We’ve scoured the web to create the ultimate list of free photography books in 2023.
There’s never been a better time to learn how to get into photography – the wealth of information available on the Internet for zero cost is just staggering!
From free photography books for beginners to more advanced tutorials and guides for seasoned amateur photographers, there are plenty of educational and entertaining photography ebooks (free download links included).
Over 250 fun & informative eBooks to help improve your photography. (Every genre covered)
We’ll be keeping this list of photography books updated as the year progresses and we come across more titles.
If you have any good recommendations, please leave them in the comments below so everyone can benefit.
You may also like to check out these coffee table books on photography.
Table of Contents
Best Free Photography Books in 2023
Night sky photography has been all the rage recently, especially over Instagram. No doubt you’ll have seen beautiful long exposure shots of the milky way or flying comets. Learn from a professional night sky photography with this excellent free ebook PDF from Photzy.
2. Selling Fine Art Photography – by PhotoShelter
Fine art photography is a way for the photographer to express his or her work as an artist, without the constraints of a particular genre. Selling fine art photography can be a lucrative venture if conducted well, and in this free ebook you’ll learn some of the tips to making your first sale.
3. The Photographer’s Guide to Copyright – by PhotoShelter
Make sure you know where you stand regarding the law and your ownership of images. PhotoShelter pumps out the free photography books, and this is one of many they offer. See also: how to copyright photos online.
4. The Camera Buying Guide – by Photo Concentrate
Whilst guides such as these quickly go out of date, this one by Photo Concentrate contains some useful tips on your next camera purchase that are still very much relevant today.
5. Selling Stock Photography: A Guide to Licensing Images From Your Archive – by PhotoShelter
There’s a lot of money to be made from stock photography. It’s a rare photographic passive income source, which can allow you to make money even as you sleep. Here’s a handy guide on how to get started.
6. Good Photos in Bad Light – by Darwin Wiggett
I love the title of this free photography ebook which includes plenty of tips and tricks on how to get the most out of every lighting situation you find yourself in. Essential reading for all the budding wedding photographers out there.
7. Guide to Portrait Photography Basics – by Adorama
No matter what your level as a photographer, it’s always possible to improve. This free guide on portrait photography from Adorama can help both beginners and advanced photographers alike, with easy to follow guides on developing and maintaining a solid foundation of portrait photography. Definitely something for everyone.
8. Photo Business Plan Workbook – by Photo Shelter
This one may have been written a few years ago, but the advice is still relevant. It’s a step-by-step guide to help you implement a rock-solid business plan, target the photo clients you want, and land more gigs.
This photography workbook PDF is great for beginners who are just starting out their business or even established photogs who are looking to make the most out of their business.
9. 8 Types Of Natural Light That Will Add Drama To Your Photographs – by Anne McKinnell
Who’d have though there were so many different types of natural light? Anne describes the best way to use your camera in different natural lighting situations in this useful free photography ebook available on iTunes.
10. Before The Shutter: Planning Your Next Travel Photography Adventure by Anne McKinnell
An interesting read on a topic that’s not very often discussed – the planning that goes behind a photography trip. You’ll learn essential tips and techniques to get the most from your next trip, so you’ll be well prepared before you even pick up your camera.
11. Starting a Photography Business – by PhotoShelter
These guys know what they’re talking about when it comes to building a successful photography business. If you need a hand with where to start, check out this free ebook.
12. Insights from Beyond the Lens – Inside The Art and Craft of Landscape Photography – by Robert Rodriguez Jr
This free ebook offers an entertaining read about a journey to discover the art, craft and passion that lies behind landscape photography. What’s more, the images inside are simply stunning.
One of the things that makes great photo books PDF files is a combination of technical insight and passion for photography. This book doesn’t skip on either!
13. The Ultimate Social Media Guide For Photographers – by PhotoJaanic
Even though the online landscape is constantly and rapidly changing, this 2018 guide offers a lot of useful information to help guide you through the social media maze. It covers best practices for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, with practical examples and plenty of marketing tips.
14. The Heart of Portraiture: Examples of Portrait Photography – by Don Giannatti
20 examples of portrait photography and a discussion on the technique and thought process that went into shooting them, all from photographer and author of Lighting Essentials, Don Giannatti.
I’ve got a few portrait photography books as a PDF free download in this list, but this one is one of my favorites.
15. Photography Tips For Beginning Photographers, Amateur Photographers & Experienced Amateur Photographers – by Kalem Aquil
A bit of a broad-ranging free photography ebook this one, but still, it has some useful advice to offer – especially for the beginner photographer or those just using cheaper cameras and mobile phones.
