Every picture tells a story. Combine pictures to form an essay and your storytelling options expand. This is one way to tell a more complete story, add depth, complexity, counterpoint, nuance, show change over time, and so much more. A photo essay transcends a single lucky shot. It demonstrates committment, focus, versatility, and skills of another order. Photo essays have more definite structures, with a clear beginning, middle, and end â often with standard components that flesh out and advance a story in critical ways.
Identifying the necessary components of an essay is the first step. Once you know the types of images you need to tell your story, youâll know what to shoot while youâre on location and maybe even when you need to be there. If you donât identify these elements beforehand and make sure you come back with each of them, you may find you lack critical pieces. There will be holes in your story. And you may have to return to finish it â if you can.
Hereâs are the classic shots used to structure a photo essay.
1Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Introduction
2Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Set the Stage
3Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Identify the Main Character
4Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Significant Detail
5Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Human Interest
6Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Decisive Moment
7Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Outcome
8Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Conclusion
You could say all other images included in an essay are just variations of these few types of images. Iâd be surprised if exceptions couldnât be found, but they would be exceptions.
Learn more about each shot in this free PDF.
Subscribe to Insights enews and download it free.
Category: Books - Free PDFs, Creativity - Storytelling
Tags: photo essay, storytelling
There’s no easier way to improve your photography than devouring all the free photography books available on the Internet. Along with watching free YouTube tutorials, you can improve your photography and learn how to run a photography business… all for free.
I’ve scoured the web to create what I consider to be the ultimate list of free photography books. This list of over 50 free books includes those that have been recommended to me time and time again by other photographers.
I’ll be adding to this list of free photo books when I come across more. If you have any good recommendations, please leave them in the comments so everyone can benefit.
Free Photography books to Download Today
Below is a list of over 50 free photography books which are recommended time and time again, and for good reason.
If you enjoy the free photography books, make sure you visit the sites below to leave comments/thank the authors for their hard work.
Free books do have their limits though, so if you’d like to go further in depth on the vast topic of photography, here’s a list of the best photography books.
…and if you’re into getting things for free, or saving money with your photography hobby, check out the best point and shoot camera under $200.
The Ultimate List of Free Photography eBooks
Selling Fine Art Photography – by PhotoShelter
Fine art photography is a way for the photographer to express his work as an artist, without the constrains 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.
The Photographer’s Guide to Copyright – by Photo Shelter
Make sure you know where to stand regarding the law and your ownership of images. Photo Shelter pumps out the free photography books, and this is one of many they offer.
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.
11 Ways to Improve your Photography – by Craft & Vision
Make your images more dynamic, shoot stronger portraits and how to refine your composition are just a few of the topics covered in this free photography ebook.
Craft & Vision II – by Craft & Vision
If you enjoyed the first in their series of ebooks, you’ll love this second edition which covers more great ways to make stronger photographs.
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 while you sleep. Here’s a good guide on how to get started.
Street Photography – by Alex Coghe
Insightful tips from an experienced street photographer, all crammed into this free photography ebook. Get inspired for your next excursion onto the street, and gain the confidence needed to get up close and personal with unknown subjects.
Street Faces – Thomas Leuthard
This free photography ebook is all about the candid art of street photography portraiture. It’s an essential read for anyone who lacks the guts to get close up before clicking the shutter button.
Lighting 101 – by David Hobby
Mr Strobist breaks down the essentials of lighting in this easy to understand ebook on a very complicated topic. David explains all the elements of flash lighting in an accessible and enjoyable way.
Explore Flickr – Thomas Leuthard
Another free ebook by Thomas Leuthard, this time explaining how he achieved early success on Flickr. Despite being published more than 5 years ago, much of the advice is still very relevant, even for other social media networks.
Good Photos in Bad Light – by Darwin Wiggett
I love the title of this free photography ebook which includes plenty of tips and tricks to get the most out of every lighting situation you find yourself in. Essential reading for all the budding wedding photographers out there.
Guide to Portrait Photography Basic – 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.
The 2016 Photo Business Plan Workbook – by Photo Shelter
Updated for 2016, you’re provided with a step-by-step guide to help you implement a rock solid business plan, target the photo clients you want, and land more gigs.
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.
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.
Set Up Your Own Photoblog – by Nancy Messiah
Love it or loathe it, blogging is a powerful way to get your photography work out into the world. Nancy explains the basics of setting up a blog for your personal or professional work. You should also check out my Shotkit guide on how to make a blog.
Ten – by David duChemin
You’re probably more familiar with David duChemin from his video work with Canon cameras, but he also writes free photography books. In Ten, David delves into 10 techniques and ideas that will help elevate your photography.
