5 Essential Books For Portrait Photographers
The internet has made it much simpler for budding David Baileys to improve their skills without the need to go to college or visit the library, but that doesn’t mean that we should disregard books as a source of knowledge and inspiration. Referencing the masters is a great way to expand our understanding and motivate us to improve, so this week we’ve picked five books we think that every portrait photographer should own.
Gregory Heisler – 50 Portraits: Stories and Techniques from a Photographer’s Photographer
As soon as you catch sight of the captivating portrait on the cover sleeve of this book you know that it’s one you’ll be referencing again and again. One of the true modern masters, Heisler talks us through the process of setting up and capturing some of the most famous people alive as he presents 50 of his favourite portraits and the stories behind them.
Dan Winters – Road to Seeing (Voices That Matter)
Former photojournalist, Dan Winters, uses light, colour and texture in a way that sets him apart from the crowd, and in his first book he takes us on a journey to discovering real meaning in our work. Featuring jaw-dropping set design alongside an almost painterly approach to lighting, this is a truly inspirational book that requires careful reading to reveal its secrets… but it’s well worth the effort.
Malcolm Rogers – Karsh Yousef – A Biography in Images
Yousef Karsh rose from humble beginnings to become the most famous portrait photographer of the 20th century. Responsible for virtually every iconic portrait from the last century, Karsh can rightly be called the father of modern portraiture. This great book showcases all of his best work as well as telling the story of his life.
Joe McNally – The Moment it Clicks
The Moment it Clicks is a modern masterpiece from one of the most engaging, humble and successful photographers of all time. Joe’s technical skill is apparent throughout, but it’s the little nuggets of wisdom he imparts on every page that makes this a book every environmental portrait photographer should own. Often working under extreme pressure, Joe delivers time and again – and teaches you how to do the same.
Annie Leibovitz – A Photographer’s Life 1990-2005
Annie once said that she would not be able to capture the images she does without first falling in love with her subjects, and that very essence of a photographer who’s intimately engaged with her client shines through all of her work. Annie’s use of light is exemplary, and her desire to take risks with her subjects gives her work a real edge. This book is a fine example of a photographer who’s willing to change style through the years instead of resting on her laurels. Annie’s a real inspiration. We hope that these suggestions find their way to your bookcase and lead you to become a better photographer. You never know, you might find that in a few years a canvas of yours is hanging on a gallery wall!
11 February, 2021