A Half Dozen - Photography Books that Changed the Way I Work

Early in my photography career I read every photography book I could get my hands on. Here are some stand outs from my bookshelf.


The Photographer's Assistant by John Kieffer. Must read if you are wanting to get started in commercial photography as an assistant. I've thought about passing this on, but I love remembering how little I knew back then!

The Tao of Photography: Seeing Beyond Seeing by Philippe L. Gross and S. I. Shapiro. Breathtaking photos, wonderful quotes and amazing inspirations fill this book. One of the most beautiful books I've read and my go to when I need to remember how different photography is when you are shooting for yourself instead of a client. No matter how burnt out you are, this book will make you want to get out shooting...and seeing.

Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques for Photographers Using Photoshop by Scott Kelby. This is a fantastic step by step book showing essential techniques. I especially love how the books shows Scott's 15 min quick retouch and a more in depth, more time consuming retouch.

The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers by Peter Krogh. I was lucky enough to find this book through my friends at Marshall Field's before I was shooting a lot of digital. I've adopted many of Peter's practical and logical guidelines. Actually, they've become rules for me. Grab this book if you need help with naming conventions, archiving and workflow.

Light Science & Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver and Paul Fuqua. I wish I had found this book when I was learning studio lighting because it is the most comprehensive and in depth book I've ever seen on lighting. Most photography books are glorified portfolios with a few lighting diagrams. This one actually has more words and diagrams than photos...it's a textbook for lighting with a basis in physics. So be warned if you are not a techie...you might need to read some of the paragraphs twice!

The Photographer's Survival Guide: How to Build and Grow a Successful Business by Amanda Sosa Stone and Suzanne Sease. Straight to the point, honest information with lots of good visuals. My kind of business book.