Great Photography Resources at the Library

October 5, 2018 | TRL ARTS

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I recently went on vacation. It wasn't a long vacation. I took 293 photos. Some were taken with my phone and some with a digital camera. Most were deleted shortly after the vacation.

Do you remember when you were limited to 12, 24 or 36 photographs per roll of film in your camera? You decided if they were going to be in colour or black and white before you bought the film. Then you would have to send them away, pay for someone to develop them for you and hope that a few of the shots turned out as you planned. I remember it.

Photography has become quite accessible, inexpensive and risk-free. Whether you are shooting in digital or analog the core concepts are the same. After this last vacation I have decided to learn about composition and lighting in landscape photography. These are some of the resources I am using, and I think that they are great for anyone who is into portrait, landscape, real estate, food or another style of photography.

To access all of these for free you will need a valid Toronto Public Library card and an internet connection.

Once you are signed in with your card, check out some of their excellent courses:

  • Learning portrait photography: from lighting to posing, learn simple techniques for creating great portraits
  • Introduction to photography: get a solid grounding in the skills and tools you'll need to explore the world of digital photography
  • Photography first steps: a tour of the core concepts of photography and the courses that will help you learn them
  • Learning to sell photography at art shows

You can watch as many times as you want and progress at your own pace.

Gale Courses

Or you can enroll in any of the Gale Courses on photography. Once you are at the Gale Courses website you can search for "photography". You must register for these classes and they are conducted online. Participation is necessary to stay enrolled and that’s some pretty good motivation.

Through Kanopy you have access to the Fundamentals of Photography from “The Great Courses” series of tutorials. You can also access lots of great films about photographers and photography.

Safari Tech & Business Books
Safari has loads of titles and video tutorials on tech and business topics but it also has much more. Once signed in do a general search using the term "photography technique" or "digital photography" and you will get thousands of results in book and video format. Or, you can search specific titles that you may already be familiar with.

If you’ve never used any of the above eResources before and you need help getting started you can ask staff at your local library branch for help or make an appointment with our Book-a-Librarian service.


Here are some titles to get you started:

Smart phone smart photography 2018
Smart phone smart photography : simple techniques for taking incredible pictures with iPhone and Android
Maximize your potential to get the shots you want with this guide to photography for both Apple and Android phones. Covering simple techniques that will allow you to get the image that you see every single time, you will soon be telling your camera what to do with confidence. Starting with The Big Picture, get to know your camera phone and the rules behind taking the perfect shot.

The entusiats guide to travel photography 2018
eBook version
The enthusiast's guide to travel photography : 55 photographic principles you need to know
The Enthusiast's Guide to Travel Photography: 55 Photographic Principles You Need to Know teaches you what you need to know in order to shoot great images when you're on the road, whether for a two-week vacation or a weekend getaway.    

Master of Photography Nat Geo 2014
 Masters of photography : learn photography from 12 National Geographic masters 2014 (DVD)
In this collection of 24 lectures (30 min. each), 12 masters lecture on the basics of operating a camera, the elements of a photograph and composition and lighting, as well as analyzing real-life photo opportunities and selecting and preparing photographs for photographic essays.

  Exposure made easy 2016
Exposure made easy : create captivating photographs in any light
Photographers must adjust their aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to produce an image that is not too light or too dark. Exposure settings can also be used for creative effect - using a fast shutter speed can freeze motion, or using a slow shutter speed can produce an artistic blur.

Complete Photography Gatcum 2017
Complete photography : the all-new guide to getting the best possible photos from any camera 
This is the book for everyone who wants to take great photos but doesn't know where to begin. With it, you'll learn how to compose a shot for visual impact, focus it to attract the viewer's eye, and expose it so every detail is captured. In short, you'll become a photographer!

More resources

Check out this great blog post that looks at photography as a tool for social justice.

Explore more titles on photography technique. They are available in many formats.

The history of photography can be fascinating. How we view and create images has changed greatly with technology.

Or join us on Saturday October 13th at 2pm for Lily Cho and Morris Lum on Photographing Chinatown at the Toronto Reference Library.

Now go take some pictures!