16. Street Photography for the Purist – by Chris Weeks
A collection of raw and gritty black and white photos, including commentary on technique by this street photographer.
Street photography is a style driven by a strong sense of aesthetics and honest approaches to capturing people and scenes as they are. Dive into this photography books download and get a taste of what it’s like to capture these iconic images.
17. 15 Incredible Bird Photography Tips For Beginners – by Prathap
I’m not sure if the tips really are that ‘incredible’, but nevertheless, if you’re interested in bird photography this free ebook will give you 15 ideas to think about before clicking the shutter.
18. Exposure: Understanding Light – by Nigel Hicks
A detailed explanation in this free photography ebook from a 4 part course that delves into the somewhat complex topic of light, and why it’s the photographer’s number one ally.
19. HDR Top Tips by Klaus Herrmann
Similar to exposure blending is the technique of HDR photography. Learn how to get the most punch out of the dynamic range of your camera’s files and learn how to do HDR photography in this interesting book of tips – check out our Aurora HDR review for more tips.
20. Introduction to External Flash Photography – by Photo Extremist
The complicated topic of off camera flash photography made easier to understand. Essential reading in this free photography ebook.
This is a staple photography books for beginners PDF, but experienced photogs can get a lot out of this book. Give this photography epub a read and never feel intimidated by off camera flash again!
21. Photoshop CS6 Essential Skills – by Mark Galer & Philip Andrews
Taken from the book of the same name, this introduction to the essential skills of Photoshop CS6 includes guides on useful post processing techniques such as colour grading, tilt-shift, faux Holga, lens flare and several more. If you’re interested in improving the look of your photos using Photoshop, this free ebook available on the iTunes store is a good one.
22. Lightroom Tips – by Shotkit
This one’s an ebook that we converted into an article – you’ll be able to learn a handful of useful tips and tricks to make your Lightroom experience more efficient and enjoyable.
While you’re looking for more photography books for free, why not check out the other guides here at Shotkit!
23. Photography for Beginners – by Joseph Scolden
Not everyone who visits Shotkit is an experienced photographer. For those of you who are picking up a dSLR camera for the first time, this free photography book could be of use to you. This easy to follow
photography course book—PDF format available—teaches you the necessary fundamentals in modern photography.
The author goes into detail about the main functions of a dSLR camera, and how you can use them to take your first photo. If you’re just starting out, you might also be interested in this post on the best cameras under $500.
This list is full of great photography books for beginners free downloads, but Scolden’s book is great for the absolute beginner.
24. 10 Tips to Improve your Travel Photography – by Michael Chia
I wasn’t expecting much from this short photo book that’s available for free on iTunes, but I was pleasantly surprised. As well as the 10 useful tips to improve your photography while on holiday, the ebook also contains some really good photos – vibrant, well composed and of interesting subjects. Definitely one to install on your iPad for some holiday reading.
Sometimes, a short photography PDF download is all you need to get the creative juices flowing.
25. Lighting Essentials – by UNSW
It’s strange that an Australian university should have a free book on photography available in iTunes, but I’m glad they do! Lighting Essentials covers the primary concepts involved with video and photography lighting, including the use of continuous light sources and flash. Each chapter ends with a useful quiz to test your newly acquired knowledge on the topic. This is one of the best photography ebooks for improving your understanding of lighting.
26. Black & White Fine Art Photography of Highton Ridley – by Highton Ridley
Highton Ridley is a well-known BBC-commissioned and award-winning photographer who is worth checking out. In this ebook he explores the intimate relationship between light and shadow through some of his best pieces.
A few free photography books PDF downloads focus on the work of accomplished photographers. Nothing boosts your skills quite like seeing how your favorite artists work behind the scenes!
27. History and Practice of the Art of Photography – by Henri Hunt Snelling
In order to break the rules you must first master them. It’s more or less the same when it comes to the history of the art of photography. In this ebook you’ll learn not only about the basic rules, but also how to put them into practice and how to use your knowledge to keep yourself at the top of your photography game.
Reading free photography books online is a great way to get acquainted with the history of our art.
28. The Shy Photographer’s Guide To Confidence – by Lauren Lim
This one’s been around for a while but the information is just as relevant today as ever. Photographers are often introverted characters, and this free photography ebook gives advice on how to gain the confidence to interact with your subject and become a better photographer.
29. Airplane Photography – by Herbert Eugene Ives
This one is definitely an interesting read to stumble upon on the internet. It sheds some light on how things used to be before the drone era. Here you can learn which lenses are suitable for aerial photography, what kind of filers you should use or how light distributes in the aerial view.
