Best Photography Books of 2014
From how-to guides to fine art collections, 2014 was another standout year in new photography book offerings. With so many contenders for a spot on this list, as in previous years, the photo.net picks were chosen for being the most: inspirational, informative, helpful, and/or unique.
If there is another book you’d like to recommend, please include it in the comments section below.
You can click the links to purchase, and we also encourage you to support your local bookstores, who need your patronage.
1. Photography: The Definitive Visual History
Author: Tom Ang
Published: September 2014 by DK
Details: hardcover, 480 pages, 10.2 × 12.1 inches
List price: $50
In one comprehensive volume, Photography: The Definitive Visual History weaves together the story of the medium from its invention in the 1820s through to the digital age in the 21st century. In distinctive DK style, each page is packed with information and displayed in a visually compelling way. The book’s large format, as well as its thick and glossy pages, displays photographs wonderfully.
Photography recounts the 200 years of photographic history through profiles of 50 key photographers, analyses of groundbreaking photographs, and studies of photographic breakthroughs in technology. Authored by Tom Ang, an accomplished photographer and prolific writer of over 30 books on photography, he takes the reader by the hand with clear and engaging narrative.
Who is this book for? This is a reference book every photographer, from novice to pro, will want on their library shelves—or rather, to display prominently on a coffee table since it’s truly that beautiful.
2. Camera & Craft: Learning the Technical Art of Digital Photography
Series Editor: Katrin Eismann
Authors: Andy Batt, Candace Dobro, and Jodie Steen
Published: December 2014 by Focal Press
Details: softcover, 402 pages, 9 × 9 inches
List price: $39.95
Camera & Craft is the third book in the Digital Imaging Masters Series based on the curriculum of the digital photography program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
An instructional photography book at heart, Camera & Craft is refreshingly conversational. It does dive into the nitty gritty of professional workflow, but it also throws working photographers from a variety of disciplines into the mix to share their stories and working preferences so that you can build the foundation to move your photographic work to the next level. Once you understand and harness the power of the technical tools at your disposal—combining your camera with your craft—you will become a better artist too.
Who is this book for? Camera & Craft is for serious amateurs and intermediate photographers who want to bring their work to a professional level. Through interviews with pro photographers, insights into their workflows and processes, and at home exercises to hone your skills, you will learn to master your photographic tools. Creating technically sound photographs time and time again will become second nature to you so that you can unleash the full force of your creativity.
3. How to Photograph Everything: 500 Beautiful Photos and the Skills You Need to Take Them
Authors: The Editors of Popular Photography
Published: November 2014 by Weldon Owen
Details: hardcover, 320 pages, 8.5 × 10.5 inches
List price: $40
A straightforward title for a straightforward book that guides you through, well, how to photograph everything! Organized by subject from fireworks to photojournalism, each is explored via the same formula: several pages are devoted to technical tips (i.e., exposure settings, focus, white balance, noise, flash, and shooting mode that best suit the subject), composition pointers, gear suggestions, and multiple inspirational example images. And who better to share this wealth of information than the editors of Popular Photography?
Who is this book for? This is an excellent learning tool for beginning to mid-level photographers or for photographers who want advice on shooting new subject matter. How to Photograph Everything is organized logically and the information is presented clearly so that you can approach a new photographic situation equipped with the right tools and know-how to capture even better images.
4. Creative Flash Photography: Great Lighting with Small Flashes: 40 Flash Workshops
Author: Tilo Gockel
Published: December 2014 by Rocky Nook
Details: softcover, 304 pages, 8 × 10 inches
List price: $44.95
Have speedlights long mystified you? In Creative Flash Photography you will be introduced to these tiny, bright wonders so you can create your best images in any lighting situation. Endorsed with a foreword by STROBIST David Hobby, this book introduces you to the essentials of flash photography and guides you through 40 flash setups covering a range of situations and subjects including fashion, macro, food, still life, and high-speed.
Who is this book for? Creative Flash Photography is an essential guide for photographers who want to add flash to their repertoire. Each of the 40 flash workshops is presented in an easy-to-understand, well-illustrated format, including setup schematics and instructions for self-built accessories, so that you can achieve great results with flash whether you are working in a professional studio or at home.
5. You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes: Photographs from the International Space Station
Author: Col. Chris Hadfield
Published: October 2014 by Little, Brown and Company
Details: hardcover, 208 pages, 8 × 8 inches
List price: $26
“I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small,” Neil Armstrong said on looking back at Earth from the Moon in July 1969. That is precisely the feeling you get when looking at the incredible aerial photographs of the earth in You Are Here.
Touted “the most famous astronaut since Neil Armstrong” by the BBC, Col. Chris Hadfield took command of the International Space Station in 2012 for a five month stay, during which he tweeted daily and shared his stunning photographs with all of us back on Earth. This carefully selected collection of Hadfield’s best photographs takes you on a tour of one orbit around the earth, continent by continent, with insights into the often-humorous daily life in outer space without gravity.
Who is this book for? Photography, space, and geography lovers alike will love this book. Hadfield’s images will be sure to leave you breathless as you see your home from a new perspective. We bet you’ll want to linger longer than 92 minutes!
