The widespread availability of DSLR cameras and constant advancements in mobile photography has made it easier for everyone to become a photographer. Whether taking a selfie or a black and white portrait, individuals from all walks of life are busy experimenting with their creativity, using equipment that can now process, filter, and print pictures in a flash. A reason for this interest in photography is the rise of social media, which has led to more prevalent visual content. Still, there are purists amongst the enthusiasts who are charmed by the old world's non-digital appeal and are thus championing the use of film cameras and Polaroids.
No matter your camera of choice, for those interested in taking their passion a step further than just posting random photos on Instagram, several books are available that highlight and teach about the importance of photography and its techniques. Here are 10 must-read photography books that every photographer should own.
Before starting to learn the techniques of photography, it is essential to learn about its history. Tom Ang's book traces the path of photography from the 1800s until its digital age via memorable photos. Along the way, Ang talks about significant events, different genres, as well as photographers who have left a long-lasting impact and influence on the field. A celebrated photographer and author himself, Ang's Photography: History.Art.Technique is another classic photo book for photographers to have in their collection.
Henry Carroll sets aside photography jargon, choosing instead to teach using photos and simple language. He tackles the primary elements of a good picture, explaining the importance of composition, light, exposure, and different lenses. The book features iconic photos as examples, and Carroll is quick to give essential tips about procedures as well as the kind of mindset that can help a photographer take memorable shots. Those looking to specialize in a specific area of photography can opt for other books in the series that concentrate on photographing people and places. They are considered among the best photo books for beginners.
Shooting in Sh*tty Light is not only an eye-catching title but also one of the most useful photography books you'll ever read. Lighting is an essential aspect of photography and can make a photo look good or bad. When shooting outside without equipment, it is impossible to control natural light. Thus, Lindsay Adler and Erik Valind take up different instances, from low light shots to photographing in harsh sunlight, and offer handy solutions to problems that a photographer might face. An easy-to-understand photo book, it is worth buying, irrespective of whether you are an amateur or a professional.
Even though photography is an exceptional art form, a few artists have long pushed the boundaries of their creativity through the idea of Lomography. The use of film-based cameras to take often "imperfect," yet unique photos is an innovative endeavor that every photographer should explore at least once. Lomo Life comprises of two photography books. The Cameras talks about all the different Lomography cameras over the decades. The Story, in contrast, is a rundown on how this trend captured the imagination of a generation, converting it into a distinct form of individual expression.
Whether you like it or not, mobile photography is here to stay, and in all honesty, it does make the act of taking and editing photos a lot simpler. Jo Bradford's Smart Phone Smart Photography is a wonderful reference book that starts by teaching the basics of photography and then moves on to various techniques one can use when clicking photos with their mobile devices. Explaining her concepts via well laid out illustrations, Bradford finally talks about editing software and apps that photographers can utilize to transform their pictures from good to visually astounding art pieces.
Travel photography, amongst the most popular genres of photography, is something that every photographer experiments with at one time or another. Lonely Planet is already known for several of their travel books. In this particularly brilliant edition, they provide readers with an abundance of information on how to make the most of their cameras when traveling. Going into detail about the best camera gear and capturing the right moment to tricks on photographing individuals and groups, this is an essential photography book for all ardent travelers.
The ideal way to understand the nuances of photography is by analyzing photos taken by world-renowned photographers. Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs is a bestselling photo book that highlights the career of the most distinguished landscape photographer from the last century. Featuring his works from 1916 all the way up until the 1960s, this collection is a real gem that makes for a delightful coffee-table book and gives excellent insights into techniques used by Adam to produce his landmarks pictures.
Raghu Rai, India's most renowned photographer, has been a part of the profession for more than half a century. People is amongst his best photography books and a stark reminder that often, the simplest of photos can have maximum impact. The visually appealing book features black and white pictures of several celebrities, mostly Indian, ranging from film stars like Nandita Das to politician Indira Gandhi. The vividly colorful prints of everyday people from Rajasthan, though, is where readers get to witness Rai's true mastery in the art of photography.
As one of the most prolific writers ever, Susan Sontag's essays on photography make for a heavy read. In the seven musings that form the book, she looks at the idea of photography, its impact on society, and what it means to be a photographer. Photography books generally tend to be visually appealing, however, this 1977 intellectual read is a philosophical and introspective look at the art that is bound to leave you thinking about it for hours.
It is unlikely that a photography enthusiast has not heard about the Humans of New York project. It is a blog started by Brandon Stanton that captures the city through its people, their stories, and their photographs. The book is a true collector's edition featuring new and old stories that cover a range of emotions from love and despair to lust and freedom, further brought alive with the help of photographs taken by Stanton.