Ten More – by David duChemin
More of the same from an expert in the industry, this time regarding techniques, ideas and exercises to give your photography a refresh and perhaps teach you some new tips.
Creative Lens Techniques – by Photo Answers
Selective focus and hyperfocal distance are two of the topics covered in this interesting read by Jessops and Photo Answers magazine.
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, to be well prepared before you even pick up your camera.
Starting a Photo Business – by Photo Shelter
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.
Insights from Beyond the Lens – Inside The Art and Craft of Landscape Photography – by Robert Rodriguez Jr
Stunning landscape photography and an entertaining read about a journey to discover the art, craft and passion that lies behind landscape photography.
A Photographer’s E-Guide to Making Sharp Photographs – by Scott Bourne
Getting sharp photos isn’t just about your shutter speed. Learn the tips and tricks to a razor sharp photo in this great free ebook by one of the industry’s greats.
Nine Motivational Essays on Photography – by Scott Bourne
A break from the technical stuff with this inspirational free photography ebook based on Scott’s own experiences in the field.
The Photographer’s Social Media Handbook – by Photo Shelter
Even though some of the information in this free ebook by Photo Shelter is dated, there’s still a lot of useful tips that can guide you through the social media maze. There’s a more up to date (2016) guide to social media available by Shoot Dot Edit but I was unable to download it for you at this time due to their server error – you may have better luck.
20 Indispensable Photo Tips – by Ian Plant
Ian kindly shared his photography gear and favourite wildlife and landscape work on Shotkit recently and I urge you to check out his free photography ebook.
Going Candid – by Thomas Leuthard
The first ebook of Thomas Leuthard where he describes the basics of Street Photography based on his own experiences pounding the pavement.
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.
31 Days to Overcome Your Fear of Shooting Street Photography – by Eric Kim
Eric is a wealth of knowledge on the topic of street photography. His fearless attitude when it comes to getting the shot is explained in this free photography ebook. Never fear pressing the shutter on the street again!
13 Tips for Wildlife Photography – by Photo Naturalist
Essential reading for your next safari trip to Africa, or simply when you feel like taking a walk on the wild side, camera in hand!
Essays on Inspiration, Creativity & Vision in Photography – by Scott Bourne
Another interesting free read by Scott Bourne, this time on how he maintains creativity in his work.
Five Easy Steps To Shoot In Manual Mode – by Kimberly Gauthier
Shooting in manual mode is essential for your advancement as a photographer. This free ebook does a good job in breaking down the steps necessary to make that jump.
How to Take Stunning Food Photos – by Learn Food Photography
Whether you want to become a professional food photographer or just want some tips to make your Instagram updates look their best, this free ebook will help.
Shooting Black & White on your dSLR – by Photo Answers
Another free ebook from this UK magazine which discusses the merits of shooting black and white photos in a predominantly colour age.
The Text Book of Digital Photography – by Dennis P. Curtin
Why anyone would want to give this mammoth 270 page ebook away for free is beyond me, but definitely one to dig into when you want to explore some of the ins and outs of digital photography.
Urban Exploration Photography – 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…
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 in this useful free ebook by Photography Concentrate.
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, some useful advice especially for the beginner photographer or those just using cheaper cameras and mobile phones.
Going Candid by Thomas Leuthard
If you’re interested in street photography, this free ebook gives a great introduction to a broad range of topics – equipment, workflow, post processing and the passion behind a popular genre of photography.
Collecting Souls by Thomas Leuthard
Who could resist a photography ebook with such a beautiful title?! Thomas discusses mentality and motivation, with a particular focus on how to handle criticism, the importance of passion and general street photography practice.
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.
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.
*Essential – by Ian Plant
This free photography ebook contains stunning landscape and wildlife photography captured from around the world illustrating lessons on the creative use of light, composition, and the magic of the moment. You’ll learn how to tell better stories of your subjects, bringing your photographs to life in a compelling way.
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.
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 tip book.
The Guide to Sports Photography – by Adorama
Despite being somewhat dated, this ebook from Adorama still manages to pack in some useful tips on an exciting career in sports photography. Learn how to capture athletes in motion and other tips on specific sports.
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.
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.
Lightroom Hot Tips – by Shotkit
How could I have written a list on the best free photo books without including the Lightroom Hot Tips?! Learn a handful of useful tips and tricks to make your Lightroom experience more efficient and enjoyable. If you find it useful, there is much more great content in this Lightroom Tips book.
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. 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.
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.
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 you 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.