15 Best Books for Professional Photographers


As a professional photographer, it’s important to be well-versed in every aspect of photography. You may find that you lean towards a specific style or category, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to be exposed to other forms of photography. Reading photography books is one way to become exposed to all different styles and viewpoints. We have created a comprehensive list of photography books that will be helpful in your search to become the best professional photographer you can be. Most of these books have been written by professional photographers themselves…so what are you waiting for? Start reading!


1. Within the Frame by David duChemin

Read as David duChemin creates an instructional, inspirational journey on how to create an emotional experience with great photography.

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2. Visual Poetry by Chris Orwig

This guide to visual poetry will help provide inspiration to boost your creativity and improve your overall talent with simple techniques. Read as Orwig teaches the everyday photographer to reduce and simplify.

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3. Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson

Find the answers and explanations to the complex concepts of exposure in Peterson’s Understanding Exposure. Learn how to stray away from “auto” and utilize current technologies to take the pictures you really want.

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4. The Moment it Clicks by Joe MacNally

Read as Joe Macnally teaches concepts through his “triangle of learning.” First, there is the concept simply stated, and then there are visual images which perfectly illustrate the technique. Continue reading for the inside knowledge that comes with a certain technique.

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5. The Photographers Eye by Michael Freeman

Freeman discusses the exciting new aspects of digital photography and the effects on how photographers can take pictures that are effective with compelling composition and design elements.

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6. Waiting For The Light by David Noton

Waiting for the Light showcases the very best of David Norton’s portfolio while also offering both amateurs and professionals techniques and acceptable equipment to use in their own work.

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7. On Photography by Susan Sontag

Winner of the National Book Critics’ Circle Award for Criticism, Susan Sontag offers a progress of essays that help describe her views on the meaning and career of photographs.

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8. Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes

Published in 1970, Barthes presents the idea of photography as an act that is outside the codes of language or culture. Be moved by one of the most important groundbreaking theorists in photography.

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9. The Mind’s Eye: Writings on Photography and Photographers by Henri Cartier-Bresson

Read through Henri Cartier-Bresson’s unforgettable writings on photography and photographers including his famous text on “the decisive moment.”

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10. The Nature of Photographs by Stephen Shore

Stephen Shore describes ways of understanding photographs and offers something for anyone looking to take better pictures.

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11. Image Makers, Image Takers by Anne-Celine Jaeger

Enjoy this collective guide to the best working practices, processes and postproduction from established photographers in different fields across the arts.

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12. Looking at Photographs by John Szarkowski

This collective work written the Museum of Modern Art photography curator, John Szarkowski, provides a survey of The Museum of Modern Art’s photography collection. It’s a wonderful picture book meant to inspire.

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13. Slightly Out of Focus by Robert Capa

Called “the century’s greatest battlefield photographer,” Robert Capa describes his terrifying journey through the darkest battles of World War II and shares his memories for a captivating read.

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14. Tao of Photography: Seeing Beyond Seeing by Philippe L. Gross and S.I. Shapiro

Become exposed to the instructional text and enlightening exercises which assure that all photographers will be able to incorporate the lessons of the Tao into their own work.

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As you read through these important pieces of photography knowledge, take the learnings and apply them to your own work. You will be amazed at how your photography skills will change and grow through reading books from famous photographers.

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