Recommended Books for Beginning Photographers

I read several books a month on photography, and keep a record of what I read with a personal rating and recommendation. I find this very helpful when I think of something I read at some point but can't remember where I read it... with this list I can refer to it and look it up. I decided to post it online for my fellow photographers and aspiring photographers. You've got to start somewhere, and books are a great place!

Since I just started adding books to this website, they are currently not searchable... just a list below. As the book list grows I will put it into a database that you can search online. Feel free to send me your comments and suggestions for this list! I am always looking for new material :)

Sorted by rating from 1 - 5 (5 being the highest rating - in my humble opinion).

Title / ISBN Author Pages Notes Rating Copyright
The Photoshop CS2 Book for Digital Photographers

Scott Kelby 450 Each chapter (usually 2 to 4 pages) shows step-by-step how to do something (ie use a certain tool) in Photoshop. Very useful as a reference book and easy to look things up. I would recommend this book! Update: I hear there is now a CS3 book out. I haven't seen it yet, but plan to get it in the next month or so. 5 2005
Understanding Digital Photography: Techniques for Getting Great Pictures

Bryan Peterson 160 Very interesting and fun analogies! Liked the book and would recommend it strongly to anyone who is not totally confident with their digital photography yet. He gives great examples and I enjoyed reading this book. 5 2005

Digital Wedding Photography: Capturing Beautiful Memories


Glen Johnson 296 Excellent book for those who wish to become wedding photographers. Buy it! Has lots of detailed info about lenses, cameras, filters and other equipment used for weddings as well as a lot of practical information about getting great wedding shots. 5 2006
Collins Complete Guide to Photography: The Essential Book for Every Photographer

Michael Freeman 288 A larger sized heavy book. Unfortunately. I only got to page 75 (and had to return it to the library) but I really enjoyed it and learned a lot. This is an older book, with dated equipment info, but unlike the other older books this was not an issue because the bulk of the book was about getting good photos, not about equipment. Very thorough in areas that other books are not, like detailed drawings to explain concepts. I will take this book out again and finish it.. I definitely recommend it. 5 1993
Color Confidence: The Digital Photographer's Guide to Color Management

Tim Grey 256 Very detailed step-by-step info on calibrating monitors and setting up color profiles. Includes info on scanning, printing, optimizing, and digital capture. I would recommend this for the those who are seriously interested in calibrating their systems. It is more information than you'll want! 5 2006
National Geographic: The Ultimate Field Guide to Landscape Photography

Robert Caputo 159 A small book, almost the size of a novel, which makes it a good candidate for bringing out with you when you travel or shoot. Has good info, some very basic like the rules of composition, but overall useful and enjoyable to read. Great for beginners or intermediate shooters. 4 2002
The 35mm Photographer's Handbook Julian Calder, John Garrett 239 Good information, VERY thorough, but some info outdated. Limited information on digital (and what it has is not current) but good book for film shooters.
3 1999

The Art of Nature Photography: Perfect Your Pictures In-Camera and In-Computer


Niall Benvie 156 Very thorough and detailed, specific to nature photography. Author from Scotland, some old references to film and does not cover digital photography at all (except to say that slides can be scanned to digital form). 3 2000
A Comprehensive Guide to Digital Travel Photography

Duncan Evans 144 Not a very memorable book. Lots of photos and the nice thing was that each photo had info about how it was taken and what adjustments had been made in Photoshop. Each page spread was a photo and a topic, or subject, of something you may want to photograph wile traveling and tips on how to get successful images. Pretty good, but I got bored of reading how each image was made towards the end of the book and just looked at the pictures. 3 2005
Wedding Photographer's Handbook: The Complete Guide

Robert and Sheila Hurth 168 Good business info, dated looking photographs and equipment info. Full of lots of practical, useful information for new wedding photographers, like lists of shots to get and stories of what “not to do”. Downside was that equipment info was outdated and make little or no reference to digital. Comparison were mad between 35mm vs medium format. 3 1996
Selling Photography

Roger Antrobus 128 Quick read. Info on stock photography. He said how many times each of his photos sold and the total revenue received for each, which was interesting. A good book, but not quite enough info on how to actually sell your photos... or the “how to get started” part. 3 2003
Wedding Photography and Video

Chuck DeLaney 158 Book for the Bride and Groom, helps them find and hire and wedding photographer. A good resource for couples hiring a photographer... note: it's a bit outdated though a lot of the info is still valid. Also, there are no photos in this book. 2 1994
Sport and Action

Cassell Camera 96 A quick read, lots of photos... it re-iterates the same info several times using different sports as examples. A bit dry, but perhaps useful for beginners.


National Geographic Cat Shots

National Geographic Society 107 This is a photo book of cat images that have appeared in National Geographic (and some that haven't but were taken by their photographers.) My two favorite things – cats and national geographic! I had to get this book. It had some great shots. I would recommend at least taking it out of the library for a perusal if you like cats.
L.L. Bean Outdoor Photography Handbook

Jim and Kate Rowinski 158 Looked pretty good, though I can't really comment because I skimmed through the second half. It seemed a bit long.
Photographing People

John Hedgecoe 160 Good information, but I got bored reading it and skipped some pages. I think it was because it was too formal, and I like candid shots of people better than “normal” portraits. I'd say it's a good read if you want some ideas on how to make your portraits look better than traditional head shots.
Photography Posing Secrets (eBook) Malcome Boone 120 Looks like a good resource. I'll tell you more when I finish it!   unknown






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