Holiday Reading and/or Watching Recommendations from the DPE Gang

December 11, 2009

Photo Tips

As the holidays approach, the DPE team wanted to share with you our favorite photography related books and videos. Use this list to drop hints on what you would like for the holidays, or purchase them yourself.

We would also love to hear your suggestions. Make sure to tell us about any great books or videos in the comments.

(Clicking on any of the images or titles will take you to the purchase page for that book/video)

Recommendations by Rick Sammon

Perception and Imaging
by Richard D. Zakia

‘Nuf about f-stops, shutter speeds, Raw vs. JPEGs, white balance, etc. This book – my all time favorite – explores why we like images, what we see in images, and how “perception is everything,” as the old saying goes. Dr. Zakia is a wonderful writer and person. He is my hero. I want to be like him when I grow up.


The Creative Digital Darkroom
by Katrin Eiseman and Sean Duggan

Two of my favorite digital darkroom experts are Karin Eiseman and Sean Duggan. I have seen them both speak.  They are excellent photographers and presents, too. I learned a ton from this book, and I am sure you will do. The intro is by one of the most respected landscape photographers out there, Stephen Johnson – who also can’t say enough nice things about the dynamic duo.


Recommendations by Alan Hess

Trust: Photographs of Jim Marshall
by Dave Brolan

I love concert photography and one of the biggest influences, Jim Marshall, has released a new book, Trust. This collection shows what can happen when the subject trusts the photographer, and the images are amazing. The book is full of images from the legends of Rock and Roll, from the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix both on and off stage. If you are interested in concert photography then this is a must have book.


The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes
by Joe McNally

This is Joe McNally’s second book and concentrates on his use of small flashes, specifically Nikon flashes. While this book might seem to be aimed towards Nikon shooters the information is useful to all photographers, especially those who want learn from the best. While this book isn’t going to give the exact settings for every shot it does gives you the information and thought process behind the lighting.


Recommendations by Rob Knight

Peter Beard: Scrapbooks from Africa And Beyond
by Guillaume Bonn

Not your typical photo book, or your typical photographer. This book and the accompanying DVD documentary are an interesting and candid look at this unconventional photographer. My favorite quote from the book… “I’ve never done anything that I didn’t think could lead to an accident that would be the best thing that ever happened to me.”


The Adobe Photoshop CS4 Book for Digital Photographers
by Scott Kelby

I think this book from Scott Kelby is one of the best ways for a beginning photographer to get started using Adobe Photoshop.




Recommendations by Chris Klapheke

The books I’d like to recommend are not hard copy books–they are ebooks that you can download and read on your computer or book reader.  How’s that for helping the environment?

David duChemin, the author of the best-selling “Within the Frame” has penned 5 ebooks that go for only $5 apiece.

Each of these ebooks are from 28 to 49 pages long and are beautifully laid out. They cover inspiring subjects:  creativity, vision, and improving your craft. David uses his worldwide experience to bring home his ideas in a fresh writing style.

These books are highly entertaining and thought provoking, and at only $5, you’ll probably get them all!


Recommendations by Judy Host

The New Earth from Above: 365 days
by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

By far one of the most beautiful books I’ve seen in a long time.  A whole new perspective on the earth we live on with a whole new appreciation of our lives.  Magnificent!


Adobe Master Class PhotoShop Compositing with John Lund
by John Lund

Very unusual work. Lots of fun and exciting  and successful new concepts for stock photography.




Recommendations by Jeremy Pollack

Light: Science & Magic (3rd Edition)
by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver and Paul Fuqua

I recommend this book to any photographer. It is an incredible exploration of light. Though it is primarily focused on studio lighting techniques the concepts translate to all of photography. Absolutely required reading for any photographer.



Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision
by David duChemin

Many people have already discovered this book, and it almost feels cliche to recommend it at this point. However if you or the photographer in your life have not yet discovered this excellent book, now is the time to do so. David created a book that is more about the experience than about the gear and has helped kick-start a new theme in the photographic community with his simple phrase: Gear is Good, Vision is Better.