Even if you won’t be taking pictures from a plane any time soon, this photography PDF free download is a fascinating read!
30. Ultimate Field Guide to Photography – by National Geographic
This one is a truly great resource to take advantage of. Here you’ll be able to find very useful pieces of advice concerning topics like “What type of lens do I need?” or “Understanding histograms”. Just keep in mind that the guide is more suitable for beginners.
31. Starting a Photography Business – by Matt Whatley, John Harrington, Greg Smith and Frank Meo
This guide could be a great starting point if you’ve decided to run your own business. It’s divided into two sections: in the first one you can enjoy expert advice from the four authors and in the second one you can get inspired by six real life stories of photographers who struggled, but succeeded to maintain a successful business.
A photography ebook free download that focusses on the business side of things is a great first step for anyone looking to take their photography to the professional level.
32. Street photography – by Daniel Hoffmann
Here you can take a breather from all the gear talks. In this ebook the author intentionally focuses more on the photos themselves and not on the technical side of things. Under each image featured you’ll see a comment both from Ronald Beams and Daniel Hoffmann.
33. Close-up and Macro Photography – by Michael Erlewine
If you’re someone who’s fascinated by the technical aspects of photography then probably you’ll be naturally interested in this guide. Here you can find all sorts of information concerning close-up and macro photography – from focus stacking to panorama problems.
Beginners who want to jump right into macro photography can even start with this photography book PDF.
34. The Photographer’s Guide to Facebook – by Photoshelter
If you run a photography business or you’re simply trying to attract more attention to your work, Facebook can definitely help. In this guide you’ll learn how to engage your audience and also you’ll be able to read about some successful examples of other photographers who have used Facebook to promote their skills and talent.
35. Post Exposure – by Ctein
This ebook is a great read if you want to learn more about post-processing. It all starts with detailed explanations on how we perceive colour and how the camera “sees” it.
This is one of my favorite photography books free download because it gives you a much deeper insight into just what you can accomplish with post-processing.
36. 7 Simple Ways To Market Your Wedding Photography Business – by Photography Concentrate
Even if you’re an experienced Wedding Photographer, there’s still room for improvement with your marketing. Learn some helpful hints in this useful free ebook by Photography Concentrate.
All of these photography books PDF downloads can boost your skills, but this one is basically a photography textbook PDF for anyone wanting to get into the business of wedding photography.
37. Wildflower Photography – by Steve Berardi
There’s a lot of information out there concerning the wide-spread photography topics but not such a great variety when it comes down to the less popular ones. In this guide you’ll have the opportunity to get specific: the author reveals 13 useful tips for creating the perfect wildflower photographs.
38. Motivational Essays on Photography – by Scott Bourne
One more gem for people who don’t recognize the technical stuff as the most important aspect of photography. Here you’ll find 10 great essays on inspiration, creativity, storytelling and vision: the real essentials.
This is one of the best free photo books if you’ve been stuck in a creative slump.
39. Introduction to Night Photography Ideas – by Alister Benn
Night photography is a whole different universe and it could also be a great source of inspiration. With this ebook you’ll dive into the mysteries of night shooting and you’ll also get familiar with the must-have equipment you’ll need.
40. Urban Exploration – by Neil Ta
Urbex, as it’s known, is a fast-growing photography niche and this free ebook does a great job in introducing it. Don’t be surprised if it makes you want to go out and grab a compass and map…
Urbex is a bold way to explore your photography, but this digital photography books free download is a great way to discover interesting photography topics you might not have considered until now!
41. 6 Tips to Make Your Clouds Appear Dramatic – by Photzy
Here’s another great free photo ebook by Photzy which will help bring some drama to the clouds in your landscape photography. All the tips are simple to understand and to implement. If you’re interested in learning more, check out our Photzy Action Cards Review – a fun way to advance your photography skills to the next level.
42. How to Photograph Strangers – by Photzy
If you want to improve as a street photographer, it’s important that you gain confidence photographing strangers. The tips in this fantastic little ebook are also useful for other genres of photography where people are involved.
Even if you don’t plan on doing much street photography, this photography PDF can help give you a confidence boost. Confidence is key no matter what style of photography you shoot!
Free Photography eBooks | Final Words
It’s great that here in 2023 there are so many excellent ebooks on various aspects of photography… and they’re available for free! If you’ve got a tablet or smartphone, download a selection of them as photography PDF books to read later.
While getting stuff for free is obviously amazing, don’t forget to invest a little in your photography education too. Whether that means purchasing books, enrolling in courses, or attending workshops, spending a little on improving at your favourite hobby is always a good idea.
I hope you enjoyed the guide – please remember to share it with a friend ;-)