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Best Photography Books [2021 Review]

Published: 22/06/2021

There is a significant change in real estate photography over the years, with evolving concepts and creative techniques. Even with modern technology, there is nothing like books when it comes to improving photography skills. This review provides you with the best photography books to inspire you and give you a fresh photography perspective.

Our Top Photography Books Reviews

Regardless of your photography experience, there are always new photography concepts and ideas to learn. In the below list, we focus on the best photography books that will help you develop a new approach to real estate photography.

Brand
Best Overall
Magnum Contact Sheets by Kristen Lubben
Best for the Money
Picture Perfect Practice by Roberto Valenzuela
Best Cheap Pick
Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs by Henry Carroll
Product
Magnum Contact Sheets
Picture Perfect Practice: A Self-Training Guide to...
Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs
Print length
524 pages
312 pages
128 pages
Special Features
Features 139 contact sheets from 69 photographers
With practice exercises to strengthen your photographic abilities
Ideal for shooters using DSLR, compact system and bridge cameras
Rating
Best Overall
Brand
Magnum Contact Sheets by Kristen Lubben
Product
Magnum Contact Sheets
Print length
524 pages
Special Features
Features 139 contact sheets from 69 photographers
Rating
Price
Best for the Money
Brand
Picture Perfect Practice by Roberto Valenzuela
Product
Picture Perfect Practice: A Self-Training Guide to...
Print length
312 pages
Special Features
With practice exercises to strengthen your photographic abilities
Rating
Price
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs by Henry Carroll
Product
Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs
Print length
128 pages
Special Features
Ideal for shooters using DSLR, compact system and bridge cameras
Rating
Price

Here's a quick recap of our top recommended photography books listed in this article. In this table, we've also included an overview of their top features.

BookPublicaton YearPagesFormat
Magnum Contact Sheets by Kristen Lubben2017524Paperback, Hardcover
Picture Perfect Practice by Roberto Valenzuela 2012312Paperback, Kindle
Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs by Henry Carrol2014128Paperback, Kindle
On Photography by Susan Sontag 2001224Paperback, Kindle, Hardcover
Photographer's Guide to Posing by Lindsay2017448Paperback, Kindle
Negative by Ansel Adams1995288Paperback, Kindle
The Dramatic Portrait by Chris Knight2017240Paperback, Kindle
Essence of Photography by Bruce Barnhaum2014307Paperback, Kindle
Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson2016176Paperback, eTextbook
Extraordinary Everyday Photography by Brenda Tharp & Jed Manwaring2012160Paperback, eTextbook

Best Overall Photography Book: Magnum Contact Sheets by Kristen Lubben

If you want to shoot excellent images, it will help if you read the Magnum Contact Sheets by Kristen Lubben. It breaks down the capturing of many widely-recognized images, explaining in detail the involving strategies.

Magnum Contact Sheets

It digs deep into photography to a point you will understand what the photographer who captured the image had in mind, unlike On Photography by Susan Sontag. It shows how photographers capture their images, in a way that’s easily understandable by anyone. 

Unlike other photographing books in our list, we love how it covers the various photographing processes the top photographers use.

Pros

  • It breaks down the process of shooting
  • It provides insights from the best photographers
  • It helps in analyzing the photograph background

Cons

  • It doesn’t explain posing unlike Photographer's Guide to Posing by Lindsay
  • It doesn’t show any photography impact unlike On Photography by Susan Sontag
Sale
Magnum Contact Sheets
  • Thames & Hudson Ltd
  • Lubben, Kristen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Best Photography Book for the Money: Picture Perfect Practice by Roberto Valenzuela

Picture Perfect Practice by Roberto Valenzuela is the ideal book for real estate photographers who want to shoot images in any lighting condition, location, gear, or subject. Unlike Photographer's Guide to Posing by Lindsay, it helps photographers create stunning images with a timeless impact. 

Picture Perfect Practice: A Self-Training Guide to...

This book approaches photography from an artistic or creative point of view. It helps understand the geometry of the scene you are photographing. 

Unlike The Dramatic Portrait by Chris Knight, it explains how to minimize the background clutter using simple structures with compositional elements, enhancing picture balance.

