book suggestions for photographers

book suggestions for photographers

We love photography books here on the Clickin Moms blog and, according to your response to Sarah’s 19 Must Read Books for Photographers, you do too! We thought it would be fun to compile another list of books for photographers that the CM Team particularly loves. Now just to try not to spend too much on Amazon!

book suggestions for photographers

book suggestions for photographers
*image by Jodi Arego

The Artist’s Way by Julia CameronThe Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
This best-selling book of essays and assignments is an inspirational read for anyone who has struggled with creative blocks or gotten into an artistic rut. Though not specifically geared to photography, Julia Cameron’s series of Artist’s Way books are lyrical musings on the artistic life geared to help artists overcome the many mental and lifestyle obstacles that can come your way. Her books go beyond just inspirational, and provide practical tools to help your daily work flow and uncover your creative path.


Beyond Snapshots by Rachel Devine and Peta MazeyBeyond Snapshots by Rachel Devine and Peta Mazey
Learning how to take your camera off auto mode can be difficult but Rachel and Peta have created a book to help you do so. This book is broken up well into small section and written in a way that is very easy to read and follow. Reading this book will get you started in the right direction to capturing beautiful moments in your life.



Exposure Solutions by Bryan PetersonExposure Solutions by Bryan Peterson
Many of us have read Bryan Peterson’s Understanding Exposure and here he’s back to expand on difficult exposing situations. Throughout the book he discusses the challenges that come with aperture choices, capturing motion, and more and how to get the look you want in those situations.



Fine Art Wedding Photography by Jose Villa and Jeff KentFine Art Wedding Photography by Jose Villa and Jeff Kent
A captivating book full of stunning images created by Jose Villa. In it, he discusses his approach to wedding photography. From his cameras and lenses, to composition and how to use light, he shares how he makes some of his more well-known images. Beautiful imagery aside, the thought processes behind his work make this a great read for any photographer, wedding or otherwise.



Focus on Food Photography for Bloggers by Matt Armendariz Focus on Food Photography for Bloggers by Matt Armendariz
Your camera settings, location, lighting, etc are just as important in food photography as they are when photographing people. Matt is one of the best food photographers out there and this fabulous book is a great way to get inside his head and understand why he does what he does when he shoots.



The Luminous Portrait by Elizabeth MessinaThe Luminous Portrait by Elizabeth Messina
A wonderful discussion on light, covering a range of genres and techniques. Predominantly directed at film shooters, but still very applicable to those shooting in digital. Includes settings for all images.




Personal Best by Elliott ErwittPersonal Best by Elliott Erwitt
This book consists of a collection of photos that Erwitt put together himself of what he considers to be his best work, mostly consisting of photos shot solely for himself and not part of a job. It’s inspiring to see what one of the great photographers calls his best.




A Photographer's Life: 1990-2005 by Annie LeibovitzA Photographer’s Life: 1990-2005 by Annie Leibovitz
A very personal project from Annie Leibovitz. She is open and honest with every aspect of her life – sharing how she’s mixed the documentation of those closest to her along with professional assignments and portraits. This book is packed with honest, emotive and real images from Annie’s collection.



Photographically Speaking by David duCheminPhotographically Speaking by David duChemin
Do you understand why you like a particular image? In this book, duChemin discusses the importance of understanding a photo and why you may like it. With this understanding comes the knowledge to create the images you wish to create by using the elements around you to execute your vision.



Photographing Shadow and Light by Joey LPhotographing Shadow and Light by Joey L
Joey L is a genius when it comes to lighting and the opportunity to learn a few of his methods and thoughts behind an image is inspiring. This book takes us behind the scenes of a few select shoots where Joey discusses his process for the gorgeous images gracing the pages. Particularly inspiring is his work where he used one artificial light source.



The Practice of Contemplative Photography by Andy Karr & Michael WoodThe Practice of Contemplative Photography by Andy Karr & Michael Wood
An inspiring and thought provoking read covering planning and visualization, and also including plenty of visual demonstrations of the techniques that are covered. The option to complete assignments is also there for those that wish to put the information into practice.



Vivian Maier: Street Photographer by John MaloofVivian Maier: Street Photographer by John Maloof
A visually inspiring collection of black and white imagery, documenting the life of Vivian Maier through her lens. Maiers works are presented as full page spreads, with little need for verbal commentary as the images speak for themselves.




