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.
Posted November 6, 2017. Updated November 26, 2018.
There are excellent books with basic, intermediate and advanced photography and/or Photoshop skills. Look for books by Tom Ang, Rick Sammon, Tim Grey, Ellen Anon, Martin Evening, Jeff Schewe, Bruce Fraser, Scott Kelby, Katrin Eissman, and Sean Duggan. These are the best authors to look for.
You can buy all of these books at my at my photography store with links that take you directly to Amazon.com. Some of these wonderful books are out of print but you can still get them used at Amazon.
Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies is one of the highest rated photography books at Amazon.com. It will help you be a better photographer. Written by a photographer and photography instructor that I know very well (wink, wink), it is one of the most comprehensive introductions to the art and science of exposure. It is also an introduction to creative uses depth of field and shutter speeds, working with the qualities of photographic light, photographic flash, and mixing flash and ambient light. It also teaches you professional tricks of the trade for better portrait, landscape, wildlife, flower, and sports/action photography. You will also dive into closeup, night, and low light photography. And you will learn about accessories that will make a big difference in your photography. Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies is highly rated by beginners, advanced photographers and professionals. It is currently out of print bout you can still buy new or used copies via Amazon’s third part sellers.
Tom Ang writes excellent digital photography books and they certainly deserve the excellent reviews they receive. He is absolutely one of the very best digital photography authors.
Digital Photography: An Introduction (Fourth Edition) by Tom Ang is a very good introduction to digital photography.
Digital Photographer’s Handbook, 6th edition, by Tom Ang. My favorite digital photography handbook. An excellent reference book.
Silver Pixels: An Introduction to the Digital Darkroom, by Tom Ang is a very good introduction to the digital darkroom side of photography using Photoshop.
The Complete Photographer, by Tom Ang. This book has lessons in several genres and includes interviews with a who’s who list of photographers. The topics covered are: portrait photography, landscape photography, fashion and nude photography, wildlife and nature photography, sports photography, documentary photography, event and milestone photography, travel photography, architecture photography, and fine art photography. So if you have a broad range of photographic interests, this book is for you. The Companion volume to this books is Digital Photography Through the Year.
Digital Photography Through the Year, by Tom Ang. This is the companion book to The Complete Photographer. It takes you through all 12 seasons (each season is divided into three parts, early, mid, and late) and gives you twelve projects to work on for each season. That is a total of 144 projects to keep you busy throughout the year and stretch your photography skills.
Digital Photography Masterclass, by Tom Ang. An advanced book. When you have moved beyond the basics skills this is an excellent follow up.
Advanced Digital Photography: Techniques & Tips for Creating Professional-Quality Images, Revised Edition., by Tom Ang. Another advanced book.
Anything by Rick Sammon is well written and informative.
Rick Sammon’s Complete Guide to Digital Photography 2.0 pretty much gives you an introspection to everything. It is one of the best all around books.
Real World Digital Photography (3rd Edition) by Katrin Eismann, Sean Duggan, and Tim Grey. This is a comprehensive book about both photography and the digital darkroom.
Scott Kelby has written some of the best, most readable introductions to Adove Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Elements software (the “light” version of Adobe Photoshop). His introductory books are written in a light and breezy style and cover basic and some intermediate Photoshop/Elements skills.
Elements is one of the best image editing software options available for under $100. The book for the most recent version is The Photoshop Elements 15 Book for Digital Photographers.
The Adobe Photoshop CC Book for Digital Photographers (Voices that Matter) by Scott Kelby is one of the best and most interesting introductions to Photoshop. While not as comprehensive as the books that follow below, Kelby covers the basics in a way that is fun, witty and informative. If you want a more detailed and comprehensive book than Kelby’s, see Martin Evening’s book below.
The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC Book for Digital Photographers (Voices That Matter) by Scott Kelby is one of the best and most interesting introductions to Lightroom (sound familiar?). If you want a more detailed and comprehensive book than Kelby’s, see Martin Evening’s book below.
Adobe Photoshop Classroom in a Book by Andrew Faulkner and Conrad Chavez is a straight forward and much more detailed way to learn all about Photoshop than Kelby’s book.
The most comprehensive single books on Photoshop and Lightroom are by Martin Evening. They are my absolute all time favorite “all-in-one” books. If you want more detail than you find in Scott Kelby, Martin Evening is who you want to read. Evening’s books are essential for photographer’s who are serious about Photoshop and Lightroom. They are the best of the best.
Adobe Photoshop CC for Photographers: 2016 Edition – Version 2015.5 is the most recent version for Adobe Photoshop.
The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC / Lightroom 6 Book: The Complete Guide for Photographers is the most recent version of Martin Evening’s book for Adobe Lightroom.
The best way to get the maximum image quality out of your camera is to shoot RAW files and process them with a first class RAW image processor like Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). The absolute best guides to ACR are the books by Jeff Schewe and Bruce Fraser. Bruce Fraser started the series and Jeff Schewe has continued the series after Fraser’s untimely passing. The current version is The Digital Negative: Raw Image Processing in Lightroom, Camera Raw, and Photoshop (2nd Edition) for Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC and Lightroom 6.
To get the best possible print from your digital file, get Schewe’s The Digital Print.
It is a digital reality that most digital files need to be sharpened a little, and some more than a little. The digital photography world abounds with ugly files that have been sharpened in all kinds of terrible ways. To do it right, get Real World Image Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop, Camera Raw, and Lightroom (2nd edition) by Fraser and Schewe.
Color Confidence by Tim Grey is your guide to dealing with all of the color issues that come up in digital photography. If your prints don’t match your monitor, this is the book for you.
Ellen Anon’s Photoshop CS5 for Nature Photographers: A Workshop in a Book is excellent.
Some of the best photography books were written in the pre-digital era when film was king. The photo information and advice in the best of these books is still excellent and you can find these books in Some of the Best All Purpose Photography Books.
This is one in a series of articles that will guide you to the best of all things photographic. The rest are here: Buyer’s Guide: Recommendations For The Best Photography Equipment, Software, Books, Magazines, DVDs, Online Photo Labs and More.