Cinematography is a craft. A craft that you study and practice. A craft in which your skills grow and evolve from shot to shot. An important part of cinematography is being knowledgeable of not only cameras, lighting, but also the techniques used to convey emotion in filmmaking. Below is a list of some of the best cinematography books ever written. Many of these book are considered “must reads” for cinematographers of all skills and levels. Check them out and if you think there is an important book that we left out of this list please feel free to get in contact with us.
Best Cinematography Books
The American Cinematographer Manual is a very important book for DOPs working with not only 35mm, but digital as well. With a new edition out every few years, I’m sure the newest versions will begin to expand into Digital Cinematography. No matter if you’re shooting 35mm or Digital, this is a must own book for DOPs of all levels. Keep in mind that this book comes in 2 volumes.
Painting With Light is a great read for all Film Noir Cinematography buffs. Please try to avoid the Kindle version, no matter how inexpensive it mighty be! Rumor has it that it leaves a lot of pages out of the book compared the the hardback version.
Note, this book hasn’t been updated in recent years. Nonetheless, it is still one of the best cinematography books you can get your hands on. It is easily one of the most widely respected books and a must read for cinematographers who are passionate about the craft.
This is another one of those highly respected, must read books. It comes with a DVD that shows you the difference between many type of soft and hard lights, light placement and more. Just for the content contained in the book itself I’d recommend it to any film student or young, aspiring DOP, but the DVD itself is what puts it over the edge.
This book is all about the inner workings of the basic shots that create the cinematic experience and how visuals communicate to the audience. A perfect read for filmmakers of all levels, this book is a great aid in helping you to understand shot types, why they work and the visual “rules” of filmmaking.
This a a wonderful read that shows so that there is so much more to being a Cinematographer than taking light meter readings! Not only do you learn about the equipment and technology used, but also the concepts that will enable you to work like a professional level Director of Photography.