Cheap and Free Photography Books for Beginners

October 10, 2016 12 Comments

Photography can be expensive. From the camera to the lens to the accessories to the software, you can quickly rack up receipts in the hundreds or thousands, or even tens of thousands if you’re really serious about being a photographer. Photography really can be an investment, but in my opinion, it’s worth it! (And this is coming from someone who buys the cheapest things; just ask my Walmart jeans and Payless boots). I got my Nikon D60 when I was 16 years old and I recently upgraded to a full frame Nikon D810 and I got both of them refurbished. I also look for pretty cheap accessories, which you can read about on my camera accessories post

After I invested in my camera, I honestly didn’t know how to use even half of the functions or how to compose a good photograph until I took photography classes in college. I’ve had several people tell me lately that they don’t really know how to use all the functions on their DSLRs, so I thought I would do a round-up post of some cheap and free photography books for beginners to help!

12 cheap and free photography books for beginners

Disclaimer: I have not read all of these books, but I did make sure they all had great reviews! I sorted them into three categories for you, and they’re sorted by price from low to high in each category. They’re all from Amazon, so with most you can choose if you prefer a digital or hard copy version. They are all under $10, and some are completely free for anyone and others are free if you have Kindle Unlimited (I marked those for you!). And if you have shopped with Amazon before, you know that their prices can sometimes change daily, so when you’re reading this, the prices might not be exactly the same (they should at least be similar though!). Within the week of creating this post, some of them had already changed so I had to go back and update them! 

I tried to include everything from buying a camera to Photoshop to Instagram to photography inspiration, and I would love some feedback if you feel like I missed an important topic!

If reading photography tips isn’t your thing, you can contact me for questions or hire me to work one-on-one to help you with photography composition! So without further ado, here are 12 cheap and free photography books for beginners!

 

Landscape & Nature Photography Tips

12 cheap and free photography books for beginners
Digital Landscape Photography: A Guide to Better Landscape Photos

Price: Free!!

The description says, “Taking great landscape photos is more of a challenge. In fact landscape photography is one of the most difficult genres in photography to get right. This book discuss the basics and what you can do to improve as a landscape photographer. This is a beginners guide but intermediate landscape photographers will also find useful information in the book.”

Topics covered:
What to look for when buying a camera for landscape photography
Learn basic camera settings and understand exposure
Different lenses and how focal length impact on your landscape images
The importance of light and time in landscape photography
How to choose you image editing software

12 cheap and free photography books for beginners

8 Types Of Natural Light That Will Add Drama To Your Photographs

Price: Free!!

The description says, “The first step to becoming a better nature photographer is to understand light. This eBook will help new photographers learn how to make the most of any type of light. Discover the 8 types of natural light and learn techniques you can use to increase the quality and dramatic effect of your images. Learn techniques you can use to increase the quality and dramatic effect of your images simply by understanding how light works.”

12 cheap and free photography books for beginners

Landscape Photography: From Beginner To Expert

Price: $2.99
(Free with Kindle Unlimited)

Reviews say, “This book is short but sweet. With only a couple of pages long and with its precise directions on how you can get the best landscape photography you can get, I would say you can never go wrong with this” and “I already learned many things while reading books and practicing some shots but this book taught me a lot of things that I never know. This book provides tips and guides for a aspiring photographer of nature to follow.” 

12 cheap and free photography books for beginners

Photography: Landscape Photography 2.0: Simple Camera Tips And Tricks Pros Use To Capture Stunningly Beautiful Landscapes 

Price: $3.04
(Free with Kindle Unlimited)

The description says, “As you are aware by now, it’s not as simple as seeing a beautiful landscape and pointing and shooting. There are several elements and processes that go into the shot. Landscape Photography 2.0 will break down the step by step process of capturing amazing landscape photographs.”

Topics covered:
The ideal time of day to capture landscape photos
The way to use the manual settings like aperture, shutter speed and ISO speed to capture amazing scenes
The best ways to capture panoramic photos
The secrets of working with black & white settings for landscape photos
How to create larger the life photos with one simple exposure technique

 

Crash Course Photography for Beginners 

12 cheap and free photography books for beginners
Mastering Digital Photography: Jason Youn’s Essential Guide to Understanding the Art & Science of Aperture, Shutter, Exposure, Light, & Composition

Price: Starting from $4.49
(Free with Kindle Unlimited)

Reviews say, “First, this book is intended for people who are new to photography. Anyone who has a DSLR and wants to learn the basics of taking a good picture should read this book. I have owned a DSLR for a while and learned about half of this book by trial and error. If I read this book when I purchased my DSLR, I would be able to take the pictures that I take today much earlier” and “This book contains simple, accurate explanations of camera settings and the terms associated with them…I would recommend this book to a new photographer that wants to find out more about how to take advantage of their camera’s more advanced settings.”

12 cheap and free photography books for beginners
Photography Demystified: Your Guide to Gaining Creative Control and Taking Amazing Photographs

Price: Starting from $4.99
(Free with Kindle Unlimited)

The description says, “This book will take you from automatic to full manual settings in a new and easy to implement way, giving you the control you need to capture images the way you desire. [It] has been designed to resolve your frustrations and photography difficulties. This book will give you the tools, education and practical applications needed to understand how to take great pictures!”

