunned for words.

Travel Photography: The Pinnacles, Western Australia

Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Photography – Richard I’Anson

For the travel photographers out there (as well as anyone who is suffering from a real case of wanderlust), this is the right choice. Lonely Planet’s best-selling book is not only a book to have on your bookshelf, with inspiring images from every corner of the world, but also teaches you how to create photographic opportunities in every part of your journey. Learn how to take control of every aspect of a photograph, right down to choosing the proper camera for a location – yes some cameras are better than others depending on location – it’s not just a Canon vs. Nikon war anymore. And at the end of the day, this book will also serve as your helpful guide to travelling the world.

Picture Perfect Practice: A Self-Training Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Taking World-Class Photographs (Voices That Matter) – Roberto Valenzuela

Surely you’ve heard of the saying, ‘practice makes perfect’? With photography, every aspect of this is true. This book provides a more artistic rather than technical approach to photography. The passion described throughout this book, explaining the hidden power of shapes, and learning how to pick apart a scene for the best end-result, is everything you need to read in order to take stunning photographs of people. Junebug Weddings named Valenzuela as one of the top wedding photographers in the world, and after reading this book, you will not question this choice!

Studio Portraits: Seven Deadly Sins Photoshoot

Read This if You Want to Take Great Photographs of People – Henry Carroll

‘A great photographer is like a psychologist who knows how to coax the truth from a patient.’ With words of wisdom encompassing essential techniques to photographing people, Carroll has recently published the highly anticipated follow-up of Read This if You Want to Take Great Photographs of People. Providing invaluable guidance and technical know-how for different categories of portrait photography; the text is straight-to-the-point, and Valenzuela inspires you with some of the most iconic images from acclaimed photographers. The best part about this book? There is advice on your legal rights in taking photographs of people, which you wouldn’t get in many others. This book has it all!

The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression – Bruce Barnbaum

Recognised as one of the finest landscape and architectural photographers in the world, it is hard to find fault in Barnbaum’s work. This updated and newly revised edition of the The Art of Photography (first published in 1994), will become your photography bible. Aimed at photographers of all levels, whether beginner or professional, Barnbaum provides a personal approach to both black and white photography, as well as colour pictures. All of this, accompanied with the utmost incredible photographs. This well-rounded book will drive you to find your true photographic passion!

Listen carefully at the Roman Baths, England

Photo Inspiration: Secrets Behind Stunning Images –

If inspiration is what you want, Photo Inspiration is what you should get! (an online, professionally curated photo gallery) has hand-selected 100 of the most awe-inspiring images from their website. Their goal is to present to you the most unique combination of photographs, along with their photographers’ secrets. The tools and knowledge of preparing to capture these incredible images will have you in awe, and with clear descriptions of everything you need to know behind the image, you will be packing your camera for your next photographic trip before you finish reading the first chapter. Better yet, it also doubles as a stunning coffee table book that all your guests will be in awe over… until you replace the images with your own!

Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots – Nicole S. Young

Cook up a meal before diving into this dish. Food Photography will not only have you hungry for food, but will introduce you to creating photos that make your mouth water more than any other image would. Young encourages the correct use of equipment to create the most delicious photographs, and discusses lighting and composition (what props and backgrounds you should and shouldn’t place your food near). She even provides editing techniques to boost your images without making them look fake. If these images aren’t for your blog, at least you will be able to flood your Instagram feed with hundreds of food images… once again.

Self-made photography studio & lighting: Seven Deadly Sins Photoshoot

Extraordinary Everyday Photography: Awaken Your Vision to Create Stunning Images Wherever You Are – Brenda Tharp & Jed Manwaring

As this book states: ‘photographers are born travellers. They’ll go any distance to capture the right light, beautiful landscapes, wildlife, and people.’ And that’s the truth. Any photographer you meet will go to any cost to get the most incredible picture that allows them to showcase their creativity. However, you don’t need to travel to all corners of the world for an incredible picture. Authors Brenda Tharp and Jed Manwaring encourage all photographers to slow down and to open their eyes to what is around them. Extraordinary Everyday Photography is not so much a ‘how-to’ photography book, but a book that challenges you to see and think like a professional, even in your own home.

Shooting in Sh*tty Light: The Top Ten Worst Photography Lighting Situations and How to Conquer Them – Lindsay Adler & Erik Valind

Have you ever wondered why images are too dark or too bright, and you have no idea why? Then this is the book you need. Conquer your fear of horrid lighting as portrait and fashion photographer, Linsay Adler, and commercial lifestyle and portrait photographer, Erik Valind, team up to provide you with ten f the worst lighting situations, along with a variety of solutions for each. With these real-life examples, you will gain tremendous knowledge that can be applied in many scenarios. Although there are only ten in this copy, and it is aimed at beginners, this book serves as a good reminder for the professionals too.

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