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15 Best Travel Photography Books to Inspire You

15 Best Travel Photography Books to Inspire You

Want to know the best travel photography books available so you can learn to take the same Instagram photos that make you drool?

You know the ones. Lush landscapes with crystal blue waters cascading off a cliff into a heart-shaped pond.

The ones that make you pull out your bucket list and log in to your favorite fare finder.

Many of the amazing photographers who take those photos are more than happy to share how they learned their skills.

The best ones have books with tips, tricks, and full-on lessons.

Or maybe you’re happy just to collect them and use them as part of your wanderlust-themed home decor.

Whatever your goals are, our list of the best travel photography books will steer you to the ones worthy of your time, coffee table space, and Instagram dreams.

Best for Travel Photography Books That Teach

1. Destination Instagram: Five Incredible Experiences Perfect for Mobile Photography

Destination Instagram eBook cover of Amalfi Coast

The best book to learn travel photography is one that’s straightforward with the skills you need to know in the exact destinations you’ll need them.

Destination Instagram: Five Incredible Experiences Perfect for Mobile Photography is a guide detailing how to get those amazing shots.

Chapter One is all about the natural wonders accessible from Page, Arizona. Blake Smith uses Page as a home base.

From there, he can easily reach Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, and Lake Powell.

In his first chapter, Smith spills his secrets on capturing their magic. All the details are covered, from how to get there to camera settings.

In Chapter Two, he takes you to Iceland for a lesson on getting the famous turquoise color of its geothermal pools perfectly.

Then it’s off to the jungles of Costa Rica for Chapter Three’s study in tropical and underwater photography and composition.

Chapter Four concentrates on southern Italy’s Amalfi Coast and Capri Island, known for their color and strong visuals of Mediterranean life.

Finally, Chapter Five brings us to the mystical Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail so you too can perfectly photograph the misty mountains and ruins.

Throughout the book, Smith gives you insightful travel information and plants seeds of inspiration to make your Instagram shine.

2. Nightsky Photography: From First Principles to Professional Results

Nightsky Photography book cover, northern lights over lake and mountains

Photographer and teacher, Adam Woodworth wrote the best book to learn travel photography specifically for night shots.

Nighttime will give you a fine art feel you can’t achieve with sunlight at any angle. But there are tricks you need to learn for clear, starry results.

In Nightsky Photography: From First Principles to Professional Results, Woodworth’s fantastic landscape photography stands as a testament to his skill.

Aesthetics aside, though, Nightsky Photography is a technical manual.

In his book, he shares his methods and preferred equipment so you can create your own dark pieces of art.

This book is best for those with a moderate amount of experience with a camera and are ready to learn the art of astrolandscape photography.

3. Light & How to Photograph It: The Professional Approach to Capturing Every Type of Light

Light and How To Photograph It cover of yellow brick building against blue sky.

Travel photography books will tell you good lighting is essential for good photography.

In Light & How to Photograph It: The Professional Approach to Capturing Every Type of Light, photographer Michael Freeman shows you the techniques to working with light.

The book is divided into three sections: Chasing, Waiting, and Helping. Each section takes you step-by-step in how to use these actions in your travel photography.

Patience is the first quality photographers need to master, then waiting for the right moment to get the best lit shots.

Finally, Freeman explains the tools he uses to make light work for him.

It’s more philosophical than how-to manual and it aims to change your relationship with light.

This book is good for photographers with moderate experience in how the settings on their cameras work.

4. Understanding Color in Photography: Using Color, Composition, and Exposure to Create Vivid Photos

Man walks past bright red and green wall with blue awning.

This is our choice for the best book to learn travel photography with a focus on how color can be used to take the most striking photos.

Peterson’s signature style uses the color of his surroundings for bold photos and you can too.

Understanding Color in Photography: Using Color, Composition, and Exposure to Create Vivid Photos will explain award-winning photographer Bryan Peterson’s technique for using color to create travel photos that jump off the screen.

He’ll tell you how to use light, exposure, external flash, and other tools to harness the color around you to get the same vibrant results.

This book is good for all levels of photography experience and for those who will be traveling to bright, prismatic locations.

See Related: 7 Amazing 7-Star Hotels Around the World

5. How to Photograph Food

A layered cake sits on a pedestal next to a vase of flowers.

Books on travel photography don’t always address food. But part of what makes us want to go to different places is to explore the area food culture.

In How to Photograph Food, food photographer Beata Lubas coaxes out your particular artistic style so you can craft delicious-looking foodscapes.

Tell visual stories of the food you find as you travel using Lubas’ techniques working with natural light.

Learn how to style the physical properties of main courses, appetizers, and desserts to bring emotion to your food photography.

Lubas included interviews with her peers so you can get different perspectives and insight into the food photography community.

This book is good for all skill levels, but especially beginners.

6. Underwater Photography Masterclass

Book cover with a collage of underwater photography

Underwater Photography Masterclass is the adventure travel photography book for divers wanting to capture their interpretation of life under the sea.

Marine biologist Dr. Alexander Mustard teaches you the techniques for taking magnificent images of underwater creatures and plants.

Dr. Mustard shares his recommendations on diving equipment as well as cameras.

He will also help you overcome any lighting issues you’ll encounter in the depths, so your shots are always bright and interesting.

You’ll enjoy his stunning, award-winning photography while you learn from his workshop-in-a-book too.

Contains practical, actionable lessons for all skill levels, especially beginners although readers should be familiar with some technical terms.

