Some of the Best All Purpose Photography Books

photography books

This is a list of books that I found the most helpful when I took a serious interest in photography. 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. Some of these books are out of print but well worth finding on the used book market.

The books in the Kodak Joy of Photography series are full of eye-catching images and a ton of photo suggestions and ideas. If you like people photography, be sure to find a copy of The Joy of Photographing People.

Galen Rowell’s Mountain Light is first rate at getting inside the photographer’s head and thinking along with him as he creates images. The photography is stunning. If you aren’t inspired by this book, you might as well put your camera away. This is a must read for anyone interested in landscape, nature, and adventure photography. Any of Rowell’s other books are also well worth reading.

Freeman Patterson’s practical and inspirational books get to the heart and soul of photography. Look for Photography and the Art of Seeing, Photography for the Joy of It, Photography of Natural Things, and Photographing the World Around You.

Some of the older photography books were long on text with less photos (many of them in black & white), but they are still filled with a wealth if valuable information. You can still find these books on the used market. The Amateur Photographer’s Handbook by Aaron Sussman is first rate and worth reading in any edition. Andreas Feininger has written several excellent classics. Look for The Complete Photographer, Photographic Seeing, and Principles of Composition in Photography.


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