12 cheap and free photography books for beginners
Essential Photoshop: How to Use 9 Essential Tools and Techniques to Transform Your Photography

Price: $4.99

The description says, “How confident are you in using Photoshop? Are you able to look at a photograph and immediately know the steps you will go through to improve it? Can you navigate the Photoshop interface easily to find the tools and features you need to use? Do you have the skills to reveal the hidden beauty of your photographs and literally transform them? If you can’t answer with a yes to these questions then this book could hold all the information you need to become proficient with Photoshop.”

This author also has Photoshop Layers: Professional Strength Image Editing for more intermediate Photoshop users.

12 cheap and free photography books for beginners

Beginner’s Digital SLR Crash Course

Price: $6.99
(Free with Kindle Unlimited)

Reviews say, “Over the past few months, I have read a great many photography books for someone at beginners level. Many books repeat the same mantra, but ultimately left me as confused as I was before reading. This book is different, it explains previously complex knowledge in such a simplistic way, that it leaves you thinking, why the heck didn’t all those other books tell it in such an easily digested way. Now I get it, I really do get it” and  “I approached this book as if I knew zilch, and quickly found out I knew less than zilch. The author broke things down into small, simple bites that I opened a new level of understanding for me. I read the book from beginning to end with my Canon EOS Rebel T3 in front of me, and I finished in about a half hour.”

Topics covered:
Image size and quality
Color space
ISO speed
Digital noise
Histograms
White balance

12 cheap and free photography books for beginners
Capture Your Style: Transform Your Instagram Images, Showcase Your Life, and Build the Ultimate Platform

Price: Starting from $9.05

The description says, “With over three million Instagram fans, Aimee Song knows a thing or two about taking the perfect Instagram photo. And Instagram is so much more than a platform for pretty pictures…Including everything from fashion, travel, food, décor, and more, Aimee includes insider tips on curating a gorgeous feed and growing an audience.”

Topics covered:
How to brighten, sharpen, and filter your photos
The best apps and filters
How to prop and style food and fashion photos
Ways to craft your voice and story on Instagram
How to gain more Instagram followers
Secrets behind building a top Instagram brand

 

Photography Inspiration

12 cheap and free photography books for beginners
National Geographic Dawn to Dark Photographs: The Magic of Light

Price: Starting from $2.94

The description says, “Experience shimmering mornings and opaque nights through the eyes of National Geographic’s finest photographers in this gloriously uplifting mini volume. Daybreak whispers mauve over a long ocean horizon. The morning sun twinkles in a drop of dew. The broad heat of midday radiates over a beach strewn with sweat-baked sunbathers. A slender crescent moon caresses a gnarled tree standing alone on the heath.  Full of one-of-a-kind photographs, this breathtaking collection gives readers a front-row seat to the world’s wonders, from its most imposing cityscapes to its most pristine landscapes.”

12 cheap and free photography books for beginners
National Geographic Simply Beautiful Photographs

Price: Starting from $5.29

The description says, “Award-winning photographer Annie Griffiths culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty. Chapters are organized around the aesthetic concepts that create beauty in a photograph: Light, Composition, Moment (Gesture and Emotion), Motion, Palette, and Wonder. Beyond the introduction and brief essays about each featured concept, the text is light. The photographs speak for themselves, enhanced by lyrical quotes from scholars and poets.”

(This book is the #1 New Release in Photojournalism on Amazon!)

12 cheap and free photography books for beginners
Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs

Price: Starting from $8.08

The description says, “The photographs are arranged chronologically into five major periods, from his first photographs made in Yosemite and the High Sierra in 1916 to his work in the National Parks in the 1940s up to his last important photographs from the 1960s…Few artists of any era can claim to have produced four hundred images of lasting beauty and significance. It is a testament to Adams’ vision and lifetime of hard work that a book of this scale can be compiled.”

(Ansel Adams is one of my favorite photographers, so I can vouch for his book!)

I hope these books help! 🙂 Looking back, I definitely should have looked into resources like these when I first started photography, rather than just jumping into it blindly. I would love to hear from anyone who has read any of these or has other resource suggestions, and feel free to contact me or comment below with any questions!

 

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October 10, 2016

Julia

12 Comments

  1. Reply

    Natalie

    October 10, 2016

    Love these! Thank you for sharing great recommendations.

    • Reply

      Julia

      October 10, 2016

      Thank you! 🙂 I hope they help!

  2. Reply

    Corinne

    October 10, 2016

    Looking forward to checking out these recommendations. I like the variety of different photography types.

    • Reply

      Julia

      October 10, 2016

      Thanks! 🙂 I would love feedback on any books you look at!

  3. Reply

    Lisa

    October 11, 2016

    These look great! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Reply

      Julia

      October 11, 2016

      Thank you! 🙂 I hope they help!

  4. Reply

    Stephanie

    October 13, 2016

    I have quite a few photography books, but surprisingly none of these. I am definitely going to look into some of them.

    • Reply

      Julia

      October 13, 2016

      Great! I’d love some feedback if you read any! 🙂

  5. Reply

    Tia @ Retouching Blog

    October 14, 2016

    Great list of books. I’m actually eyeballing the “Capture Your Style” book. It’s a really good price, and I’ve been looking for ways to enhance my Instagram presence. Thank you for the list!

    • Reply

      Julia

      October 14, 2016

      Thanks! I hope these are helpful! 🙂

  6. Reply

    The Sunday Mode

    October 17, 2016

    I love photography but I oddly haven’t read a lot on the topic in book form, just a lot online and a lot of trial and error myself. I like the sound of Aimee’s book though!

    http://www.thesundaymode.com

    • Reply

      Julia

      October 17, 2016

      Yeah I wish I had looked into books when I first started photographing! I hope this list helps!

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