This is a sad day. After 80 years of publication Popular Photography magazine is closing. The March/April issue that arrived in my mailbox will be the last. No new content will be added to the PopPhoto.com web site after March 10.
Planning a trip to photograph some of our national parks? You will get better images if you visit a national park at its prime season of the year. But when is each park at its very best? And how do you figure out the best time of year for other locations that aren’t in the national parks?
Can a world class, National Geographic photographer lose his passion? Yes! How does he get it back?
I finally found an excellent series of photography lessons on video to complement my book, Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies, and it is by Joel Sartore, a first class photographer who does a lot of work for National Geographic. He does stunning photography in amazing situations all over the world. You can see some of his work in the galleries at his web site.
Photography DVDs can inspire your photography, give you new ideas, and teach you new skills and techniques. These are my favorites.
If you want to master color in Photoshop, Dan Margulis is the best of the best. He is one of the first three persons to be named as a member of the Photoshop Hall of Fame. And the book to get is Professional Photoshop: The Classic Guide to Color Correction (5th Edition). It is well worth finding on the used market (which you can do via my photography store). What Margulis teaches you to do with color is amazing. The before and after images will make your jaw drop.
If you shoot RAW camera files (and you should), this essential book should be at the top of your list. It is far and away the best of the best. You will be amazed at what you can get out of your RAW files. Your images will thank you.
A lot of the quality of your final image will be determined by what you do with your RAW files when you open them in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) which comes with Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Elements, and Adobe Lightroom.
Article posted Nov. 30, 2016. Revised and expanded Dec. 17, 2016.
Scott Kelby has written some of the best, most readable introductions to Elements, Lightroom, and Photoshop. If you are new to this software, this is a great place to start.
If you are serious about digital photography and you use Lightroom and/or Photoshop, these books are “The Essentials”.
Some well chosen books can make a world of difference in your digital photography. Some of the best books are about the camera side of digital photography, some are about the digital darkroom side, and some are about both. Out of hundreds of books in my photo library, I picked out the best.
Interested in getting into astrophotography? The simple stuff is simple to do (like the photos below) and all you need are a camera, lens, and tripod. For some astrophotography you will need specialized but not very expensive equipment like the $300 sky tracker used for the photo above. The challenging stuff is hard, complicated, and expensive to do if you want eye popping photos like you see in Astronomy and Sky and Telescope magazines. No matter what you want to do, the books below will get you started. And if you just like to look at the night sky, I recommend some books for that too.
If creating stunning wildlife images was easy, everyone would be doing it. Fortunately for all of us, some of the very best wildlife photographers have shared their secrets in some excellent books that will dramatically improve your wildlife photography.
The first step to photographing wildlife is finding wildlife and one of the best ways to find wildlife is to look at wildlife location books. They will save you hours of frustration by sending you to the best locations to find wildlife.
If you want to turn your images of flowers into true artistic expressions, this is the book for you. Fine Art Flower Photography, Creative Techniques and the Art of Observation by Tony Sweet takes you well beyond the typical flower photography guide.
I’ve been reading two excellent nature photography books by Tony Sweet. They are published by Stackpole Books. They choose first class photographers who have written an excellent and ongoing series of photography books. I’ve been giving high praise to Stackpole’s photography books for years and I now have two more to add to the list.
Want to be a better nature photographer? Read anything by John Shaw, Galen Rowell, Art Wolfe, Freeman Patterson, Tim Fitzharris, George Lepp, Larry West, Arthur Morris, Allen Rokach, John Netherton, Leonard Lee Rue III, Brenda Tharp, Tony Sweet, and the Stackpole (publisher) nature series. Now for some of the “best of the best” books to look for. These are my favorites out of hundreds of photography books in my library.
I was packing the car for a 10 day trip to Iowa, and I picked out a few essential photography books to take with me. My plan was to revisit them in preparation for one of my upcoming nature photography workshops. When I unpacked in Iowa, Joseph Lange’s How to Photograph Landscapes was missing. Oh No!
A good photography book can put you well ahead of the game, and three essential nature photography books (plus maybe a few others) can save you years of time learning things the hard way.
More photos are taken of people than any other photograph subject. Anyone can take snapshots. If you want to take more memorable and eye-catching photos, here are some excellent books to help you do just that.
Is composition something that can be taught, or is it innate? Probably a bit of both. It is hard to look at photographs by Frans Lanting, Art Wolfe, Galen Rowell, and Dewitt Jones without coming to the conclusion that they were born with some kind of innate sense of composition. On the the other hand, it is clear that photographers can improve dramatically with the right kind of guidance.
Art Wolfe is a world class photographer, and it shows in The Art of the Photograph. There are a lot of books on photographic composition (I own several, and I’ve looked through a lot more in various libraries), but this is far and away the best introduction to photographic composition I have come across. If you aren’t an experienced professional photographer, this book is an absolute must read. (I am assuming professionals already know this stuff.)
When I picked this book up off the shelf, I couldn’t put it down, at least not until I put it down on the check out desk and bought it. There have been some very fine illustrated history of photography books that have come and gone, but this is far and away my favorite.
I have no idea how Michael Freeman can be a well traveled, international photographer and still find time to write so many terrific photography books. But somehow he manages to do both. I suspect he never sleeps. I imagine him creating images and writing books 24 hours a day, stopping only to eat once or twice a week!!
Jennifer Blakeley does beautiful newborn photography. Her celebrity client list includes Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green; Vanessa and Donald Trump Jr.; and Jocelyn Towne and Simon Helberg (Big Bang Theory). She is also the founder of Alphabet Photography. A highly respected and award winning Canadian photographer, she has also worked with the Canadian Olympics Gymnastic Team.
With 12 books, hundreds of magazine articles, over a dozen instructional videos, and numerous workshops to his credit, digital photography expert Tim Grey really knows his stuff. In one of his eNewsletters, Tim gives this excellent recommendation for Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies:
Many photographers would say Light: Science and Magic is THE best book on photographic lighting – and I agree with them. If you intend to be seriously involved in photography, this book should be on your required reading list.
This is a list of books that were the most helpful to me when I took a serious interest in photography, and I continue to refer to them. These books were written back when film was king, but that makes them all the more valuable to today’s digital photographers. Some digital photography books get so lost in technical information that the heart and soul of photography can get lost. The best film photography books are about light and shadow, subjects, form, texture, line and shape – all of which applies to digital photography.
I have no idea when I was first entranced by the photos of Ansel Adams. There is a wonderful, luminous quality to his work. Small wonder he is America’s best known landscape photographer. Collections of his work would make a worthy addition to any photographer’s library. This is also the time of year that Ansel Adams calendars pop up like snowstorms.