Best Beginner Photography Books

a black camera on top of the book near the potted plant

Last Updated on September 18, 2022 by seanmichaelpritchard

If you’re just starting out in photography, everything can be a little bit overwhelming. One of these best beginner photography books could be just what you’re looking for!

It’s not just the big things that these best beginner photography books cover, like which camera and equipment to choose, but the general tips and tricks to ensure you produce great photos and the information you should know to get the best out of your camera, like using the correct aperture and shutter speed.

You might already know that you have any eye for street photography or portraits, but your photos just aren’t turning out quite right.

Or perhaps you’ve been having specific issues like over exposure or too much noise.

Instead of trawling through hundreds of YouTube videos and online posts which may or may not help, the best thing to do is pick up one of these books to learn photography!

Best beginner photography books at a glance:


Written by seasoned professionals, a good photography guide can almost instantly level up your craft, by giving you all the information you need such as lighting, choosing a subject, capturing moving objects and the rule of thirds (which is really more of a guideline).

All of these can be picked up either online or in any good bookshop and once you’ve read them, you’ll have everything you need to take great photos.

Let’s go!


BEST BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY BOOKS

20 weeks is more than enough time to master the art of photography, and this book produced by DK will definitely get you up to scratch.

The book is divided into modules meaning you can work through it as quickly or slowly as you choose.

Not only will you find information about all the latest photography equipment and the essentials you’ll need to get started, but the book is also packed full of assignments so that you can actually get out there and practice what you learn.

There are lots of examples, photo comparisons, step by step tutorials and quizzes as well so that you can get all the information down.

It will also be invaluable no matter what you’re interested in shooting, covering everything from wildlife and sports photography, to portraits, documentary and landscapes.

Since this is version two of the book, it has been updated to include new information about how to edit your photos using Lightroom and Photoshop and explains the difference between newly released cameras including DSLRs and mirrorless.

Pros:

  • Packed with information
  • Affordable
  • Includes newly updated information

Cons:

  • Large and bulky, not something you can pack in your bag

books to learn photography

National Geographic is like the Bible for photographers and almost all aspire to be features in its pages.

Luckily, they have released a handy photography book for beginners on how to take the best possible photos, worthy of being published in their magazine.

The book is written by Joel Sartore, a tenured and award winning photographer who himself has been published in national Geographic, so you know you’re getting the best information possible.

The book is aimed at both camera and smart phone users and covers all the nitty gritty aspects of taking a great photograph, from F-stops and shutter speeds, to editing and organising.

The book also includes sections to learn all kinds of photography niches, from family photos to pets, travel, nature and street photography.

All of the sections have either excellent illustrations or example photos, and all the photos include the exact settings used so that you can recreate them perfectly.

Joel has also included assignments, tips and tricks and fascinating behind the scenes stories about how he created some of his most iconic photos for the brand.

This is a great book to pair with a day trip to a top photography destination such as Skomer Island in Puffin season!

Pros:

  • Written by an award-winning photographer
  • Full of useful tips
  • Affordable
  • Published in 2020 so very up to date

Cons:

  • Also too large to carry with you

The Beginner's Photography Guide: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Manual for Getting the Most from Your Digital Camera

The Beginner’s Photography Guide does exactly what it says on the tin which is perfect for newbies.

You won’t find any confusing jargon here, only simple and easy to follow steps which will lead to you being able to know your way around a camera like the back of your hand and take excellent photos to boot.

The book gives detailed information on photography like flash control and choosing the right time of day to shoot, and it can even be useful if you aren’t a beginner to give you a few new ideas on how to make your photos really stand out.

Each tutorial has a step by step guide and covers every possible camera function and photographic technique.

The book also touches on what to learn about processing your photos, shooting in RAW, editing in Adobe and other programmes and what to think about once you’ve mastered all these photography techniques.

Anyone looking to get started in photography will find themselves using this book time and time again to brush up their skills and knowledge and get new ideas for amazing photos.

Pros:

  • Step by step easy to follow tutorials
  • Lots of comparison photos
  • Very affordable

Cons:

  • Originally published in 2016 so might not have the most up to date information

Photography for Kids: A Beginner's Book

If you know a child who is a budding photographer, this well-designed book is aimed at kids between 8-12 years of age and will teach them the basics of taking great photos, even if they don’t quite have a professional camera just yet.

The author has broken down many of the most important concepts in photography into easy to grasp chunks that kids will understand.

The book is fun and colourful with loads of suggestions for what to take photos of especially everyday subjects such as pets, family and the garden.

There are some fun interactive activities and tasks for them to complete as well, where they have space in the book to stick in their best photos.

It is particularly aimed at smartphones, as this is what most kids have access to.

Plus, it frequently reminds readers to remember safety and not to wander to far when looking for subjects.

Make sure to head out to some inspirational photography locations too. Rhossili Bay in sunflower season is epic for the whole family!

Pros:

Cons:

  • Some tasks are lacking examples so it can be hard for kids to understand

Photography for Dummies Series

The Dummies series is the original best go to book for those who truly have no experience in photography but are looking to learn, fast.

No matter whether you have a basic point and shoot, a mirrorless or a DSLR camera, or even just a smartphone, you’ll find loads of information on how to get the best out of it.

You’ll find information on every possible camera setting, tips and tricks that professionals frequently use and also how to edit, manage and share your photos once you’ve taken them.

Pros:

  • Very simple to follow
  • Can be bought for a great low price!
  • Many different books available to learn photography

Cons:

  • Lots of different books in the series can make choosing just one hard

DSLR Photography for Beginners

DSLR Photography for Beginners is a very well-designed book divided into useful sections.

It covers how to choose the best DSLR camera, including details on all different types with their pros and cons, plus a chapter on various lenses and the benefits of owning each one.

You’ll also find information on different types of camera filters such as UV and Polarising filters and also explanations on ND Filters and stop exposure.

Final chapters run through taking good quality photos, how to store our images and how to edit them.

Pros:

  • Very detailed information about camera types and settings
  • Very affordable
  • Handy A5 size so you can carry it with you

Cons:

  • Only aimed at DSLRs, not mirrorless or smartphone cameras
  • Focuses on technical settings rather than photo tips

Final thoughts

Whether you’ve just picked up a camera or have just been mulling over getting into photography for a while, starting your journey by reading a book will provide you with the essential grounding to get started.

Regardless of which photography book you read, make sure to combine it with heading out and practicing all the skills you learn to constantly develop yourself and your craft!

Happy shooting!

DISCLOSURE: I may earn a small commission from some of the links above. For the benefit of the doubt, please assume all links might be affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

black vintage camera on bookshelf

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