7. Digital Photography Complete Course: Learn Everything You Need to Know in 20 Weeks

Digital Photography Complete Course

One of the most trusted and best travel photography books is Nita Patel’s classic Digital Photography Complete Course: Learn Everything You Need to Know in 20 Weeks.

If you don’t have access to or the time to take a photography class, this book is an excellent alternative.

It’s a course-based manual that transforms novice skills to professional quality. Tutorials and assignments encourage practical learning and engaged learning.

Work at your own pace, but within 20 weeks, you should have the techniques to create professional-looking landscapes mastered.

It’s also periodically updated to include the latest equipment. And it would make a thoughtful gift for the travelers in your life.

This is good for beginners who need to learn their way around a camera and how to set up all the elements needed for amazing travel images.

8. National Geographic Photo Basics: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Great Photography

National Geographic Photo Basics

The original travel media company has also produced the best book to learn travel photography for beginners who dream to be as good as their photojournalists.

National Geographic Photo Basics: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Great Photography is the definitive how-to for users of digital cameras and smartphones.

Here, Joel Sartore, a National Geographic photographer, spills his secrets to getting the perfect shot.

Learn to frame, edit and preserve your photographic creations, as well as camera fundamentals.

The lessons are short with basic information about focus, composing, and exposure.

Satore also has specific tips for travel photography using his own for illustration. The assignments will help you put his techniques to work.

This book is good for beginners and for those who want to master using a smartphone as a travel camera.

Best for Travel Photography Coffee Table Books

Sometimes you just want to leave the photography to the pros and hobbyists and enjoy the view.

These best travel photography coffee table books already have the inspiring travel pics you want without the fuss.

And they sit prettily in a little pile on your coffee table for everyone to enjoy.

9. Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places

Destinations of a Lifetime

Natgeo comes through again with their books on travel photography and this tour of incredible destinations.

Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places will have you filling up your travel wishlist fast.

Some of the featured places are off the well-traveled path, which makes it even more interesting.

It’s a guidebook too with real advice on travel, dining, and lodging. Learn to travel like a National Geographic photojournalist with this gorgeous book.

This book is good for people looking for travel inspiration and for those who like to stay close to home.

The pictures of these spectacular places are enjoyable for all.

10. Accidentally Wes Anderson

Accidentally Wes Anderson

If you love the quirky worlds filmmaker Wes Anderson creates, then you will love Accidentally Wes Anderson filled with Anderson-esque destinations.

Part adventure travel photography book and part ode to Anderson’s whimsical sense of place, Accidentally Wes Anderson brings you to 200 fabulous places around the world.

And the narratives are as unique as the photos.

Find inspiration here that will let you see the world through a more imaginative lens the next time you travel.

Accidentally Wes Anderson is good for both travelers and Anderson fans.

11. Escape

Escape cover with person swimming

Fine art photographer Gray Malin’s Escape is one of the best travel photography books of exotic locations around the world.

Malin’s talent lies in revealing what makes each place unique. Inside, you’ll find more than 22 gorgeous sites in 11 countries.

You will also get a behind-the-scenes look at how he captured such alluring shots. This book is page after page of pure travel inspiration.

Just the simple, moving cover will make you smile. Pull it out with your seasonal spring decor for an instant breath of fresh air in your living room.

This is a good book for luxury travelers and those who enjoy fine art photography.

12. prettycitynewyork: Discovering New York’s Beautiful Places

new york photography book

Not only is prettycitynewyork: Discovering New York’s Beautiful Places a decorative book, it’s also the best book to learn travel photography in cities for Instagram.

Instagram star Siobhan Ferguson takes you through one of the most dynamic cities in the world and reveals the little visual treasures within.

You may not even recognize New York City as presented in prettycitynewyork.

Yet, nestled amid the glittering skyscrapers and busy streets are the small quaint quiet spaces ready for their closeups and a spot on your Instagram feed.

Ferguson shows you how to find them. This book is good for travelers beckoned by urban landscapes and for those who simply love New York City.

13. Vogue on Location: People, Places, Portraits

Vogue book cover with woman standing by a lake and mountain.

Travel photography books often intersect with other visual arts.

Vogue on Location: People, Places, Portraits shows you beautiful corners of the world through a fashion lens.

Famous for the fashion photo shoots from over the globe gracing its glossy pages, Vogue brings the best of them in one travel photography book.

This inspiring book is filled with mesmerizing travel stories and exciting fashion photos.

People who are passionate about fashion and travel will love this book. There’s a good mix of both here.

14. America the Beautiful: A Story in Photographs

America The Beautiful cover

Produced by travel photography coffee table books experts National Geographic, America the Beautiful: A Story in Photographs features the best of the USA.

From coast to coast, north to south, the places and people who infuse America with the energy and beauty are featured in these pages.

See spectacular images of well-known national treasures, as well as inspiring portraits of everyday Americans.

And all presented with National Geographic’s dramatic flair for visual storytelling.

This book is perfect for travelers who appreciate what can be found within our borders.

15. Epic Journeys: 245 Life-Changing Adventures

Epic Journeys cover of cliffside.

Books on travel photography don’t get much more inspiring than Epic Journeys: 245 Life-Changing Adventures.

No adventure is off-limits, whether it’s white-water rafting in some of the world’s grandest rivers or exploring volcanos miles from civilization.

Find your next adrenaline rush in this guide to the world filled with hundreds of vivid photographs and little-known travel tips.

Scour its top-ten lists and essays and start planning the trip of a lifetime. This book is a great one for folks who like to live life to the fullest.

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