Monday, January 17, 2011

My Photography Bookshelf

Thought that I would share the books that I keep around that help me in my photography business.  Some are reference, some are for inspiration and others are for running/starting the business.

I've categorized them somewhat and will provide links to them on Amazon when available.

Read on after the break...

Starting Out/Learning The Basics:

Mastering The Basics of Photography by Susan McCartney
I liked this book when I first started because the author talks to you and explains concepts in plain English as well as provides some "skill-building self assignments".

The Basic Book of Photography by Tom and Michele Grim
This book covers a little bit of everything.  This is good to get, but is a little heady.

Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson
Everyone I know recommends and has read this book.  For good reason.  It is a great book and between it and actually practicing what you are learning, it will help you understand what makes up exposure and how to work with it.

LIFE Guide to Digital Photography by Joe McNally
OK, you'll learn pretty fast if you know me that I think that Joe McNally is pretty much where it's at right now.  The best thing about Joe?  It's not his photographs, which are just amazing - but his love of teaching and wanting to give back to the photographic community.  In this book, Joe gives his perspective on photography in general and some tips on making your photography better.  Reading this is like having a best friend sit down with you and walk through a photography discussion.

Starting/Running A Business:

How To Start a Home Based Photography Business by Kenn Oberrecht
This book was invaluable to me in understanding just what I needed to do to start a successful business the RIGHT way.  Yes, you can just call yourself a business and charge people money, but if you are serious in wanting to do it right, have all the "i"s dotted and "t"s crossed, then I highly recommend this book.  Between this and a talk with your Small Business Association you should have a good grasp on getting that photo business off the ground and running.

Legal Handbook for Photographers by Bert Krages
A must read to start getting your head around the legal issues you'll need to care about when starting a business.  This covers everything from contracts, ethics, property rights, copyright and privacy issues.  This in no way takes place of discussing your questions with legal council, but again, it gets your head in the right place.

Digital Darkroom:

Adobe Photoshop CS4 one-on-one by Deke McClelland(a CS5 version is also available)
Deke is like one of the "go to guys" when it comes to doing things in Photoshop.  This book was great for me.  I was still using CS2 when this book came out.  I already knew most of the basics but with this book, the author takes you through each part, step by step, even providing sample images for you to use.  Great for a novice or as a refresher.  If you want a definitive book on Photoshop, then you'll want this mammoth book, The Photoshop Bible.

The next two books are for really tinkering around in Photoshop.  While I do not use all the sections of the books, there are some things that I use a lot.  The biggest thing to remember is that you can use the techniques for other things.  More education is a great thing.
Photoshop Cosmetic Surgery by Barry Jackson
Secrets of the Digital Darkroom by Peter Cope


The Lighting Cookbook for Fashion and Beauty Photography by Jenni Bidner and Eric Bean
While the book is a little dated, the best thing - pages of definitions of lighting terms and gear plus loads of lighting diagrams!

The Moment It Clicks by Joe McNally
Want to know the story behind the image, what the photographer was thinking and what they think now?  Chock full of technical info and personal insights - this is a must read for any photographer grappling with what it means to be a photographer.

The Hot Shoe Diaries by Joe McNally
Technical info from the master himself - how he go the shot, lighting diagrams and more info than you thought possible to obtain.


Moments by Hal Buell
Pulitzer prize winning photographs and the stories behind them and about the photographers.  Yes, this is a photography book, but it is so much more.  I have an older version than the one linked to, but I go out every year to the Pulitzer site and print off the new years images.

Jungles by Frans Lanting
When you talk about National Geographic and nature photography, one of the names that inevitably comes up is Frans Lanting one of the pre-eminent nature photographers of our time.  This is one of the books that inspires me to get out there and follow my passion to take nature and landscape pictures.

The next three books I use for reference.  I am a fan of pinup art of the 1920's through the 1970's.  I've done a few pinup style photo shoots and these were great reference books not only for me but for the models/clients as well.  Some "adult" images are found within, so probably not something you want just sitting around.

The Great American PinUp
Has a collection of all the prominent pinup artist.  This is great if you are wanting to look at the different styles.

Gil Elvgren 25th Anniversary Edition

Alberto Vargas: Works from the Max Vargas Collection

I'll periodically update this thread in the event that I add any additional books to the library.

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