Pros

  • It gives insights on real estate photography
  • It explains photography from the artistic side unlike Photographer's Guide to Posing by Lindsay
  • It shows how to unlock photography opportunities

Cons

  • Unlike On Photography by Susan Sontag, it doesn’t show any photography impact
  • It doesn’t show posing techniques 
Picture Perfect Practice: A Self-Training Guide to...
  • Valenzuela, Roberto (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 312 Pages - 02/17/2012 (Publication Date) - New Riders (Publisher)

Best Cheap Photography Book: Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs by Henry Carroll

If books full of diagrams, technical jargon, and graphs intimidate you, consider Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs by Henry Carroll

Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs

Like the Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson, it covers five critical aspects of photography, including composition, light, lenses, seeing, and exposure. 

It uses iconic images and hands-on tips to demonstrate to the readers how to achieve outstanding shots practically and straightforwardly.

For instance, this book will help you shoot stunning portraits and landscapes without the need to purchase another book, unlike The Negative by Ansel Adams which features landscapes only.

Pros

  • It’s simple even for beginners
  • It explains the critical things in photography
  • Its comprehensive unlike The Negative by Ansel Adams

Cons

  • Unlike Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson, it doesn’t explain exposure
  • It doesn’t show the artistic side of photography
Sale
Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs
  • Laurence King
  • Carroll, Henry (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Best Book On the Impact of Photography: On Photography by Susan Sontag

On Photography by Susan Sontag is an outstanding book that explores the idea of how photographs have improved our access to knowledge, and how we understand foreign lands and history. 

On Photography

It's written by an American writer who had many years of experience in filmmaking. She was also a political activist and philosopher, enhancing her ability to inspire. 

It emphasizes the positive impact of photography on the world, unlike the Picture Perfect Practice by Roberto Valenzuela.  

She explains through philosophical reasoning how photography influences society and the overall human life, like The Dramatic Portrait by Chris Knight.

Pros

  • It uses impressive philosophical reasoning
  • It explains the importance of photography unlike The Dramatic Portrait by Chris Knight
  • It explains the impact of photography

Cons

  • No images in the book without text
  • It doesn’t include posing techniques
Sale
On Photography
  • Picador USA
  • Sontag, Susan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Best Posing Photography Book: The Photographer's Guide to Posing by Lindsay Adler

Lindsay, the book author, is one of the ten best fashion photographers globally, and reading her book, Photographer's Guide to Posing by Lindsay - will definitely inspire you. 

The Photographer's Guide to Posing: Techniques to...

Unlike Essence of Photography by Bruce Barnhaum, the author shares her extensive experience and ideas when it comes to posing for photographs. She highlights essential tips and tricks on developing flattering poses. 

Unlike Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson, she opts to detail the process behind poses rather than offering page after page of her preferred poses. 

This book is full of resources that will help you examine a situation and generate the most flattering pose.

Pros

  • It explains posing techniques
  • It gives the editorial knowledge
  • It contains the best of effective poses

Cons

  • Unlike the Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson, it doesn’t explain exposure
  • It doesn’t feature artistic photography
Sale
The Photographer's Guide to Posing: Techniques to...
  • Rocky Nook
  • Adler, Lindsay (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Best Landscape Photography Book: The Negative by Ansel Adams

The Negative by Ansel Adams is a definitive masterpiece by Ansel Adams, the famous landscape photographer famous for some of the most widely-recognized landscape photos in the 20th century. 

The Negative (Ansel Adams Photography)

This book explains the secrets of his photography success. Particularly in this book, he explains his zone system of exposure, like the Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. 

Unlike The Dramatic Portrait by Chris Knight, he excelled more in landscape photography, it's crucial to understand the secrets behind impressive landscape photos if you are a landscape or architectural photographer. Also, if you have a particular affinity for white and black, you can't go wrong with this book.

Pros

  • It explain in landscape photography in details
  • It shows the importance of exposure

Cons

  • It has no posing techniques, unlike Photographer's Guide to Posing by Lindsay
  • It doesn’t show the impact of photography
The Negative (Ansel Adams Photography)
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Adams, Ansel (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Best Portrait Photography Book: The Dramatic Portrait by Chris Knight

If you plan to capture perfect portraits, then get a copy of The Dramatic Portrait by Chris Knight. After learning and understanding the photographic lighting theory, it is high time to learn how to apply it correctly. 