The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven PressfieldThe War of Art by Steven Pressfield
“Creative work is…a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.” In this short and powerful book, Steven Pressfield shows us how to identify the inner barriers to creativity, and gives us advice on how to defeat Resistance, the “enemy within” that keeps us from doing our work. If you are in a rut, lacking inspiration, experiencing self-doubt or procrastinating about a project, this
book is the perfect kick in the pants.


A Year of Mornings by Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon BarnesA Year of Mornings by Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes
A Year of Mornings collects 236 images always taken before 10 am without discussion between the two women from this uniquely 21st-century artistic collaboration. The intimacy of these photographs discarded clothing, a view of a snowy day from the window, a tablecloth combined with their striking similarities in color and composition defies the reality of their long-distance collaboration. While clearly kindred spirits, the two women have met in person only once. Their friendship is maintained solely online, sustained by a shared love for moments of serenity, solitude, and peacefulness. The annotated photographs in A Year of Mornings radiate an aura of sweetness and light the promise of a new day.

And there you have it, just a few of our current favorite books!

a giveaway!

Would you like to win a few of the books mentioned above? We have one copy of Focus on Food Photography for Bloggers by Matt Armendariz, The Luminous Portrait by Elizabeth Messina, Photographing Shadow and Light by Joey L, and A Year of Mornings by Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes to give away to one random winner! Simply comment below telling us what your favorite photography or creative book is by next Wednesday, March 13th at noon EST to enter to win. We will announce the winner back here on this post Wednesday afternoon!

giveaway update!

Congratulations to Ruth who said, “Ooooo, I’d love to win one of these!  And my fav creative book (ok actually cookery book but hey) for inspiration is What Katie Ate. The photo’s are just truly stunning.”!  You are the lucky random winner and I will email you on how to obtain your new books!



  • Pam says:

    Film Is Not Dead, Jon Canlas

  • Kelly says:

    My favorite photography books are the ones that were published I think in the ’80s. They were the “Day in the Life” coffee table books where photographers from around the country would photograph the same day. The one I remember most was “Day in the Life of America.” They would have a time line on each page so you knew what time of day the photo was taken. So fascinating to me at the time.

  • Jenn C. says:

    I love anything from Ansel Adams. Classic and still relevant instruction on exposure.

  • Natalia says:

    For me so far the best book is Understanding Exposure, it helped me a lot to master manual settings!

  • April C. says:

    Fine Art Wedding Photography looks like a good read!

  • Cassidy says:

    One book that has helped me out a great deal in getting my business started and learning more about wedding photography is Michelle Turner’s book “The Wedding Photography Field Guide”. I highly recommend it to any aspiring wedding photographers!

  • Colleen says:

    I found this book very helpful in understanding light,

    Chasing the Light: Improving Your Photography with Available Light (Voices That Matter)
    Ibarionex Perello

  • Jodi H says:

    Peterson’s Understanding Exposure was a great book for me.

  • Mike Finding says:

    What an excellent question! YEARS ago I ordered a set of books, still have them, and many of the pictures in them are astounding: Life Library of Photography.

  • Ryann says:

    My favorite so far is Understanding Exposure.

  • Meredith Hepburn says:

    I really can’t say that I have a favorite photography book yet. I love books but since becoming more passionate about my own photography nine months ago, I haven’t read a lot of “books” I have taken classes here, read many breakouts and looked at pictures online. I have read Peterson’s Understanding Exposure and Kelby’s LR and PSE books but these are not books I find inspirational. I love “Click” but that is a magazine however as far as non-digital reading material goes it is my favorite thus far. Thanks for the book share!! I will be taking this list to the library and hoping to win!!!

  • Annie Pronovost says:

    My favorite photo book is Chasing the light: Improving Your Photography with Available Light, by Ibarionex Perello. Wonderful pictures and a source of inspiration!

  • Laura says:

    I have not found a favorite yet. I like to pull helpful information out of every book I read. But I do think I may have to pick up beyond snapshot and the fine art wedding photography.

  • Shelby says:

    Understanding Exposure has helped me so much in getting out of Auto. I find myself going back to it often.

  • The war of art is a great read and helps to get through those creative blocks and fears.

