Business essentials: Educational resources for photographers (Part II - Instruction manuals)

5 more educational resources I’ve used over the years to help me learn as a photographer and grow my adventure sports photography business. This time I'm focusing on instruction manuals that are ideal resources when you're starting out. (Read Part I - Business books here).

  • Product / equipment manuals - I'm possibly in the minority of people who enjoys reading photography equipment manuals from cover to cover. Which I rationalise on the basis that if I know how gear works and what it's capable and not capable of, it helps me to focus on being more creative. 
  • Michael Clark - A Professional Photographer's Workflow: Using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop - It’s hard to mention instruction books for adventure sports photography without mentioning Michael Clark (see also his Adventure Sports Photography and Location Lighting books). The first of Michael's books I owned was this comprehensive manual for Adobe Lightroom and how Michael uses it with Photoshop. Michael's knowledge of hardware and software is excellent and I picked up lots of hints and tips on how best to organise, process and archive my images, many of which I still take advantage of today.
  • Dan Bailey - Going Fast with Light: A Flash Guide for Outdoor Photographers - This instruction book on flash is one of Alaska adventure photographer Dan Bailey's e-books (I had the pleasure of being technical editor for Dan's latest print book - Outdoor Action and Adventure Photography). Dan's e-book was the first book I purchased on outdoor flash. It explains flash in simple, practical terms and helped me realise that lighting photographs is nothing to be scared of.
  • James Cheadle and Peter Chavers - The Portrait Photographer's Lighting Style Guide: Recipes for Lighting and Composing Professional Portraits - Each chapter of James' and Peter's book covers a single portrait photo, outlining a description of the shoot, technical details and lighting diagrams. I started off using it, and similar lighting diagram books, to help me understand how other photographers lit portraits and what equipment would cause which effect. Once I knew how a piece of equipment worked, and I'd practiced with it, the challenge moved on to how I could use it to identify and achieve my own creative vision.
  • Joe McNally - Sketching Light (An Illustrated Tour of the Possibilities of Flash) - Joe is a Nikon Ambassador, regular National Geographic contributor and former Life magazine staff photographer. This book, like Joe's first book on using speedlights (The Hot Shoe Diaries - Big Light From Small Flashes) is not an instruction manual per se, more a narrative from Joe on his thought process as he captured various images in his portfolio. In 2015, I attended a speedlight seminar with Joe McNally and to be able to learn from him first-hand as he worked his way through various shoots was inspiring. Joe's seminars are well worth attending.

Come back soon for Part III - Educational resources (Websites) that have helped me improve my technique as a photographer. (Or, if you sign up for my adventure sports photography newsletter, I'll send you a link when part III's published).