The Dramatic Portrait: The Art of Crafting Light...

In this book, you will learn how light and shadow work together to produce impressive photographs in portrait photography, unlike the Negative by Ansel Adams. He delivers the information with humor, making it easily digestible even by beginners. 

Also, he offers practical information in a simplified manner. He makes it understandable even by photographers challenged by technical explanations, unlike Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson.

Pros

  • It’s full of humor, making it enjoyable to read
  • It explains in details portrait tricks

Cons

  • Unlike Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson, it doesn’t explain exposure
  • It doesn’t explain the artistic side of photography
The Dramatic Portrait: The Art of Crafting Light...
  • Knight, Chris (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 07/13/2017 (Publication Date) - Rocky Nook (Publisher)

Best Artistic Photography Book: The Essence of Photography by Bruce Barnbaum

The Essence of Photography by Bruce Barnhaum is an excellent book featuring how to excel in photography, fine art, or editorial work. 

The Essence of Photography: Seeing and Creativity

Unlike other photography books in our list that focus more on the technical part of photography such as aperture and exposure, this book focuses on the less practical side of it. It highlights the tools you need to capture more impactful shots. 

It will transform you from a photographer who only records moments to a photographer who makes personal artistic statements, like the Extraordinary Everyday Photography by Brenda Tharp & Jed Manwaring. It helps you capture images that can express your feelings to the viewers.

Pros

  • Unlike other books in our list, it focuses on photography tools
  • It elaborates great scene analysis

Cons

  • Unlike Photographer's Guide to Posing by Lindsay, it doesn’t show posing techniques
  • It doesn’t feature posing tricks
Sale
The Essence of Photography: Seeing and Creativity
  • Barnbaum, Bruce (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 196 Pages - 11/20/2014 (Publication Date) - Rocky Nook (Publisher)

Best Photography Concepts Book: Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson

If you want to demystify the sophisticated exposure concepts in photography, then Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson is the book for you. It explains the basics of shutter speed, exposure and aperture and how they work together. 

Understanding Exposure, Fourth Edition: How to...

Unlike the Photographer's Guide to Posing by Lindsay, it mainly emphasizes how to find the correct exposure, especially in tricky conditions. 

It will provide you with tips for an expanded section on flash, utilizing the colored gels and shooting star trails. 

Unlike the other book in our list, it comes with specific instructions on shooting under challenging situations.

Pros

  • It discusses exposure in details for quality images
  • It expands other aspects of capturing to enhance image quality

Cons

  • Unlike Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs by Henry Carroll, it’s not simple to digest
  • It doesn’t feature the artistic side of photography
Sale
Understanding Exposure, Fourth Edition: How to...
  • Watson-Guptill Publications
  • Peterson, Bryan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Best Creative Photography Book: Extraordinary Everyday Photography by Brenda Tharp & Jed Manwaring

The Extraordinary Everyday Photography by Brenda Tharp & Jed Manwaring is ideal if your photographing plan is to search beyond the surface. 

Extraordinary Everyday Photography: Awaken Your...

Unlike Magnum Contact Sheets by Kristen Lubben, it emphasizes the need to open your eyes without haste and respond to what you can see to capture compelling shots. 

It helps the photographer's eye develop a creative vision for a stunning image, rather than depending on the gear.

It's about improving the artistic version of yourself, like the Essence of Photography by Bruce Barnhaum. It concentrates on the picture composition for impressive shots.

Pros

  • It features inspiring images
  • It explains how to use creative vision for quality shots
  • It gives insights on picture elements

Cons

  • Unlike Essence of Photography by Bruce Barnhaum , it doesn’t feature artistic photography
  • It doesn’t explain the impact of photography
Extraordinary Everyday Photography: Awaken Your...
  • Amphoto Books
  • Tharp, Brenda (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
Vintage camera on top of photography books

Conclusion

There are many photography books in the market, choosing one that fits your needs might be challenging. Different photography books feature varying concepts, ideas, and projects. Some are intended for beginners, and others for professional photographers. However, you can't go wrong picking any book from the above list. 

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