Recommendations by Terri Eliker

Surf’s up on Hawaii’s north shore and you can bet Waimea Bay surf pioneer and photographer Clark Little is out there making more magic. LIttle’s first book, The Shorebreak Art of Clark Little, has just arrived and is available for holiday giving. Little uses his surf experience to get right in the curl, producing images that reveal the artistry within the power of these monster waves. The 12″ x 12″ size affords plenty of room to allow these amazing captures to play out across the page.

A limited signature edition is available now for $100, which includes shipping, but make sure to hele (hurry) over to as deliver will take as much as 12 days to the US mainland.

Mele Kalikimaka.


Recommendations by Art Howard

I will leave the photo books to the rest of the gang favoring to share some of my favorite videos. These artist inspire me in different ways.

War Photographer
Starring: James Nachtwey, Christiane Amanpour

A behind the scenes look at one of the worlds best. Nobody takes you closer to the harsh realities of war than James Nachtwey. Cameras mounted to his camera provide a unique perspective to what and how he views the world. In my opinion a must see for any shooter video or still.



Rivers and Tides
Starring: Andy Goldsworthy, Anna Goldsworthy

A look at the world of Andy Goldsworthy. You can’t watch this film and not be inspired by his physical art and the photographs that follow.




Sketches of Frank Gehry by Sydney Pollack
Starring: Frank O. Gehry, Sydney Pollack

A tour through the work and brain of one the most successful architects of the last 20 years. Love him or hate him he has found his vision and stuck with it. The world woke up to his work with Bilboa and our sense of space and light on buildings may never be the same.



Recommendations by Juan Pons

Just to be up-front about it, I am going to recommend two books by some of our own here at DPE. We have such incredible talent here I wanted to make sure you folks had the opportunity to read some of books published by our very own contributors.

Exploring the Light
by Rick Sammon

What can you say about Rick that has not already been said? Master of the camera, and inspirational photographer, and I am not just saying that because he is my partner on DPE. Rick has poured all of his lighting knowledge into this book. As always Rick shows you HOW to make photographs, and how to get the best results in the most challenging of lighting conditions.

Finally, the images in this book are outstanding and there are so many images that the book could easily pass as a Coffee Table book. Great job Rick!


Exposure Digital Field Guide
by Alan Hess

This is a great book for the beginning photographers and for those who want to understand and control their photography. While this book covers the basics of Shutter speed, Aperture and ISO, it goes further by covering specific situations including Event, Portrait, Wedding and Wildlife photography and much more. The book is a great size to tuck into a camera bag and even comes with a built in gray / color checker card. A great read for photographers of all levels.



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This post was written by:

- who has written 347 posts on The Digital Photo Experience.

Juan is a wildlife photographer who currently lives in Maine. Juan lives and breathes photography and travels around the country making images, teaching and leading photo workshops. Juan’s favorite destination is Yellowstone in winter.

You can follow Juan on twitter at

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4 Responses to “Holiday Reading and/or Watching Recommendations from the DPE Gang”

  1. Soren Hedberg Says:

    My copy of “Exploring The Light” by Rick Sammon arrived this morning, along with a copy of “The Photoshop Elements 8 Book For Digital Photographers” by Scott Kelby & Matt Kloskowski. I can’t wait to dig into these two books this weekend!


  2. darrin Says:

    I think I may direct my kids to this page as they look for Christmas presents for me.


  3. Francie Says:

    Thanks so much for these suggestions, I have added a number of them to my Amazon Wish List for family to select from!

    I retire in May 2010 after a 35 year career with state government, and am really excited about developing my passion and enthusiasm for all things digital and Adobe. DPE is a terrific website, I have already learned a great deal, and hope one day to have the opportunity to take a class from both you, Juan, and Rick. You are so generous in sharing your knowledge, as are your other contributors, I really appreciate all that you do.



  1. […] Over at Digital photo Experience, there is a great post on some books for the photographer in your life. Check it out over HERE. […]

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