When visiting photography forums the question always comes up “Hi, I’m new. Where do I begin?”. Often alongside many varied answers pointing to other websites and tutorial I often see a number of books listed that seem to be the “industry standard” of the best to read as a new photographer.
You may ask why tell people to read books when the information is already available for free on the internet?
Well as a beginning photographer you should learn from more than just what the internet offers. You should interact with other photographers and if possible attend workshops or classes to improve as well. However this is not always available depending on your personal and/or financial situation.
Books are the next best thing to learning from very knowledgeable photographers and professionals without paying them a lot to teach you directly. You can learn a lot from these books and if you have questions when reading them you can go online line to ask them at places like The Digital Photography School or any other photography discussion forum you choose.
Here are the books I see often mentioned that I agree with others in saying they are the “must haves” for getting started in learning photography. I have ordered them in the order it was suggested to me to read them in as well:
“BetterPhoto Basics: The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Taking Photos Like a Pro” by Jim Miotke
OK, right off the bat I fibbed a little…. I do not see this book come up often in discussions but I was recommended to read this book. I’m glad I did. You can find his advice in other places all over the internet but this small book brings it together in an easy to understand and read format. I highly suggest reading this book at the same time you take pictures while practicing the advice given. Lot of pictures.
“The Digital Photography Book” Boxed Set, Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 by Scott Kelby
Scott Kelby is one name you will hear a lot as a photographer. Many many people will tell you to read his books. Scott has numerous tutorials, books and advice out there for anyone to learn from. Just Google his name and see. These books will cover the same things as the first one but in a different perspective and more in depth. Also there are four parts and each part get slightly more advanced in technique with out overwhelming you.
“Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera” by Bryan Peterson
After reading the above books (at least part one of of Kelby’s set) and you will want to start reading this one. It really explains exposure and how to take not only technically correct photographs but also creatively correct ones as well. There is a lot of knowledge in this short book and no matter what you level is I’ve seen this book recommended as must read to anyone who has never read it.
“Speedliter’s Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites” by Syl Arena
You won’t always take pictures where there is perfect light. As a beginner I suggest you look at Chapter 0 and some of Part 1 (Chapters 1 & 2) right away. Then play with your flash while you read the other books then come back to read the rest of the book along side the others. Yes this is more Canon specific, but the techniques talked about are not and can be used with most any flash make or model.
Thanks for reading!