1. For the Portrait Shooter: The Luminous Portrait by Elizabeth Messina. This stunning book was created by renowned wedding photographer Elizabeth Messina. Although she shoots with mostly film, everyone can benefit from her approach to getting her subject comfortable before the shoot and how the best (and often the most simple) setting to create for her subject. With this book we can learn a lot about technical settings, light and styling for each different type of portrait. It's a beautiful, instructional guide that will surely inspire!
2. For the Lighting Enthusiast/Techy: Light Science and Magic by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver and Paul Fugua. This is my favorite technical reference, especially when thinking about lighting spaces. For shooting interiors, it's often better to bring strobes instead of relying exclusively on natural light. This book offers simple guidelines and strategies to shooting with a variety of lighting scenarios. It would be a great gift to someone getting excited about their first light kit or even a person who's just inclined to learn everything about creating different light patterns within their photos.
3. For the Style Shooter/Fashion Obsessed: Closer by Scott Schuman. The contemporary street style Godfather, Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist, does it again with this compelling book of stylish portraits. This book is not of the how-to variety, but anyone interested in photographing fashion can learn a lot from studying the poses, lighting and mood of this book. Scott's diverse collection of portraits have been taken all over the world and showcase a unique swath of dead sexy people. The images are all stunning and leave me wondering how he can connect with his subjects so quickly on the streets. This book is definitely one to add to the shelf!
4. For the Food Shooter: Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin. This is a great book for the beginner food blogger or person who's instagramming every meal. The author covers a range of techniques and set ups, such as shooting with natural light and how to add personality to food with garnishes and props. She even goes into troubleshooting difficult to photograph foods such as ice creams and stews. The pictures are gorgeous and the author breaks down big concepts such as aperture and shutter speed into manageable bite-sized chunks.
Do you have any special photo books you'll be giving or putting on your wish list this year? If so, I'd love to hear about them.
(Images: Book covers courtesy of listed authors)