We live in the digital age of photography. Most of us view tens if not hundreds of images each day. Many would argue that the printed photography book a thing of the past. I disagree, and I would argue that the book is even more important in this digital age. In this article, I will share with you 10 landscape photography books that I think you should read.
While we aren’t quite living in the world that Ray Bradbury envisioned in his novel Fahrenheit 451, the printed book is not as popular as it once was. Our digital devices now allow instant access to a wide variety of media, including photographs.
For many photographers, the image creation process ends when their photograph is uploaded to one of the many photo-sharing services such as Instagram, Flickr and 500px. We also consume other peoples photographs using these services. However, how much time do we spend looking at these photos? I mean really looking at them.
Why Printed Books are Still Important
I am a big advocate of printing your work at home (you can read why in this article here). There is something special about holding and looking at one of your images in print. It is also the same for other peoples work. You can beat the experience of opening up a good book on photography and taking a real long look at the images.
Do not get me wrong, I still look at lots of images online. I think these online services are a wonderful thing and not only do you get to see the work of others but it allows you to connect with other photographers across the globe. We can also use these services wherever we are. We all lead busy lives so we consume our media where and when we can.
This is where the photography book is different. Reading a photography book is a more tactile experience. It is the time where you can make myself a cup of strong black coffee, take a seat beside the window, turn off your devices, and read a really good book on landscape photography. You’ll find yourself looking at those images in more detail as you try to understand the composition or how the photographer used light or even what gear or settings they used. More than anything, it should be an enjoyable experience!
As a landscape photographer I read many books on the subject but here are ten landscape photography books I think you should read.
1. The Causeway Coast
This is one of the newest photography books I have on my bookshelf but it’s already one of my favourites. If you’ve already watched any of Steven Hanna’s YouTube videos you’ll know what a passion he has for his local landscape.
In this book, Steven takes us on a photographic journey along the UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland. It is a beautiful collection of seascape images that should inspire any landscape photographer with a soul to visit the delights of this stunning location.
2. Masters of Landscape Photography
If you are looking for a book that features images from some of the world’s leading landscape photographers, then this is the book for you. In this book, you’ll find images from people such as Art Wolfe, Jonathan Chritchley, Lars Van De Goor, Tom Mackie and Valda Bailey. It’s packed full of stunning landscape images, and each featured photographer gives an insight into their work through a Q&A style interview. It’s sure to be a book that you’ll look through again and again.
3. The Art of Landscape Photography
There are many books on landscape photography technique, but few are as good as this one. The book starts off talking about the basics of gear but soon starts diving into important lessons on composition. The chapters are short and easy to consume but don’t lack detail. There should be something for everyone with chapters on light, balance, lines, and even the rule of odds. It’s also packed with inspiring images.
4. Landscape Photographer of the Year: 10 Year Special Edition
This book is a collection of images from the very prestigious Landscape Photographer of the Year competition. The competition receives 10,000’s of entries every year and it celebrates the very best of landscape images taken in the UK. Every year the competition produces a book showcasing the winning and commended images, but I have selected the 10-year special edition as it has some of the very best images from the history of the competition.
If you just want to look at amazing and inspiring landscape photographs, then this is the book for you.
5. Scotland's Finest Landscapes: The Collector's Edition: 25 Years
Scotland was recently voted the most beautiful country in the world and with good reason. However, you can’t talk about landscape photography in Scotland without talking about the king of Scottish mountain photography Colin Prior. In this amazing book, Colin displays over 200 of this very best photographs including some truly jaw-dropping panoramas. If this book doesn’t inspire you to visit Scotland nothing will.
6. Dronescapes: The New Aerial Photography
Love them or loathe them, drones are here to stay and they are making a big impact on photography. Here on ImprovePhotography.com, we’ve published articles on composing photographs with a drone and shown you a selection of landscape shots you can only get with a drone.
If you are looking for even more inspiration then you should get yourself a copy of Dronescapes. It features images curated from the hugely popular Dronestagram website and has some of the best drone images from across the globe.
7. The Earth from the Air
Before there were drones the only way to get good aerial photographs was to go up in a helicopter. This monster of a book is a collection of aerial photographs taken over a 5-year period across 5 continents and sixty countries. Though the book has a wide variety of photographs, it’s the landscape images that really shine. Some of the landscape images are taken from a height that drones can only dream off.
This book is full of unique and awe-inspiring images that show the beauty and variety of landscapes across the globe. Just make sure you have plenty of room on your bookshelf for this large, heavy hardback book.
8. This Land: Landscape Wonders of Britain
For those of you who like a good read as well as to look at amazing landscape images, you won’t go far wrong with this book by renowned British landscape photographer, Joe Cornish. In this book, Joe shares some of his finest landscape images from all over the UK. There is everything there from intimate landscapes, seascapes, and grand mountain vistas. Photographs are accompanied by detailed explanations from Roly Smith on how the land and vegetation create the distinctive landforms shown in the images.
Though it might be the smallest book on this list, it’s certainly not light on content. This fantastic book by landscape and advertising photographer Julian Claverley is a collection of landscape images taken using just an iPhone. The book clearly shows that Julian has a keen eye for the landscape around him and that the person behind the camera is more important than the camera itself. So if you think your camera is the limiting factor in your photography this book may change your mind.
#IPHONEONLY by Julian Calverley is available from juliancalverley.com (ISBN 978-0-992911102)
10. Landscape Photography On Location: Travel, Learn, Explore, Shoot
Though I’ve talked mostly about the printed book in this article, I have decided to include this digital-only book as my last entry. Many of you will know Thomas Heaton from his incredibly popular landscape photography YouTube channel and his first outing into book publishing is a good one. In the book, Thomas not only shares some of his best photos but also the interesting and often inspiring stories behind them. The book also covers gear and techniques as well tips on how to use social media to get your images seen.
What are your favourite landscape photography books? We would LOVE for you to post them in the Improve Your Photography Facebook Community!