6. Your Family in Pictures: The Parents’ Guide to Photographing Holidays, Family Portraits, and Everyday Life
Author: Me Ra Koh
Published: August 2014 by Amphoto Books
Details: softcover, 160 pages, 8.6 × 8.6 inches
List price: $19.99
Your Family in Pictures contains 40 photo “recipes” to capture your family in its best light. It is the final book in a three part series of bestselling photo guides written specifically with parents in mind. The book is divided into sections based on event: everyday life, holidays, family portraits, tweens and teens, and vacations and travel. The author, inspirational photographer and photo educator Me Ra Koh, endeavors to encourage and help parents take better photos and, at the same time, to help them engage with and celebrate their families through photography.
The book is easy to understand, offers everyday tips and tricks, and best of all is chockfull of inspiration to take your photos from snapshots to something more special.
Who is this book for? This book is aimed at parents with little to no photography experience who want to take better family photos using any camera. However, this is an equally useful resource for any beginner or intermediate photographer who wants practical advice for improving their photography in general—with repeatable results!
7. Light, Gesture, and Color
Author: Jay Maisel
Published: October 2014 by New Riders (Peachpit Press)
Details: softcover, 264 pages, 11 × 8.5 inches
List price: $54.99
Perhaps the most famous photograph Jay Maisel ever took was of Miles Davis for the album cover of Kind of Blue. Maisel, whose career has spanned over 60 years and counting, is well known in the commercial and editorial photography worlds for his energetic, vivid photographs. He is the recipient of many prestigious photography awards, and in the late 1990s, he refocused his work on educating the next generation of photographers.
Light, Gesture, and Color gives the gift of inspiration. Each two-page spread offers an insight from Maisel’s own experience working in the field alongside its accompanying image. Each anecdote will bring a knowing smile or an “aha!” to your lips as Maisel imparts wisdom from his many successful years behind the lens.
Who is this book for? Light, Gesture, and Color is for those of us who have ever felt a creative roadblock. Whatever your level of photo expertise, Jay Maisel will teach through example how to overcome, and even embrace, these challenges. This is a book you’ll want to keep on hand for a dose of encouragement or to gawk at Maisel’s stunning work.
8. The Light Between Us
Author: Vincent Peters
Published: November 2014 by teNeues
Details: hardcover, 208 pages, 11.25 × 13.75 inches
List price: $125, a Limited Edition is also available for $2800
The Light Between Us is a special inclusion on this list and a true collector’s item. In fact, in addition to the standard hardcover edition there are two versions of a special limited edition, hand signed and housed in a clamshell box. Both cost $2800 and are limited to 50 copies each, one including a signed and numbered print of Cindy Crawford and the other of Charlize Theron.
Renowned fashion and celebrity photographer Vincent Peters has contributed to nearly every major fashion magazine around the globe, photographing the likes of Monica Bellucci, John Malkovich, Kim Basinger, Christian Bale, and many more. He makes images of celebrities that defy expectation, yet are realized through subtle and even simple gestures. His craft relies on the classic art of portraiture, always maintaining his subject’s face as the focal point and lending an intensely intimate quality to his black and white photographs. The Light Between Us collects Peters’ photographs into a single volume for the very first time.
Who is this book for? The Light Between Us is for collectors and lovers of fine art, black and white, and fashion photography. It is an exceptionally beautiful and precious collection of a distinguished photographer’s seminal work sure to inspire us all.
9. Study of Pose
Authors: Coco Rocha and Steven Sebring, with a foreword by Jean Paul Gaultier
Published: October 2014 by Harper Design
Details: hardcover, 2032 pages, 7 × 8.5 inches
List price: $60
Enrobed in black, this tome is nothing short of elegant. Its black edges further lend this 2000-plus-page book a distinguished silhouette, much like the simple black and white photographed poses inside its covers. Each spread of pages shows a single pose modeled by supermodel Coco Rocha and photographed by fashion and celebrity photographer Steven Sebring.
Part celebration of the human form, part posing reference, Study of Pose is an in-depth examination of human movement. Most exceptional of all is the device Sebring developed to capture these images. Dubbed “the Rig,” Sebring constructed a system of cameras that capture a subject from 100 different angles. This means that each of the 1000 poses modeled by Rocha are available in 360-degree views. An app project by Sebring Studio is currently underway to present this footage interactively.
Who is this book for? Study of Pose is ideal for portrait photographers or those looking for insightful new ways to photograph the human form.
10. Post-Photography: The Artist with a Camera
Author: Robert Shore
Published: September 2014 by Laurence King Publishing
Details: hardcover, 272 pages, 11 1/8 × 8 5/8 inches
List price: $40
Post-Photography is an exploration of the medium in the digital age. When cameras are everywhere but images exist mainly virtually, what does that mean for the artist-photographer? In a world where anyone can take a photograph, how do artists innovate?
This book examines the work of 53 international artist-photographers who continue to push boundaries in their work by integrating digital and analogue practices. Some are photographers working behind the lens and others are artists who create with found photographs. Guided by arts journalist Robert Shore, Post-Photography will make you contemplate photography in a new way and perhaps even lead you to reexamine your own creative methods.
Who is this book for? Post-Photography is for those who enjoy the history and theory of the medium. It is likewise for those who want an in-depth study of the work of contemporary photographers and thoughtful glimpses into the creation of images that challenge the concept of the traditional photograph.