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Whether you're an experienced professional or starting to get into photography: there are always new things you can learn about taking pictures. Photography books are great tools to improve one’s technique. This list is a selection of books intended for all photographers looking to overcome common portraiture challenges like those of lighting and posing.

01. The Portrait Photography Course: Principles, practice, and techniques

The Portrait Photography Course is designed to build a student photographer’s experience and get them started on a rewarding career. Detailed tutoriales cover every aspect of studio and location work, from composition and psychology to complex lighting schemes, equipment options, and digital retouching. Examples of portfolios showcase photographers’ work and demonstrate techniques, while interviews with top portrait photographers shed insight into their methodologies.  

Publisher: Peachpit Press | Author: Mark Jenkinson | Release Date: 2011 | ISBN-13: 978-0321766663

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02. The Secrets to Creating Amazing Headshot Portraits 

In this book, photographer Peter Hurley shows his positioning techniques and his secrets on how to light headshots like a professional. With him, we discover how to get genuine smiles and flattering positions that make the clients look natural and happy.  

Publisher: New Riders | Author: Peter Hurley | Release Date: 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-0133928518

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03. Digital photography for dummies

Whether photographing with a point–and–shoot or digital SLR camera, this bestseller is packed with tips, advice, and insight that is not found in camera manuals. Filled with information about finding gear that best suits each photographer’s needs, working with focus and exposure, editing and correcting images, and how to print at home, amateur photographers will learn how to photograph like a professional from A to Z. 

Publisher: For Dummies | Author: Doug Sahlin | Release Date: 2009 | ISBN-13: 978-1681982144

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04. The Photographer's Guide to Posing

Posing is a crucial skill that photographers need to have in order to create great portraits. Having a great composition, a perfect light and the right camera settings aren’t enough if the subject does not look right. The author, Lindsay Adler, dives into posing essentials, discusses how the camera sees, and thus how camera angle, lens choice, and perspective all affect the appearance of your subject. 

Publisher: Rocky Nook | Author: Lindsay Adler | Release Date: 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1681981949

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05. Picture Perfect Lighting

In Picture Perfect Lighting, Roberto Valenzuela has created a truly original system for understanding and controlling light in photography. He introduces the five key behaviors of light and a detailed analysis of how to break down the circumstantial light around you. With his method, the quality of light can be determined in any given situation and therefore, allowing the ability to master it. 

Publisher: Rocky Nook | Author: Roberto Valenzuela | Release Date: 2016 | ISBN-13: 978-1937538750

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06. The Luminous Portrait 

From wedding and portrait photographer Elizabeth Messina leads this guide to shooting romantic portraits exclusively in natural light. Whether it’s photographing children, weddings, maternity or portraits of any kind, The Luminous Portrait will inspire with Elizabeth’s personal approach, sharing the art to making flattering portraits that appear “lit from within.”

Publisher: Amphoto Books | Author: Elizabeth Messina | Release Date: 2012 | ISBN-13: 978-0817400125

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07. POSE!: 1,000 Poses for Photographers and Models

This book demonstrates exactly how to get the right pose―from hand and leg placement, to a subtle tilt of the chin, to engaging with props and the environment around the subject. With over 1,000 different looks to recreate and experiment with, it covers a wide range of poses to help direct a subject or to find photographic inspiration. 

Publisher: Rocky Nook | Author: Mehmet Eygi | Release Date: 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1681984285

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Cover photo: Yrsa Daley Ward
© Erik Tanner for The New York Times

 

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