13 books that make cool gifts for photographers

I should have stock options of Amazon.com because I get so many books there!

As I promised in my last blog post, I am going to talk about some books about photography that you should read, research, borrow or purchase.

I think I am going to update new blog posts as new books come out as there are so many great ones! 

Here is my (short) list for now:

1) Understanding Exposure, Fourth Edition: how to shoot great photographs with any camera. Author: Bryan Peterson

Understanding exposure is a book for the people who really want to understand how to take a picture, how to control the camera and the lighting going on each picture, from the perspective of what is your intent with a photograph. The book will layout the theory and give you examples and explanations so you know how to control the tool that captures the light (the camera) to express your vision. Attention: this is the most recent REVIEWED version of the book, the one that also talks about the digital part. When Bryan first wrote this book it was only about film. A great book for beginners! Understanding Exposure is a necessary book in every photographer's shelf. 

2) Extraordinary Everyday Photography: awaken your vision to create stunning images wherever you are. Author: Brenda Tharp/Jed Manwaring

What I love about this book the most - besides the excellent photographs illustrating the content - is the discussions, questions and exercises about the creative process. Brenda is an amazing photographer and she really creates awareness about the world around you and the possibilities. Extraordinary Everyday Photography is a great gift for sure. Be inspired.

3) People Pictures: 30 exercises for creating authentic photographs. Author: Chris Orwig

I love his work. If anybody has doubts about what creative and authentic mean this is a way to start. As a photographer he has written very well  about his own experience of photographing people. I love how he takes you on a journey on his own thought process like if it is a circle train and stitch it together to family. A very interesting book with great exercises for you to practice and grow. People pictures will be with you for 30 exercises, whatever time it takes you, so worth it.

4) Capturing Light: the heart of photography. Author: Michael Freeman

Michael Freeman is greatly admired and has made a brilliant career out of his talent. He has many books written in the art and craft of photography. In Capturing Light: the heart of photography he does an amazing job in breaking down the foundation of light. His explanations about shadows and highlights and light direction are pretty detailed with photos, illustrations and arrows. I find it very well explained.

5) The A-Z of Creative Photography, Revised Edition: a complete guide to more than 70 creative techniques. Author: Lee Frost

I have the older version of this book. This is great to make you experiment with techniques that you might otherwise never hear about it. In this book he inspires you to try each one of the techniques. It is an inspiration guide in a book to make you get out of your comfort zone.

6) Visual Poetry: a creative guide for making engaging digital photographs. Author: Chris Orwig

I remember when I saw this book at the bookstore the first time. It was big, beautifully designed and full of awesome content. The text, the pictures, the content meaning, all great. I remember thinking as a second language speaker "I will never end". Reading in a second language has its challenges sometimes, so I decided to get the Kindle version of the book and I read it in one day. I loved it so much I came back to the library and bought the paper version. This book is a great resource and it comes with assignments for you to work on your craft. Visual Poetry is a book you want to spend time with.

7) Vivien Maier: Street Photography

Viven Maier is the Cartier Bresson of America, in my opinion. If you haven't heard of this amazing photographer, you have to get this book. All black and white, this street photographer documented America from the 1950's to the 1990's. A beautiful work that John Maloof was lucky enough to find for us photographers. 

8) The Americans. Author: Robert Frank  

The Americans became famous in its first publication, in 1958, in France. Later published in America, it is a book that has a different view of America that the Americans were used to see in the 50's. It was re-published in 2008 and it is a classic of contemporary photography of the 20th century. 

9) Looking in. Author: Robert Frank

Looking in is a beautiful commented version of this book. An in depth examination of those images. It is a beautiful gift with a historical view of those photographs.

10) Genesis. Author: Sebastian Salgado

He is the most known Brazilian photographer, with decades of black and white photography. Among his so many books, Genesis is the most beautiful and it took a decade to photograph and create it. Beautiful.

11) Gregory Heisler: 50 portraits. Author: Gregory Heisler

This book has interviews about those portraits and it explains how the images were made from the photographer's point of view. A beautiful view of high quality portrait.

12) Steve McCurry: The Iconic Photographs. Author: Steve McCurry

My major inspiration to become a photographer. I are up knowing his name and admiring his photography. If you want to be inspired by portraits and travel photography, this is a great gift. Steve McCurry probably has the most know photograph taken in the 20th century. The Iconic Photographs should be in any photographer's shelf.

13) Ansel Adams: 400 photographs. Author: Ansel Adams

A compilation of the body of work of the most known nature photographer in America. If you like landscapes and national parks, this is a book to study. Ansel Adams: 400 photographs is great to browse in a snowy day, when you grab a cup of coffee and study each image.

Simone Severo