Simply put, this is a list of stuff I like.... books, software and/or services I actually use or have used... for anyone who might be interested in learning more about photography. I've learned a lot from these resources and recommend them whole-heartedly.


Photography Books

Understanding Exposure - Start here if you're totally new to photography. It's the best book I've read on the fundamentals of capturing images. It covers creative exposures, shutter speed, metering, learning to "see light" and more. The author does a great job of explaining the terms with analogies that make sense - so the information sticks. My copy is the 3rd Edition, but there's a 4th Edition available too.

Vision & Voice - This is the best book I've read on post-processing. It's not a how-to book, but the author takes readers through his process step by step, sharing his thoughts on how he refines a selection of very different images. It offers great insight on how Lightroom works, and it's very likely to give you some ideas on how you might discover your own way of post-processing.

Photography Q&A - Of all the photography books I've read so far (a lot), this is my favorite. Zack Arias is a no-bullshit kind of guy, and in this compilation of 100 questions asked by his blog readers - he goes in depth and tells it like it is. It's equal parts tough love + inspiration. Really good stuff.


Misc Resources

Craft & Vision - What started as a modest website with a few eBook offerings has now become a terrific library of resources. Most are available for $15-25. Pioneered by David duChemin, topics range from developing your own unique vision to creating prints. I've purchased at least a dozen books from their collection in the last several years and none of them have disappointed. Workshops, a podcast and a blog have also been added.

Clickin Moms - This one won't appeal to everyone (since it's obviously geared toward women) but it's a very friendly community of shooters who are almost fanatical about sharing tips, ideas, inspiration, critiques, encouragement, experiences and their love of the craft. CM also has a large library of educational courses and Breakout Sessions, which are like miniature self-study classes. Most of the content within the CM network is focused on portraiture.

Classes / Videos

creativeLive - This site has been my go-to source of learning since 2012. The courses, instructors and presentation are all top notch. Even better, all courses are FREE to watch during the live broadcast, and very reasonably priced thereafter. If you choose to buy a course, it's yours to stream as often as you want. A pretty sweet deal.

The Art of Photography - This is a great Youtube channel for anyone interested in learning more about the history of photography, discussions on different photographic styles or genres, taking part in community projects, etc. Too many channels do gear reviews and talk about technicals... this channel centers around the artistry of the craft.

Photos in Color - A light-hearted channel with loads of excellent content on Lightroom and Photoshop. It has a little bit of everything, from beginner tutorials to more advanced stuff like color grading. The videos are concise and well presented, but not overwhelming. I've picked up a lot of great tips from this channel.

Thomas Heaton - You might call this a vlog, but it doesn't fit the typical vlog format. It's more of an ongoing follow-along adventure. Thomas is a prolific landscape photographer who produces some amazing work. In his vids he often discusses his process, some of the pitfalls of being a landscape/freelance photographer and he has a positive approach and a great outlook on life.


Editing Software

Lightroom / Photoshop - What can I say about these tools that hasn't already been stated a million times across the net? There are many different photo editors to choose from, but I consider this combo indispensable. I do 90-100% of my post-processing in LR. Depending on whether the image needs advanced refinement or retouching, I'll take it into PS. Done and done.

A note on presets: The preset industry has become a huge sidecar business in photography,  but I would caution anyone to avoid relying on them too much (unless they're of your own making). I've bought a few bundles over the years to examine and learn from, but none I would recommend. I typically do not like one-click solutions and I don't want someone else's presets to determine my style. I developed (and continue to refine) my own "layered" system instead, which I use the majority of the time.