The best photography books in 2022

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One of the great things about the art of photography is that if you want to engage in it, it can be as simple or as sophisticated as you want. You can get a basic, fast-shooting camera, or you can invest in high-end professional gear and the best photography books. And if you care more about the end product than the process, you can study composition, technique, and history…or you can just appreciate a pretty picture. It is an egalitarian art form in many ways, and it transcends language, place and context.

So if you’re looking to encourage someone’s interest or spark a new one, a photography book can be a great gift, whether it’s a collection of works by a famous photographer, a thematic book of similar photographs or even an instruction manual. to inspire a budding hobbyist, there is a wide range of books to choose from. Here are our suggestions for the best coffee table books on photography.

The big picture on photography books

The basic concepts behind photography date back centuries. The ancestors of the camera – both camera obscura and pinhole camera – go back to the ancient Greeks and Chinese. The Chinese philosopher Mozi, who lived in the Han dynasty (between 468 and 391 BC), was the first to write down the principles of a natural optical phenomenon where an image on one side of a wall (or screen) is projected through a hole. on a surface opposite the aperture, where the resulting image is upside down. Camera obscura, a term coined in the 16th century, also refers to a box, tent, or room set up for such projections.

But in the 17th century, German author Johann Zahn, an expert on light, wrote extensively about the camera obscura, the magic lantern, telescopes, and lenses. In 1685 he came up with a design for the first portable reflex camera, but it took another 150 years before his invention became a reality.

Photographic societies, whose members were both professionals and amateurs, began to form in the middle of the 19th century, giving rise to the consideration of photography as an aesthetic medium. In 1853, the Photographic Society, mother of the current Royal Photographic Society, was established in London, and the following year the French Society of Photography was founded in Paris. Towards the end of the 19th century, similar societies also began to form in other countries. Along with these organizations, journals promoting photography as an art also appeared. Photography is something of a self-documenting history, so if you’re looking for coffee table books, the best photo books have plenty of options.

Related: Are you just starting out? Read our pick of the best DSLRs for beginners

Inspire someone in the blink of an eye with a photography book

Whatever the art form in question – painting, sculpture, cinema, etc. – those who really like it always come back to appreciate the work of great masters or even forgotten by the medium. When it comes to photography, the list of big names is long, distinguished, and incredibly varied, so it’s hard to say there’s a definitive book that “everyone” must have.

That said, there are some things you can look for to narrow down your search for the best photo books. For example, does the book focus entirely on the photos themselves? Is it rather a biography with intermittent photos? Is it a celebration of the work of a specific artist, or a collection of an era, movement or peer group? Much of the decision-making depends on who you’re buying the book for and their interests, so think carefully about what might interest them most when selecting the best photography books.

Best photography books for inspiration: Behind the Camera: The Creative Techniques of 100 Great Photographers

Featuring the work of great photographers such as Julia Margaret Cameron, Joel Meyerowitz, Nan Goldin, Weegee, Man Ray, Robert Capa and others, this book not only celebrates their creative work, but distills the lessons of each piece that photography entails. grass can integrate. his practice. Part coffee table book, part manual, it’s a great place to start or return to for ideas.

Seek and you viewfinder

There are, of course, times when someone in your life may be looking for more than inspiration. They may be looking to turn their enthusiasm into practice and may want a more concrete tactics book that will give them tips, tricks, and instructions. For people wanting to learn photography, you’ll need to consider their level of familiarity, the likelihood of them investing heavily in equipment, and whether they’re just looking to improve their day-to-day shots or pursue something. something more professional or artistic.

The best photography books for beginners: Read this if you want to take great photos of people

The title says it all. Focusing on portrait photography and drawing on the works of masters like Richard Avedon, William Klein, Cindy Sherman and others, the book speaks clearly about the art form, with an emphasis on real dishes takeaway for those looking to learn photography.

Work for (food photography) tips

While anyone can (and apparently everyone does) take an Instagram photo of their lunch, there’s a whole professional discipline around food photography. If you’re looking for the best photo books to inspire a budding culinary visual artist, you can find options that focus solely on making dishes as stunning as possible. This could be a big help for someone who may be looking to start their own online business, or do more to promote their existing restaurant, or just as a way to bring out those shared recipes.

The best food photography advice books will have plenty of examples, but will also contain tactical tips and techniques so they can be referenced time and time again. Soon they’ll be mastering the perfect mouth-watering drip of syrup, a refreshing lemon squirt, and a plate of steaming vegetables.

Best food photography books: The Food Stylist’s Handbook

Denise Vivaldo, Cindie Flannigan


As the title suggests, this is a food photography tips manual designed to give the reader practical advice on capturing delicious images. Featuring advice from renowned photographers from the worlds of advertising and food, “The Food Stylist’s Handbook: Hundreds of Media Styling Tips, Tricks, and Secrets for Chefs, Artists, Bloggers, and Food Lovers” is something a food photographer will seek out again and again as they perfect their craft.

You have cheap photo expertise in your pocket

Fortunately, an interest in photography no longer has to be a cost-prohibitive endeavor. Thanks to high-resolution digital cameras on smartphones, a person can try and find their eye without having to invest a ton in film, development costs, and equipment. There’s also more room for trial and error, as bad shots can be easily deleted or even edited as you go.

Access to information and advice is just as easy to find, with many resources available that are not expensive or otherwise exclusive. You can find plenty of options in the $20 range if you’re looking for an inspirational gift for a new photographer.

Best budget photography books: Complete digital photography course

At around $20, the “Complete Digital Photography Course: Learn Everything You Need to Know in 20 Weeks” contains a lot of useful information for a reasonable investment. The best part is that it’s aimed at the digital photographer (obviously) so anyone with a smartphone can pick it up and start applying techniques without having to buy any new equipment. An excellent and reasonably priced starting point among the best books on photography.


Q: What type of photography is most in demand?

Portrait and family photography is probably the most common type of freelance photography. This type of photography is constantly in demand, as families grow and change over the year – think births, milestones (graduations, etc.) and other excuses to take a portrait again and again formal family.

Q: Who is the #1 photographer in the world?

It’s a subjective question, but many agree that British photographer Jimmy Nelson is one of the most popular and in-demand photographers in the world today. If you’re just talking about name recognition, most people would suggest that Ansel Adams is the most recognizable in the business.

Q: How can I start photography?

The easiest way is to familiarize yourself with the gear from top to bottom (digital camera vs film camera, for example), watch tutorials on the topics that interest you most (portrait photography vs nature photography, for example ), then go out and engage in simple trial and error. Oh, and grab some of the best books on photography!

Related: Here’s a list of even more books every photographer should own

The Final Word on Choosing the Best Photography Books

Photography is a widely loved art form and thanks to digital technology, it has become increasingly accessible to more people. Budding photographers have a much easier way to test the waters and find their style without the burden of film development costs or expensive equipment. There are also overwhelming resources both online and in books to guide them in their photography learning, so grab one of the best coffee table books from our selection and start their journey.

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