"Photography is an art; but it's better than an art, it's the solar phenomenon where the artist collaborates with the sun" Alphonse de Lamartine

  • You're passionate about images and art and want to discover how to take beautiful shots with your SLR camera?
  • What if you did some photography training with a photo manual?

Regardless of the discipline being taught, books remains an essential tool for assimilating techniques and advice from photo professionals.

The manual is not only a first introduction to the art of photography, but also lists many different photography tips.

For a budget between £15 and £30, the beginner in photography can buy an effective photo manual. It's all about choosing the right one.

Read our advice if you are looking to acquire a quality photo textbook and become a  professional photographer!

Photo Learning Book: "Learning Photography" by Nicolas Croce

Learn to take beautiful shots with a textbook!

Entrepreneur and photography enthusiast Nicolas Croce helps students with a concise manual full of photo lessons and photo ops. Why not take a Chicago photo lesson to learn the basics of photography.

This photography tutor has his own blog, where you can find tips and additional advice on framing, photos in manual mode, automatic mode, or choosing a tripod.

Creativity, autonomy, work...many photo concepts are addressed by this self-taught photographer!

In addition to this bestseller, Nicolas Croce has also published "Lightroom" and "Long Exposure" for those of you who want to further improve your mastery of the diaphragm and focal length. Do not hesitate to buy his books to learn photography technique for beginners (depth of field, shutter speed, natural light...).

The positive points:

  • Rapid progression for students,
  • Understandable exercises for a beginner level,
  • Beautiful pictures with illustrations,
  • Tips for taking beautiful pictures,
  • An explanation of the settings on the DSLR camera.

The negative points:

  • Lack of photos illustrating the exercises,
  • Requires a significant amount of work.

Do not hesitate to inquire about the history of photography before you start learning.

"Frame and Set off! Photography Step by Step" by Anne-Laure Jacquart

Recognized as a photographer, Anne-Laure Jacquart has been taking photos for over twelve years and has received honorary awards for her work as a professional photographer!

Anne-Laure Jacquart brings her personal touch to photography thanks to a particular aesthetic that ranges from flash photography to black and white photos.

She has a blog devoted to this theme, and she helps students to adjust their SLR camera (soft focus, sharpness of the image, photo studio or natural light) and to work on their creativity.

Blog visitors can also learn about post processing and photo editing step by step. She explains that post-production is essential to change the interpretation of certain photographs. Anne-Laure Jacquart's work is beneficial to any new learner!

The positive points:

  • A very complete photo book,
  • Clear explanations - not too technical,
  • Many illustrations (more than 350 photos),
  • Different lines of thought for the budding photographer,
  • Comparative photos for a critical eye.

The negative points:

  • Limited to tips for beginners,
  • No explanatory diagrams on the operation of a device.

"Photo Class in 20 Weeks" by David Taylor, Paul Lowe, Paul Sanders, and Tracy Hallett

Why not learn photography with photographers recognized worldwide?

What if you learned photography in just a few weeks?

Paul Sanders is a professional photographer specializing in art photography who uses the techniques of film photography to take beautiful shots in black and white.

Paul Lowe is a photojournalist specializing in photo reporting; his mastery of the device has earned him the World Press Photo Award four times, especially for his nature photos.

An independent photographer, Tracy Hallett works for various magazines and is interested in urban and natural landscape photography and British flora.

Finally, David Taylor is a photographer published in dozens of photography journals, but also the author of twenty books devoted to professional beginner photography training.

In short, there four are real pros to help you progress quickly in the art of photography!

The positive points:

  • Learn digital photography quickly,
  • Evocation of different digital devices,
  • A convincing format (lesson - exercise - practice sheet - MCQ),
  • Glossy pages,
  • Easy to understand for the beginners.

The negative points:

  • Photoshop instead of Lightroom,
  • The post-production explanation.


"Learning how to Shoot Digital Photography" by Jean-Marie Sepulchre

What if you learned macro photography, focus, and white balance with a photo technique textbook?

With foolproof seriousness and a regular practice, you will be able to learn photography from a textbook.

Since 1974, Jean-Marie Sepulcher has been the head of many photo clubs for advanced or beginner levels.

