6 Must-Read Film Photography Books


Many years before the Internet was born, amateur and professional photographers turned to instructional books in search of tips and tricks. Decades later, despite the convenience and prevalence of the world wide web, some of these books have remained useful to film photographers of all ages and skill levels. From composition tips, ABC’s of film photography, creating beautiful prints, to building your own darkroom, these books have still got you covered. So, if you love both reading and analogue photography, or are simply looking for more useful tips, take note of these interesting film photography reads. If you come across one of these dusty gems in a bookstore, vintage shop, thrift store, or online make sure you grab a copy and start leafing through its pages, you will be amazed by what secrets you learn!

Photo via WantItAll

The Basic Techniques of Photography: The Ansel Adams Guidebooks by John P. Schaefer

If you like shooting landscapes and nature, the Ansel Adams Guidebooks should be of interest to you. Ansel Adams, one of the most prominent photographers of his time, was best known for his black-and-white photos of the Yosemite National Park and other landscapes of the American West. Yes, you read that right — landscapes in black-and-white. How exactly do you take tasteful nature photographs without color? Let Adams and his close friend/collaborator John Schaefer tell you. Dive into the world of black and white photography, cameras, lenses and techniques in these two guidebooks.

Photo via Amazon.com

Existing Light Photography (The Kodak Workshop Series) by Hubert C. Birnbaum

Capturing photos in existing or ambient light is one of the biggest challenges one can ever face in film photography. But with this book, readers will learn about high-speed films and how to use them, how to handle cameras and reduce shake, which films to use according to lighting, and even exposure recommendations for usual light conditions. This book would be particularly helpful to those who want to try indoor and outdoor night photography.

Photo via BestPhotographyBooks.com

Build Your Own Darkroom by Lista Duren & Will McDonald

Do you want to have your very own darkroom? Grab a copy of this book and you’re all set. As its title suggests, this book covers everything about darkroom construction, from design to operation. Written to be useful and detailed enough for photographers of all levels, this book may just be the key to building that dream darkroom.

Photo via Amazon.com

The Darkroom Handbook by Michael Langford

Some say the essence of film photography lies in the darkroom experience. If you want to know how things are done in the darkroom, let this fully illustrated manual be your guide. Covering everything from the basics (such as setting up the darkroom, putting film inside the loading tank, chemical handling) to advanced techniques (such as dye transfer prints and pointillism). After building that dream darkroom, grab this book and start developing your own films!

Photo via Good Reads

The Joy of Photography by Eastman Kodak Company

Kodak came up with this book back when compact 35 mm cameras were first starting to gain popularity. By then, most controls had been made electronic with automatic features — making film cameras easier to use. Nevertheless, Kodak continued to emphasize that creativity is still necessary for taking great photos. Those who want to explore the functions and capabilities of their point-and-shoot 35 mm film cameras may find this book useful.

Have you read any of these film photography books? Share your thoughts, reviews, and insights with us in the comment section!

written by plasticpopsicle on 2011-05-10 #books #lifestyle #tips #reading #vintage #lomography #guides #analogue-lifestyle


  1. nicolas_noir
    nicolas_noir ·

    All old, but no doubt still relevant - however for more up to date books I recommend Kevin Meredith's Hot Shots and his other books, as they are focussed on LC-A and other lomo cameras and processes!

  2. willyboy
    willyboy ·

    Informative article. Think the Adams book is worth a looksie.

  3. discodrew
    discodrew ·

    I've got Hot Shots by Lomo Kev too and regularly dip in for inspiration.

  4. beblo
    beblo ·

    What I do is type on the [search box] any photography subject/topic I am interested to read at the moment. I learned a lot 'reading on the internet'. The internet is just like a library. It has a lot of information for anyone who likes to read.

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