7 Best Photography Books of 2021 (Ranks and Reviews)

best photography books
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Learn about the best photography books to read this year. 

This list will cover 7 of the most interesting and popular books on the market right now for you to read to expand your passion for photography.

Disclaimer: To keep this website running, I need funds. And to support these, I may receive affiliate compensation from Amazon LLC, if you decide to purchase any book on amazon through checkout links available on this page without any extra cost to you. Read more about my affiliate disclosure here.

Let’s get to the list.

What are the Best Photography Books to Buy?

Here are my top picks for the best photography books to buy this year.

1. Understanding Exposure.

Deeply rooted in the language and concepts of classic photography, Understanding Exposure explains how each component of a camera affects exposure. 

Even if you don’t consider yourself a student of photography, this gorgeously illustrated guide demystifies the science behind exposure and helps you learn how to create stunning photographs with any camera, in any situation.

By breaking down the concepts of exposure and demystifying them, Peterson empowers readers to take more control of their photography.

You may take pictures with your smartphones and instantly publish them on social media, but photographic principles that have been in place for over a hundred years remain at the heart of every great image. 

Combining his signature style with careful observations of today’s most renowned photographers, Bryan Peterson reveals exactly what you need to know to get great images.

Other things to know:

Its latest edition includes information on how digital cameras behave differently from film cameras and covers the latest trends in exposure technology such as automatic modes, metering systems, and the newest methods for achieving the most natural-looking light possible with flash.

While this book is written primarily for beginning photographers, it will also help more experienced shooters avoid costly mistakes and sinkhole vacation time on location or in the studio.

No matter what kind of camera you use — be it compact, DSLR, or medium- or large-format film — this fully updated guide will help you understand how to get the images you have always wanted.

2. The Photographers Eye.

The Photographers Eye is the first book to offer visual lessons based upon what professional photographers watch for in the viewfinder.

Exploring compositions & designs, this book shows how anyone can develop an eye for seeing great digital photos. 

Based on a new approach developed to teach a Masters of Fine Art Photography course, The Photographer’s Eye breaks down the essential elements of a great picture into their components, enabling you to learn to recognize and understand them. 

It also shows how they can be used effectively in your own photography.

And you know what: Photography is not just always about following strict rules, this profession requires a never-ending passion and the creative freedom to explore & adapt to different natures.

If you go deep enough inside the above line & able to get my meaningful perspective of the statement, then photography is going to be your serious profession bruh :))

Comment if you get it.

3. Light, Science & Magic.

The name of this book is creative enough, to increase curiosity!

Light Science & Magic is one of the most popular and effective guidebooks for photographers, new filmmakers (maybe youtube), and artists of all kinds — giving beginners a solid foundation of understanding and enabling experts to gain insight into the work of others, whether they be painters, sculptors, or a more traditional photographer.

There is a wealth of invaluable information available in this book. The writing is easy to understand and provides a great introduction to the concept of light in photography.

I have read several books on lighting, but this one is by far one of the most comprehensive books available. It’s also one of the easiest reads when it comes to understanding the technical language surrounding photography.

To shift your perspective in a meaningful way about photography lighting, this book provides in-depth information on studio lighting but also covers natural light photography, flash photography, and even pinpoint (candle) light sources.

4. Studio Anywhere.

Studio Anywhere is about having the courage to go out into the world with a bag of equipment and a thoughtful plan, creating images that are interesting because they are different, that define your own creative style.

For photographers, a studio is an expensive and often unnecessary investment. Why rent 500 square feet of space when I could make do with the four corners of my hotel room? It’s an understandable thought process – until you look at the photos.

Again: In photography, creativity is the key.

The sky is the limit for what kind of photos you can create in your own space. 

With a passion for photography, along with a lack of money: I had to buy white or bright-colored blankets to throw over furniture and use white seamless paper or foam core for walls in the past.

And that’s 100% okay and you should try it too as I did.

It’s all about being creative, thinking outside the box, and not worrying if your space is unconventional because you can make it work since you have access to multiple locations where you will get new creative ways which are 101% better than a studio room.