He is the author of many photography books and has published many autodidactic photo books that teach how to photograph with your smartphone, SLR camera, or discover analog photography.

Jean-Marie Sepulcher also publishes e-books on specific cameras, which are very practical if you are looking to learn.

Finally, Jean-Marie Sepulcher has a blog that is accessible to all and contains expert advice straight from his learning manuals. Here, the reader can compare the photo quality of two models, study the composition of a device, or take a free introductory course (via the photo tutorial and photo workshops in NYC) without going through a traditional photo school.

The blog provides quick access to the author's various publications as well as their content.

The positive points:

  • A simple and educational guide,
  • Help with choosing between different cameras,
  • Explanation of the functions on your device,
  • Perfect for those who do not like taking analog photography,
  • Advanced photo techniques (bridge, reflex, compact...).

The negative points:

  • Very general advice, not detailed enough for those who are experts in photography,
  • Lack of instruction for post production.

Online photo classes can be useful for acquiring more photography theory.

"Photographing Animals, Flora, and Natural Landscapes. Getting Equipped in Order to Learn to Master Photography."

Learn the history of photography and the mastery of nature photography and wildlife photography with these experts!

As a general rule, the photographic learner begins by taking pictures of what surrounds him or her, whether it is a park near his or her home, a street, or a forest.

This great guide, particularly detailed, is ideal to develop your aesthetics, your critical sense, and your creativity step by step.

Go on an adventure with your SLR camera!

These authors know what they are talking about. Ivan Roux was the deputy editor for the magazine "Science and Macro Life" then editor-in-chief of "Photography" magazine.

Maeva Destombes is a journalist practicing photojournalism and food photography.

Finally, Jacques Harbonn is a journalist for the video game magazines, as well as scientific and computer science journals.

Become a pro with photography courses.

But before we give you the positive and negative points of this fifth book, why not take a look at some of PetaPixel's best photo tips:

1. Get in close

It was the famous photojournalist Robert Capa who once said “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” He was talking about getting in amongst the action. If you feel like your images aren’t ‘popping’, take a step or two closer to your subject. Fill the frame with your subject and see how much better your photo will look without so much wasted space. The closer you are to the subject, the better you can see their facial expressions too. 

2. Shoot every day

The best way to hone your skills is to practice. A lot. Shoot as much as you can – it doesn’t really matter what. Spend hours and hours behind your camera. As your technical skills improve over time, your ability to harness them to tell stories and should too. 
Don’t worry too much about shooting a certain way to begin with. Experiment. Your style – your ‘voice’ – will emerge in time. And it will be more authentic when it does. — Leah Robertson

3. See the light

Before you raise your camera, see where the light is coming from, and use it to your advantage. Whether it is natural light coming from the sun, or an artificial source like a lamp; how can you use it to make your photos better? How is the light interacting with the scene and the subject? Is it highlighting an area or casting interesting shadows? These are all things you can utilise to make an ordinary photo extraordinary. 

4. Ask permission

When photographing people, especially while in countries with different cultures and languages, it can be hard to communicate. In certain countries if you photograph someone you are not ‘supposed’ to photograph, it can get ugly and rough very quickly if you are not careful. So out of respect you should always ask permission. 

I have started shooting a series of school children in Pakistan. These are all posed portraits and they are looking down the lens. My guide helps me with the language and I limit myself to smiling, shaking hands, giving ‘hi-five’ and showing them the image on the back of my camera once it is done. You would be amazed how quickly people open up. — Andrea Francolini 

The positive points:

  • SLR camera settings shown on each photo,
  • 8 concise pages on sensors, zoom, and all the basic photo techniques,
  • A description of photo equipment that is accessible to all,
  • Chapters defined by thematics,
  • Analysis of shooting in situations of every kind.

The negative points:

  • The price may be too high for a simple beginner,
  • Too many themes for some students looking for a specific type of shot.

Why not take out your digital camera and go for your first introductory photography course London?


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As an Englishman in Paris, I enjoy growing my knowledge of other languages and cultures. I'm interested in History, Economics, and Sociology and believe in the importance of continuous learning.