25 Digital Photography Books for Christmas [REVIEWED and RANKED]

25 Digital Photography Books for Christmas [REVIEWED and RANKED]

digital-photography-book-1.jpgLooking for a digital photography book for Christmas (for yourself or someone else)? It struck me today that we’ve reviewed a lot of photography books here at DPS over the last couple of years… but we’ve never listed them all on the one page. So here’s a list of the top 25, ranked them in order of the number of books purchased by our readers at Amazon. I’ve linked each book both to Amazon and to the full review of the book.

Note: We’ve reviewed about 35 books over the years but by no means have reviewed every photography book. If we’ve missed one of your favorites feel free to suggest it in comments below and we’ll get a copy to our reviewers.


  1. The Digital Photography Book – (full review) – “This book is one of the best selling digital photography books ever – and for good reason. It’s a must read for those starting out and intermediate photographers alike.”
  2. Understanding Exposure – (full review) – “Of all the photography books I have on my bookshelf, and believe me, I have quite a few, this is the one that stands out as the most helpful.”
  3. exposure-2.jpgThe Photographer’s Eye – (full review) – “While it won’t teach you how to use the different features of your camera (it’s a book about composition) – it is probably a book you need to read before (or at least while) you are mastering your camera.” (9 out of 10).
  4. How to Cheat in Photoshop CS3 – (full review) – “I would give this book a rating of 9 out of 10. The only reason I pulled it back from being a perfect score is that once or twice in it I found that it went above my head.”
  5. The Digital Photography Companion – (full review) – “If you’re a beginner, go and buy yourself this book – it really is worth every cent, though, if you’re a bit more advanced, there may be a better book out there for you.”
  6. Within the Frame – (full review) – “Engaging and thought provoking, “Within the Frame” is full of beautiful images from around the world complete with their EXIF data, and the stories behind them. Visually pleasing, mentally uplifting, it is evident duChemin sought after the release of a new kind of book for photographers.”
  7. Understanding Shutter Speed – (full review) – “I think that this book will help less experienced photographers more than those who already have a good grasp on concepts like Shutter Speed. Having said that – I found it to be a good refresher course of sorts and did come away from the book grateful for having read it despite having learned much of it previously.
  8. composition-3.jpgThe Complete Guide to Night and Low Light Digital Photography – (full review) – “one of the best ‘how-to’ books on the market and useful to experts and novices in the digital imaging businesses.”
  9. Wedding Photography Unveiled – (full review) – “Wedding Photography Unveiled is a book that any first- or second-year wedding photographer can’t afford to not own.”
  10. The Creative Digital Darkroom – (full review) – “It’s not the cheapest book on this subject that you’re going to come across, but it’s certainly true of this publication at least, you get what you pay for.”
  11. Michael Freeman’s 101 Top Tips – (full review) – “There’s so much useful info in the book you could, almost make this the only manual you ever need.”
  12. The Photographer’s Survival Guide – (full review) – “if you are looking to take your hobby a step further and perhaps be compensated for your work – even if only on a part-time basis – this book is for you…. I really have nothing bad to say about this book (a rarity for me).”
  13. cheat-photoshop-4.jpgFast Track Photographer – (full review) – “Whether you are just thinking about getting started, or need a new strategy for a declining economy, Fast Track Photographer is a book that can become your greatest mentor.”
  14. New Epson Complete Guide to Digital Printing – (full review) – “IMHO and regardless of Epson’s involvement, this is one of the best books on printing.”
  15. Closeup Shooting: A Guide to Closeup, Tabletop and Macro Photography – (full review) – “The only way I’d improve this book is to make it longer with even more practical examples and explanations. There is a good amount of this already – but as someone who learns by ’seeing’ I’m always left thirsting for more of this.”
  16. The Perfect Portrait Guide – (full review) – How to Photograph People – (full review) – “If you’re looking for an easy to read book for beginners to help you improve your shots of friends and family – you’ll probably enjoy this one – especially if you learn best by watching how others do things and then imitating them.”
  17. companion-5.jpgComplete Digital Photography – (full review) – “This is one of the most comprehensive guides to digital photography that you’ll find. (4.5 out of 5)”
  18. Printing for Digital Photographers – (full review) – “A straightforward step-by-step series of chapters cover image cropping, contrast control, using Levels, eradicating dust and scratches, dealing with HDR, toning etc.”
  19. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects – (full review) – “If your photography has become a little tired of late this book will re-invigorate your passion.”
  20. Successful Self-Promotion for Photographers – (full review) – “Not only a great resource, but also an engaging read that wont leave you with anything less than dozens of ideas for expanding your photography business and your own marketing techniques.”
  21. Annie Leibovitz at Work – (full review) – “A good read for a cold winter evening or when you need a little inspiration.”
  22. shutter-6.jpgBeginner’s Guide to Digltal Photo Art – (full review) – “The book includes a full list of techniques and materials suppliers to take digital images to places you have never thought of!”
  23. Digital Compact Cameras: Great Photos Every Time – (full review) – “The book has a pile of useful, basic and more than basic info. The printing quality is excellent as are the colour pictures.”
  24. Digital Photography Beyond the Camera – (full review) – “The impressive factor about this book that it focuses on image treatment, devoting less space about the mechanics of driving Photoshop than to successful and pleasing outcomes.”
  25. The Complete Guide to Digital Night & Low Light Photography – (full review) – “I found the book to be one of the most inspiring I’ve ever encountered … it encourages you to dash out, camera in hand, the moment the sun drops low on the horizon. Tons of big, encouraging pictures.”

