A few days ago on Twitter, I mentioned something about photography books, and named off a couple I thought were good reads. I half-joked about coming up with a required reading list. Then had a couple people tell me they thought it was a good idea. So here you go.
Ansel Adams-The Camera, The Negative, and the Print.
Classic read for someone starting out in photography. Some of the info might be slightly outdated with the advent of digital, but, if you can adjust your thinking a bit, you will see that the info is solid. Ansel Adams was the ultimate post processing guy. Anyone who tells you that real photographers don't post process-point them to Ansel.
Henri Cartier-Bresson- The Decisive Moment
If you are a wedding photographer, especially, and have not seen this one, you are missing out. Weddings are all about decisive moments, and Cartier-Bresson was the master. This one might be a little hard to track down, but it's well worth it. Really, any Cartier-Bresson greatest hits book will serve you well.
Joe McNally-The Moment it Clicks and Hotshoe Diaries
Joe McNally is one of the best photographers working today, in my opinion. What I like about this book is that he shows all his top shots, and then breaks it down on how it was done. A great primer on lighting, and how it all works. McNally is a bit self-deprecating throughout this book, which I dig. He doesn't ever seem to put himself up on a pedestal. He's just a guy with a camera, and knows how to use it.
I will confess that I have not read this one all the way thru, yet. I did thumb thru the some of the pages, and read the intro. I like how it's going, and have heard nothing but good reviews about it. If you go to Amazon, you can read the first few pages talking about just how hard it is to make a living at photography. He's right. It's a bitch. But, if you love it, you can make it with a lot of hard work, and a ton of luck.
Kevin Kubota-Digital Photography Boot Camp
If you are fairly new to digital, this is the book. Kevin covers a lot of the basic stuff that you may or may not know. I was fairly knowledgeable when I read it, and still picked up a few tricks. I passed this one on to my assistant a few weeks ago, and he dug it. He's just started taking Photo 101 classes, and this gave him a great background into digital.
Nannette Salvaggio-Basic Photographic Materials and Processes
This is strictly for you film shooters, and Zone System nerds out there. I feel you, I used to be one of you, back in the day. Hours and hours were spent developing film, and using a densitometer to test it back in school. This book is a SERIOUSLY dense read, and gets into stuff that you almost need an engineering degree to understand.
Herve Guibert-Ghost Image
I had a teacher in college give me this one. Less of an instructional book, but contains essays on photography, and life within photography. Come to think of it, I haven't pulled this one off the shelf in awhile. It might be time for a re-read. They essays are fairly short and can be read here and there without major commitment.
Well, there it is. I know there are dozens of great photo books out there, and to boil it down to this tiny list was tougher than I thought. If you have any other suggestions, drop in a comment. My door is always open.