I believe that to be a great photographer I should study a lot of images created by other people, especially those considered great by a consensus. So I spend a lot of time looking at books about art history that contain photos of paintings by “The Masters” and photo books like the two I am writing about here.
I found these books at a local thrift store and could not pass them up. “Through the Lens: National Geographic Greatest Photographs” and “Wide Angle: National Geographic Greatest Places” are both full of great photographs that any photographer could learn from.
I think after reading these two books what I came away with is a better insight into what makes a great photograph. It is not always the lighting, the shadows, focus, color, contrast, and/or framing, but it can also be purely the subject matter. Of course keeping in mind that all those things can enhance a photo of a special subject.
These two books and books similar to them can be a good education about what makes a great photography for any photographer and they are very inexpensive, “Through the Lens: National Geographic Greatest Photographs” is available at Amazon for less than $12 right now with used copies available for under $6.
I give these books a combined 8 out of 10 and highly recommend them for any photographer.