Gear Bag

photo technique / technical reference / the big photography list
kayaking / birding / popular picks

Books on Photography / Portraiture / Lighting / How-To Videos

At one point or other I have owned the books listed below and have found great value in each. Occasionally, I list some of my volumes on the classifieds page to open up some living space!

digital darkroom / lighting / b & W / special techniques / interiors / mounting & framing / photo business / nature photography / portraiture / photojournalism / zone system / national geo / kodak guides / assisting / hardware / design & print / portfolios & essays

Digital Darkroom

  • The Adobe Photoshop CS3 Book for Digital Photographers -- Another Kelby classic.
  • Adobe Photoshop CS3 Classroom in a Book -- Adobe's lesson-based book. I really like the real-world applications instead of straight how-to's.
  • Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Photographers: A Professional Image Editor's Guide to the Creative use of Photoshop -- Martin Evening's PS CS3 bible! Great DVD included with tons of tutorials.
  • Photoshop 7 Artistry: Mastering the Digital Image -- A big honker with CD ROM, and well worth the price.
  • Adobe Photoshop 7.0 Classroom in a Book
  • Photoshop Restoration and Retouching
  • Adobe Photoshop 7.0 for Photographers, First Edition
  • Everything Photoshop


  • The Lighting Cookbook: Foolproof Recipes for Perfect Glamour, Portrait, Still Life, and Corporate P
  • Light-Science & Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  • Creative Lighting Techniques for Studio Photographers
  • Basic Studio Lighting: Photographer's Complete Guide to Professional Techniques
  • Lighting for Glamour

    Black and White Photography

  • Black and White Photography: A Basic Manual
  • Creative Black-And-White Photography: Advanced Camera and Darkroom Techniques
  • Mastering Black-And-White Photography: From Camera to Darkroom
  • A Short Course in Photography: An Introduction to Black and White Photographic Technique (4th Edition)

    Special Techniques

  • Basic Photographic Materials and Processes, Second Edition
  • Infrared Photography Handbook
  • The Complete Guide to Close Up & Macro Photography
  • The Complete Guide to Night and Low-Light Photography
  • The New Darkroom Handbook: A Complete Guide to the Best Design, Construction, and Equipment
  • The Permanence and Care of Color Photographs: Traditional and Digital Color Prints, Color Negatives, Slides, and Motion Pictures

    Photographing Interiors

  • How to Photograph Buildings and Interiors
  • Professional Interior Photography

    Mounting and Framing

  • Home Book of Picture Framing
  • Picture Framing (Library of Professional Picture Framing, Volume 1)
  • Mat Cutting & Decoration (Library of Professional Picture Framing, Volume 2)
  • How to Make Your Own Picture Frames

    On the Business Side

  • ASMP : Professional Business Practices in Photography -- Buy this book if you ever plan on selling one of your images.
  • The Photographer's Guide to Marketing and Self-Promotion
  • Wedding Photography: Art, Business, and Style -- Steve Sint; Probably the only complete guide to wedding photography available; from business to developing a personal repertoire, written by a truly artistic wedding shooter. Well worth the money.
  • 2003 Photographer's Market: 2,000+ Places to Sell Your Photography
  • How to Operate a Successful Photo Portrait Studio
  • How to Start a Home-Based Photography Business, 4th

    Nature Photography

  • The Art of Bird Photography : The Complete Guide to Professional Field Techniques -- A must have if you are considering photographing birds.
  • John Shaw's Landscape Photography -- Your landscapes will improve ten-fold after reading this book. Describes the often over-looked details in making stuning landscapes.
  • John Shaw's Closeups in Nature
  • John Shaw's Focus on Nature
  • John Shaw's Nature Photography Field Guide
  • Galen Rowell's Inner Game of Outdoor Photography
  • Nature Photographer's Complete Guide to Professional Field Techniques
  • Creative Outdoor Photography - Part 1
  • Creative Outdoor Photography - Part 2


