Photography Books For A Great Summer Read

August gives us one more month of summertime! What better way to chill out than spending a lazy afternoon at the beach or poolside with a great photography book.

Here are some of our favorites. Whether you’re an amateur or professional, photograph people or landscapes, we hope you find some of these books helpful and even inspiring.

We’d love to know the titles of some of your favorite photography books as well, please share in the comments section below.

Happy reading!

Photography book

Chasing Light: An Exploration of the American Landscape

By Frank Lee Ruggles. Published by Four Winds Trading
Chasing Light is a testament to the beauty and wonder of our national parks. It is also the story of National Parks Eminent Photographer Frank Lee Ruggles. Frank has traveled to all 50 states, hiked over 15,000 miles, venturing off the grid, disappearing into pristine wilderness for days at a time, capturing the unseen wonder of America with nothing but 42 lbs. of camera gear on his back. This collection represents the last decade of Frank’s photographic works, 256 pages of photos and stories from his time in the back-country…a poetic look at America’s National Parks.
Frank will be visiting REI in Rockville on 9/18 and in DC on 9/22 & 23. Don’t miss the chance to meet Frank and get your book signed!
Photography book

Night Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots

By Gabriel Biderman and Tim Cooper. Published by Peachpit Press.
Are you a night owl looking to make stunning images of streetscapes, fireworks, or the night sky? Do you like to bend time with long exposure photography? Do star trails or lightning strikes inspire you? Then this book is for you!

Covering the basics of digital night photography—exposure, composition, and light—and how to scout and capture different nocturnal locations once the sun goes down, this book will help you understand the fundamentals and bring your unique artistic expression to any night situation.

Light, Gesture & Color

By Jay Maisel. Published by New RidersPhotography Book
Jay Maisel, hailed as one of the most brilliant, gifted photographers of all time, is much more than that. He is a mentor, teacher, and trailblazer to many photographers, and a hero to those who feel Jay’s teaching has changed the way they see and create their own photography. Jay puts his amazing insights and learning moments from a lifetime behind the lens into a book that communicates the three most important aspects of street photography: light, gesture, and color. Each page unveils something new and challenges you to rethink everything you know about the bigger picture of photography. This isn’t a book about f-stops or ISOs. It’s about seeing. It’s about being surrounded by the ordinary and learning how to find the extraordinary. It’s about training your mind, and your eyes, to see and capture the world in a way that delights, engages, and captivates your viewers, and there is nobody that communicates this, visually or through the written word, like Jay Maisel.

Photography book

50 Photo Projects - Ideas to Kickstart Your Photography

By Lee Frost. Published by David & Charles
Whether you want to get more from your DSLR or are simply looking for new creative avenues to explore, 50 Photo Projects shows you how to break out of your comfort zone and try something new.

Packed with invaluable tips on how to create stunning photographs, Lee Frost provides the bright ideas that will reinvigorate your photography, from inspiration on what to photograph, to inventive projects with vintage, pinhole and toy cameras.

Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera (Fourth Edition)

By Bryan Peterson.  Published by Amphoto Books
Understanding Exposure has taught generations of photographers how to shoot the images they want by demystifying the complex concepts of exposure in photography. In this newly updated edition, veteran photographer Bryan Peterson explains the fundamentals of light, aperture, and shutter speed and how they interact with and influence one another. With an emphasis on finding the right exposure even in tricky situations, Understanding Exposure shows you how to get (or lose) sharpness and contrast in images, freeze action, and take the best meter readings, while also exploring filters, flash, and light.

With all new images, as well as an expanded section on flash, tips for using colored gels, and advice on shooting star trails, this revised edition will clarify exposure for photographers of all levels.
Photography book

Learning to See Creatively

By Bryan Peterson. Published by Amphoto Books
Fully revised with all new photography, this best-selling guide takes a radical approach to creativity by explaining that it is not an inherent ability but a skill that can be learned and applied. Using inventive photos from his own stunning portfolio, author and veteran photographer Bryan Peterson deconstructs creativity for photographers. He details the basic techniques that go into not only taking a particular photo, but also provides insights on how to improve upon it—helping readers avoid the visual pitfalls and technical dead ends that can lead to dull, uninventive photographs.

The Photographer’s Guide to Posing: Techniques to Flatter Everyone

Posing Lindsay dler Photography bookBy Lindsay Adler. Published by Rocky Nook
In the The Photographer’s Guide to Posing, Lindsay discusses how the camera sees, and thus how camera angle, lens choice, and perspective all affect the appearance of your subject. Lindsay then covers the five most important things that ruin a pose―such as placement of the hands, and your subject’s expression and posture. If you can look out for and avoid these five things, your skills (and your images) will quickly improve. Next, Lindsay dives into “posing essentials,” outlining her approach to start with a “base pose,” then build on that to create endless posing opportunities. She also discusses posing the face―with specific sections dedicated to the chin, jaw, eyes, and forehead―as well as posing hands. Lindsay dedicates entire chapters to posing specific subject matter: women, men, couples, curvy women, families and small groups, and large groups. She addresses how to train the eye to determine the best pose for your subject(s) and how to analyze a pose so that you can create endless posing opportunities and continuously improve your work.

Joe McNally Photography book

The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes

By Joe McNally. Published by New Riders
In The Hot Shoe Diaries, Joe brings you behind the scenes to candidly share his lighting solutions for a ton of great images. Using Nikon Speedlights, Joe lets you in on his uncensored thought process—often funny, sometimes serious, always fascinating—to demonstrate how he makes his pictures with these small flashes. Whether he’s photographing a gymnast on the Great Wall, an alligator in a swamp, or a fire truck careening through Times Square, Joe uses these flashes to create great light that makes his pictures sing.

photography book

Speedliter’s Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites

By Syl Arena. Published by Peach Pit Press
For those new to flash photography—or for anyone who has previously given up out of frustration—Speedliter’s Handbook, Second Edition, is a revelation. Follow along as photographer Syl Arena takes you on a journey that begins with an exploration of light and color, moves through a comprehensive discussion of the Canon Speedlite family and all of the accessories and equipment available to the Speedliter, and finally, explores crafting great light in one photo shoot after another. Whether you want to make a classic portrait, photograph a group, capture an important event, or create dramatic color effects in your images, Speedliter’s Handbook shows you how.

Note: The descriptions listed with the books are provided by the publisher.

Don’t forget to share some of your favorite books with us, just list the title and author in the comments section below… and thanks for sharing!


  1. Admin says:

    Marie, here’s my test comment

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