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 photography, some are about the digital darkroom side, and some are about both. Out of hundreds of books in my photo library, I have picked out the best.
There are any number of good, basic and intermediate photoshop/photography books. 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 authors to look for.
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.
Tom Ang writes excellent digital photography books and they certainly deserve the excellent reviews they receive. Some of them are out of print but still well worth finding in the used market place. Just click on the “Buy At Amazon” button.
Digital Photography: An Introduction (Fourth Edition) by Tom Ang is a very good introduction to digital photography.
Digital Photographer’s Handbook, 5th 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..
The Complete Photographer, by Tom Ang.
Digital Photography Masterclass, by Tom Ang. An advanced book.
Advanced Digital Photography: Techniques & Tips for Creating Professional-Quality Images, Revised Edition., by Tom Ang. An advanced book.
Anything by Rick Sammon is well written and informative.
Real World Digital Photography (3rd Edition) by Katrin Eismann, Sean Duggan, and Tim Grey. This is a comprehensive book about both photography and Photoshop.
Scott Kelby has written some of the best, most readable introductions to Photoshop Elements software (the light version of Adobe Photoshop). 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 13 Book for Digital Photographers. Kelby’s books is also available for Elements 12.
The following books are about Photoshop and Lightroom.
The Adobe Photoshop CC Book for Digital Photographers (Voices that Matter) by Scott Kelby. While not as comprehensive as the books that follow below, Kelby covers the basics in a way that is fun, witty and informative. There are a versions of this book for CS6 and CS5. If you want more a detailed and comprehensive Kelby’s, see Martin Evening’s books below.
Adobe Photoshop Classroom in a Book series by Adobe is a straight forward and much more detailed way to learn all about Photoshop than Kelby’s book. Here are the versions of the book for the last three versions of Photoshop:
The most comprehensive single books on Photoshop and Lightroom are by Martin Evening. Yhey are my absolute 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 is the most recent version and Evening also has versions of this book for CS6, CS5, and CS4.
The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Book: The Complete Guide for Photographers is Evening’s latest on Lightroom. There is also a version for Lightroom 4.
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. The current version is The Digital Negative which is for Photoshop CC and CS6 and Lightroom 5 and 4. For earlier software versions you want the Real World Camera Raw books for CS5, CS4, and CS3.
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.
The best of the best photography gear, books, accessories, and online photo labs, a series of articles.
(Originally posted Nov. 21, 2013. Updated Nov. 20, 2014.)