  • Corrective Lighting and Posing Techniques for Portrait Photographers
  • Master Posing Guide for Portrait Photographers
  • The Pro Lighting Series - Portraits
  • Professional Secrets of Natural Light Portrait Photography
  • Posing and Lighting Techniques for Studio Portrait Photography
  • Studio Portrait Photography of Children and Babies
  • The Art and Business of High School Senior Portrait Photography
  • Group Portrait Photography Handbook
  • Lighting Techniques for High Key Portrait Photography
  • Photographing Children in Black & White
  • Professional Secrets of Nude and Beauty Photography
  • Portrait Photographer's Handbook
  • Professional Secrets for Photographing Children
  • Outdoor and Location Portrait Photography


  • Photojournalism: The Professionals' Approach - My personal favorite.
  • Witness in Our Time: Working Lives of Documentary Photographers
  • Magnum: Fifty Years at the Front Line of History
  • Associated Press Guide to Photojournalism
  • Shutterbabe: Adventures in Love and War
  • The Photojournalist's Guide to Making Money

    The Zone System and Exposure Technique

  • The Practical Zone System -- You want to learn the zone? Don't want to re-live calculus? This book is a treasure.
  • The Zone System for 35Mm Photographers: A Basic Guide to Exposure Control
  • The Confused Photographer's Guide to Photographic Exposure and the Simplified Zone System
  • Understanding Exposure
  • Kodak Gray Cards

    National Geographic Guides

  • National Geographic Photography Field Guide: Landscapes
  • National Geographic Photography Field Guide: People and Portraits
  • National Geographic Photography Field Guide: Secrets to Making Great Pictures

    Kodak Guides

  • Kodak Professional Photoguide (6th edition)
  • Existing Light Photography
  • Using Filters
  • Studio & Commercial Photography
  • Copying and Duplicating: Photographic and Digital Imaging Techniques
  • Kodak Guide to 35mm Photography: Techniques for Better Pictures
  • Kodak Pocket Guide to 35mm Photography

    Photo Assisting

  • The Photographer's Assistant Handbook -- It is the most comprehensive book on the subject I've seen.

    Hardware Specific Guides

  • The Hasselblad Manual, Fifth Edition
  • The Nikon Flash Guide : The Definitive Speedlight Reference
  • Using the View Camera
  • View Camera Technique, Seventh Edition
  • The Medium Format Advantage, Second Edition
  • Magic Lantern Guides - Canon Eos Elan 7/7E, Eos 30/30E
  • Magic Lantern Guides - Nikon N80/F80
  • Magic Lantern Guides - Nikon N65/F65
  • Magic Lantern Guides - Nikon F100
  • More Magic Lantern Guides

    Image Design and Print

  • Designing a Photograph: Visual Techniques for Making Your Photographs Work
  • Learning to See Creatively
  • Photography and the Art of Seeing
  • Non-Designer's Scan & Print Book

    Photo Essays / Portfolios
    Two books that I think are remarkable are
    Tribes and Rhythms from the Wild by Art Wolfe. Both have over 120 images that will bring you to exotic places and sites we may never experience ourselves. I've been an Art Wolfe fan for years, and these are my favorites of his work. Art has an impressive web site you should see.

  • The Photo Book - an amazing collection of 500 photographers' images that span the lifetime of photography.
  • William Eggleston's Guide
  • Henri Cartier-Bresson and the Artless Art
  • Mary Ellen Mark: American Odyssey, 1963-1999
  • Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs
  • The Phaidon 55 series - portfolios by 20 different photographers; 55 shots each. A neat, very affordable approach to highlighting these photogs' work. Insightful commentary on many of the shots are provided by "celebrity" photo editors and photographers.

    photo technique / technical reference / the big photography list
    kayaking / birding / popular picks

  • Looking for something else? Try searching for even more titles:

    Books Music Enter keywords... logo