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Photography books: What are you reading? What are your favorites and recommendations?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by gdourado, May 3, 2012.

  1. gdourado

    gdourado Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 23, 2012
    Lisbon - Portugal

    I like reading quite a lot...
    It's something I find quite relaxing and when I'm at home in the evening, I really like it.
    Since I also love photography, some of the books I read are about photography. Either technical books, inspiring books or a mix bag...

    So I thought about creating this topic so we can share our recommendations about photography books.
    They can be an entertaining read, a tool to improve your craft or a source of new inspiration...

    I'll start myself...
    Currently I'm reading Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision, by David duChemin.


    I'm about two thirds trough the book and I'm really liking it...
    It focuses on inspiration, and the craft of photographing people in other cultures.
    The book has some pretty good pictures and talks about great places.
    Makes me want to put on my backpack and catch a flight.
    So far, I can only recommend it.

    Hope to hear from you.
    Best wishes!
    • Like Like x 4
  2. applemint

    applemint Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 24, 2012
  3. pictor

    pictor Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 17, 2010
    If you could read just one book about photography, it should be Bruce Barnbaum's "The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression".
    • Like Like x 3
  4. wlewisiii

    wlewisiii Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 16, 2011
    Hayward, WI
    William B. Lewis
    "On Being A Photographer" and "On Looking At Photographs" by David Hurn & Bill Jay

    Both are available from LensWork Celebrates 100 Issues in Print! and are the best books on the process rather than specific technique that I have ever read.

    The Ansel Adams trilogy are great as well but spend more time discussing minutia of film shooting that you, possibly, are not interested in.
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Rob917

    Rob917 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 18, 2011
    jacksonville, florida usa
    I also recommend The Photographer's Eye, The Photgrapher's Mind and The Photographer's (I'm starting to see a trend here) by Michael Freeman .
    • Like Like x 1
  6. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    I've been reading Michael Freeman's "The Photographer's Eye" on and off and out of order for the past year.

    "Visual Poetry: A Creative Guide for Making Engaging Digital Photographs" by Chris Orwig is one I keep going back to for inspiration. I'm not sure if I've read the whole thing because every time I pick it up I find something new.

  7. LisaO

    LisaO Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 18, 2010
    New York Metro Area
  8. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    The Ansel Adams series. While not digital, the books will provide a solid base for understanding photography, especially exposure, composition, final image. Most of the basics of film are the sames basics for digital.

    • Like Like x 3
  9. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    I love this post! Lot's of great recommendations of books I'll be hunting down.

    As a newb, I got a lot out of reading Scott Kelby's The Digital Photography Book series, the fourth volume of which came out this spring. I found that these books did a good job of covering the basics of how to shoot.
  10. rhoydotp

    rhoydotp Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 5, 2012
    Toronto, Ont
    i just started reading "Understanding Flash Photography by Brian Peterson as a refresher on flash techniques

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    and, I don't know why I also borrowed "Way Beyond Monochrome" as well :) 

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  11. BobbyD

    BobbyD Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 5, 2012
    For my new EPL1 and Aperture 3, well for my Aperture 3.

    Attached Files:

  12. Stephen Geis

    Stephen Geis Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 13, 2010
    Charlotte, NC
  13. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    "The Negative" was my photographic Bible, and even after starting to shoot digital, nothing has replaced it. "The Print" and "The Camera" are wonderful too. Maybe there are digital specific equivalents, but I don't know them. The fundamentals of exposure are very well covered in The Negative.
  14. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I recently bought "the Practical Zone System fir Film And Digital Photography" by Chris Johnson published by the Focal Press. Johnson apparently studies with Adams so he goes back to those days.

    I got a lot out of this book, and it got me back into visualising tonal placement and using the spot meter again which I think has been good for me, though my exposure technique still gets sloppy. Back in the late 60's/early 70's I was playing with the zone system with 35mm film and found it very useful. Johnson's book bought a lot of that back for me, and there's a good discussion of the differences between digital and film and how that affects things. You may get something out of it.

    On the other hand, perhaps what I should do after reading your comment about Adams' "The Negative" is dig out my copies of "The Camera", "The Negative", and "The Print" and go through them again.

    And for something completely different I could recommend "Ansel Adams In Color" published by Little , Brown and Company in 1991. Adams was using color film as early as the late '30s, experimenting with both Kodak and Polaroid films. It's fascinating seeing classic (and sometimes not so classic) Adams style shots in colour though early colour film doesn't always work the best. Ultimately the black and white Adams is the Adams I keep going back to but this book is fascinating for showing a different side of his work that seems very little known and may well be of interest to colour landscape photographers who have only seen the black and white side of Adams' work.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Robve

    Robve New to Mu-43

    Aug 29, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    Learning Photography

    I also read lots of photography books.*

    To start with photography, *I learned a lot from Michael Freeman's books, especially the Photographer's Eye. (Focal Press: Michael Freeman Photography Books)

    With the basics under the belt I started enjoying the inspiring ones,*so big heads up for David DuChemin's "Within The Frame" and "The Passionate Photographer" by Steve Simon.

    Also more on the inspiration side, a recent podcast, PhotoNetcast had an episode about Photography related books, and their selection can be found here:
    PhotoNetCast #75 - Highlights from the bookshelf | PhotoNetCast - Photography podcast

    As a personal project, I wrote up some of my techniques and things I learned, in this PDF file.
    For the Love of Photography: New Free Book!

    For the non-reader-learners, I also got a lot out of the various Photography courses on Lynda.com. Instructor Ben Long has some great titles out there that are very informative and fun to watch (Foundations of photography series)

    Training, tutorials & online classes by expert Ben Long

    Cheers from Sydney
    • Like Like x 1
  16. wlewisiii

    wlewisiii Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 16, 2011
    Hayward, WI
    William B. Lewis
    One other book I've been rereading of late is "Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs" by ol Ansel. He goes into detail on what he did to create some of his famous and some of his not so famous images. It's interesting from a "working photography" perspective.

    The other book of his I find quite valuable is his collected Portfolios. These are the photographs that he chose as his best over the years and they are rarely the famous ones. Some great images I have never seen elsewhere.
  17. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Thanks. I'll look up the book by Chris Johnson. I've seen a bit of Adams' color stuff hhe even did some Arizona Highways things, but its really large format black and white that got me into photography, so those are the prints I usually want to see.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. dannat

    dannat Mu-43 Regular

    May 2, 2010
    Melbourne Australia
    The art of photography is very good, gets a bit heavy in spots but you can re-read them later, I have the kindle version which is quite cheap
    The other book really like is the understanding photography field guide by Bryan peterson
  19. Zariell

    Zariell Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 28, 2012
    Bountiful, UT
    Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson

    I purchased Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson for my son, when I got him his camera, I decided to read it first to see if it was any good.

    I can honestly say that its not a bad book for the beginner, hell it reminded me of a few things I had forgotten about :p  Its got pretty clear language and it does cover alot of things.

    Now do I think this is a book for an advanced photographer, probably not, but it did inspire me to go back to the manual settings on my camera, and to get out of my complacent I let my camera decide everything for me mode I sometimes get into :p  I think for someone who is just starting out and learning the ropes it would be a fantastic read.
  20. osterdahl

    osterdahl Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 8, 2011
    Leif Österdahl
    Downloaded all three books. I think they are great, full of good advice and great pictures.
    Thomas Leuthard
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