What Digital Photography books have you found helpful in your learning of photography?

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • Chuck November 16, 2011 06:42 am

    "Photoshop Plans" was my favorite photography related book this year. I keep the simple book of photoshop tips right by my computer. I was lost before this. I think it's also on Kindle now, but more convenient as a book.

  • Yucel August 11, 2011 07:53 am

    Cool list thank you, I will check them out.

    I read a lot of photography books, particularly those envolved in glamour, retouching, model posing and art nude genres and very much appreciate the useful info provided by a review.

    It so hard to know what’s in a photo book one buys on line without seeing it or getting a tip.

    If you too have interest to see photo book reviews, check out currently avail reviews at: http://glamourphotography.co/category/book-reviews/

  • Iskandar May 4, 2011 06:48 pm

    Understanding exposure is great, but I don't think it's easy for beginner to grasp the materials laid in the book.

  • Victor December 24, 2009 03:46 am

    The best book for a beginers is Nature Photography Field Guide. It is no on digital photography, but the concepts are the same. John Shaw, the autor, is a master explaninig all the concepts. I guest better than Bryan Peterson.

  • Carl December 22, 2009 12:13 pm

    I agree with Chris...McNally's book is way overpriced. Besides..."The Moment It Clicks" was in my humble opinion, a waste of money if you were looking for details on how shots were done...Sold my version on Ebay...

  • Greg Rutter December 21, 2009 08:43 pm

    I am surprised Scott Kelby is rated as his glib attempted humour does nothing to teach the reader and is wasted on me. I am returning to photography after 25 years and have enjoyed some of the Wiley series on photography and like Mr Hicks am looking for a substantial read about Lighting and techniques.

  • chris December 19, 2009 03:56 am

    "here’s a list of the top 25, ranked them in order of the number of books purchased by our readers at Amazon."

    So it's not that Darren left anything off the list. He simply took the top 25 on Amazon's list of the books DPS reviewed and posted them. Maybe if Mr. Mcnally brought the prices of his books down to affordable, he would also be in the top 25 :-)

  • Marta Pociecha December 18, 2009 10:06 pm

    I purchased #1 as my very first photography book. There's more books in this series. It's a good book for those of us starting out who are a bit impatient to get going. It doesn't offer gory details about apertures and shutter speeds but rather gets to the point on how to take a photo.
    The sense of humour in this book is laugh-out-loud priceless!

  • Val December 18, 2009 07:55 am

    Like the list. I have many mentioned in my library.
    You left off "The Adobe Photoshop CS4 Book for Digital Photographers" by Scott Kelby.

    How about a NEW list of books that discuss and display/print photo's of the great Masters.
    IMHO, I would have expected to see many books on this avenue/topic of the art of photography.

  • cortlander December 18, 2009 05:25 am

    I have read and enjoyed many of the books in this list. A few of the others which I liked, in no particular order:

    The Photograph - Harald Mante: Good companion to The Photographer's Eye

    Sculpting with Light - Allison Earnest: Portrait photography.

    Perfect Exposure - Michael Freeman: I do have Bryan Peterson's book too, but in my view it is dated, and this one is better targeted at digital photography.

    Black and White Photography - Michael Freeman: This is the newer edition and is very good. The old one had some editing complaints.

    Light Science and Magic - Fil Hunter and others.

    The Ultimate Guide to digital nature photography - Mountain trail photo team.

    Outdoor Glamour Photography - Bill Lemon: Stunning nude photography tastefully done. I was amazed at some of the results with a Tamron 28-75 lens (which I do not own).

    Working the Light - Joe Cornish and others: critique of beautiful photographs.

    Landscape Photography - Tim Fitzharris

    Photographing America's National Parks - Tim Fitzharris

    Adobe Photoshop CS4 for Photographers - Martin Evening, my favorite out of half a dozen Photoshop books

    Photoshop Restoration and Retouching - Katrin Eisman, good companion to her Creative Digital Darkroom listed above.

  • Ryan O. Hicks December 18, 2009 04:06 am

    This list is decent, but lacks a lot. It's great to have books that help you understand different aspects of different types of photography and how to work the general basics of a camera. However, there is no books in the list about light. Lighting will make or break any photo and there should be some books that correlate with that subject in here.

    I'd also like to see some books that go into detail about posing models.

    Once you read the book, "Exposure" and a one or two CS4 books they all begin to repeat themselves on the same thing.

  • Remington December 18, 2009 03:30 am

    I'm with bluenoser... The Moment it Clicks AND The Hot Shoe Diaries should be on this list. Joe McNally has some of the most creative solutions for location lighting with big and small flash.

  • HappyPup December 18, 2009 03:27 am

    What about "Digital Photography for Dummies!"? At least the beginner photographer won't trip over highly technical verbiage in this guide book.

  • Jason Collin Photography December 18, 2009 02:07 am

    I'd like to have the Annie Leibovitz book despite the lack of cold winter evenings in Florida.

  • Jack Fussell December 18, 2009 01:41 am

    You should have a contest to give these away. The contest would be...the first person who mentions"that you should have a contest" would win....oh! that would be me!

  • MeiTeng December 17, 2009 11:38 pm

    #1 and #2 are gems! :)

  • Bluenoser December 17, 2009 10:54 pm

    Wow, shocked that "The Moment It Clicks" didn't make the top 25.

  • mark December 17, 2009 10:24 pm

    I'm surprised Scott Kelby's "Adobe Photoshop CS4 Book for Digital Photographers" isn't included.

  • Richard December 17, 2009 09:33 pm

    Light: Science and Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting is definitely a must read imho.