Develop your vision and take action, and that’s what this book teaches.

5. The Moment it Clicks.

In The Moment It Clicks, world-renowned photographer Joe McNally teaches you how to create photos that communicate with spirit and creativity. 

You’ll learn how to take your photography from snapshots to great shots, and from good shots to extraordinary images that resonate with viewers. 

You’ll also learn from Joe’s most inspiring photography: his iconic portraits of photographers, musicians, and movie stars ― artists who know what it takes to make great images.

Here’s a fact:

The photography world is full of expert opinion that often misses the boat. 

For example, some say that a higher ISO setting on your camera will make your photos brighter — without regard for the extra noise and loss of details it brings with it, or the need to use a slower shutter speed and employ your camera’s stabilizer (if you are lucky enough to have one). 

This book demystifies the real-world side of photography with advice you can actually put into practice. 

This is a common-sense guide with practical information about how to make better photos. It’s not a collection of watered-down abstractions that won’t help you improve your photo-taking at all.

This book will teach you to be a great photographer:

And, great photographers think differently, act differently ― and see the world differently. They can look at a scene and instantly know how to make it come alive through their images.

6. Extraordinary Everyday Photography.

Brenda Tharp and Jed Manwaring encourage amateur photographers to slow down, open their eyes, and respond to what they see. 

I’ll admit, this sounds a lot like Zen in the art world. 

Of course, you should look at things from multiple perspectives as an artist, but most of us are already well aware of our surroundings and what we should be looking for when we step out the door. 

Is every passerby on La Ramblas (the main street in Barcelona) going to have something interesting to capture? Are there really extraordinary moments all around us that we’re just missing? 

To discover this, this book is a must-read.

The book features five sections: SPPP.

You can call it a section, or anything you want to call, but it is a kind of formula to hunt extraordinary moments that are worth capturing.

SPPP stands for Search, Practice, Patience, Predict, and Perfection.

Each chapter in the book describes a different way to bring attention to hidden beauty and create stunning images. 

Extraordinary Everyday Photography is perfect for those who love to photograph wherever they are and take photos of their daily adventures and travels. It will help you see ordinary experiences in a new light and look for ways to make those everyday activities more exciting through photography.

A must-read book for travelers like me.

7. Guide to Posing.

The Photographer’s Guide to Posing is a comprehensive guide to help you pose like the pros.

It gives you insider tips on how to get your subjects looking their best, and thus looking incredible in your photos. It’s written from Lindsay’s experience working as a professional photographer for many years and is full of her personal insight. 

The book is easy to read and go through, while also having a lot of meat to it. In the book, Lindsay covers every kind of pose — from portraits to couples, engagement, babies/kids, business headshots, maternity, etc. 

She draws from her vast experience as a working professional, teaching students at the New York Institute of Photography, and working as a photographer for top industry brands such as Sony and Hasselblad. 

Her writing style is direct, humorous, and full of examples from real-world situations. There’s also a handy chapter on shooting weddings if you want to know how to pose your wedding clients and make them feel successful on your big day.

Here’s a posing secret from the book: Creating an effective pose is a balancing act that takes into account the physical characteristics of both you and your subject.

Here’s another secret of Lindsey: She considers the three most important body parts of posing — the neckline, hips, and hands — and how you pose them to make your subject look their best.

Conclusion.

Learning photography is a journey. It is a voyage that will take years to master.

And while the best photography books are obviously great resources — nothing beats getting out there and shooting lots of photos. The more shots you take, the more perfect you become.

Execution is the real key. Here is a final summary of my top picks:

  1. Understanding Exposure.
  2. The Photographer’s Eye.
  3. Light, Science & Magic.
  4. Studio Anywhere.
  5. The Moment it Clicks.
  6. Extraordinary Everyday Photography.
  7. The Photographers Guide to Posing.

Disclaimer: To keep this website running, I need funds. And to support these, I may receive affiliate compensation from Amazon LLC, if you decide to purchase any book on amazon through checkout links available on this page without any extra cost to you. Read more about my affiliate disclosure here.

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