  • Crystal Adams says:

    I don’t really have a favorite right now as I’m just getting into photography as a bona fide hobby. (i have taken a couple classes though.) But I love Ansel Adams. He is a big inspiration to me.

  • Joanne says:

    The Passionate Photographer by Steve Simon is one of my faves.

  • Kim says:

    The FIND guide by Jonathan Canlas opened my eyes to the joy of film.

  • Terri Collins says:

    I also don’t have a favorite, but I recently heard about a book called “Picture, Perfect, Practice” that sounds really interesting. I just put a whole bunch of these on my Amazon wish list! Thanks!

  • kari says:

    I haven’t read to many books yet, but I did enjoy Understanding Exposure…I have been wanting to go through it again.

  • Christina Humphreys says:

    One of my favorite books is The hot shoe diaries by the wonderful,incredible Joe McNally. Thank you for the chance to win!

  • Megha says:

    My favorite book is “India” by Raghu Rai .. He has put together years of work through his journey for over two decades.. It presents the real India

    In this list… Luminous Portrait, Beyond Snapshots and the War of Art are the ones I would love to read :)

  • ‘The Earth from The Air’ – Yann Arthus Bertrand – see the world in a different perspective – wonderful book – Never gets tired of looking in it.

  • My favorite at the moment is Humanity by Geoff Blackwell. Thank you for putting this list together. <3

  • Cyndie says:

    I don’t have a favorite :( clearly I need to win!!! :). Thank-you for this wonderful list!

  • Nolwenn Pugi says:

    Love “The Art of Photography” from Bruce Barbaum and “People Pictures” from Chris Orwig. Very inspiring!

  • Karen Zippler says:

    I have an old Time/Life series on photography which I love, a coffee table book of Helen Levitt which is genius, and The Find Guide was very helpful. I already spend too much money on Amazon so this would be a welcome win :)

  • Donna L says:

    Sally Mann – ‘Immediate Family’

  • Christine Stoehrmann says:

    No favorites yet as I am reading everything I can get my hands on to take timeless pictures that will always be relevant.

  • My favorite photography book is Pure Vegan. Obviously it isn’t really a photography book, it’s a cookbook but the images in it are stunning and food is the hardest thing for me to photgraph so I am in awe of it.

  • Erin W says:

    Understanding Exposure is great, of course, so helpful. This list also looks like it has a lot of winners. I need to bookmark all of these!

  • Marva says:

    Understanding exposure is a great one.

  • There were two books that I learnt so much from. The first one I picked up, when I wanted to get more serious about taking photos of my kids, was Mamarazzi. I couldn’t put that one down! The other one, the one that I learnt SO MUCH from, was Understanding Exposure. I now totally understand why so many people talk about that book.

  • CJ Olson says:

    I have loved various books. The one that I keep going back to is Understanding Exposure….I go back and read it and discover all sorts of different things about photography & my camera as I grow in my photographic journey.

    The book that I am currently reading and really enjoy is The Photographer’s Eye by Michael Freeman.

  • Judy says:

    I love anything by David duChemin. Not only does he have the skills, but his approach to photography is wonderful!

  • Genevieve says:

    My mom Life photography library. I love those book when i took my first photography class in high school. I was shooting with a Canon AE1

  • Bryan Peterson’s Understanding Exposure was amazing.

  • Very nice blog post. I certainly love this site. Thanks!

  • I really enjoy looking through on this internet site, it has great posts. “And all the winds go sighing, For sweet things dying.” by Christina Georgina Rossetti.

  • Lucy K. says:

    Great book recommendations, thank you! I can’t wait to pick a few!

  • Cathy Miller says:

    I own the Artist’s Way and Photographically Speaking-both wonderful books and full of great ideas and inspiration. In addition to the great books that you mentioned, I love Chris Orwig’s book Visual Poetry. Chris has a very approachable style and is a natural teacher. His book makes me want to run out and make pictures! For pure visual pleasure I love Nick Brandt’s On This Earth: Photographs from East Africa. I would love to win The Luminous Portrait or Photographing Shadow and Light. Both look amazing!

  • Jessica Y says:

    My favorite book is The Luminous Portrait by Elizabeth Messina.

  • Bethany Seely says:

    As a huge Audrey fan – one of my favorite books is “Natural Enlightenment Photography” Lots of eye candy for me.

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