Fashion and photography are one of the strongest duos in the art world. However, photography doesn’t necessarily need fashion. It would make portrait photography rather dull without it. Likewise, it could be said that fashion would be hard-pressed to survive without the medium of photography. Fashion photography books have been helping to elevate and encapsulate infamous fashion moments throughout history.
Magazines like Vogue and Harpers Bazaar were the beginnings of this blissful union. Where carefully crafted outfits were forever captured in glossy pages using high-quality, professional photography. Today, we dig a little further than glossy photography magazines and take a look at the best fashion photography books.
What’s Great about Fashion Photography Books?
Fashion photography books are not only great to have sitting on your coffee table. But they can be a wonderful source of inspiration for photographers of all genres. You don’t need to be a fashion photographer to be inspired by the wonderful world of fashion photography.
The creative minds that go into creating fashion images come from all sorts of backgrounds. Everyone involved in creating stunning fashion photography has the vision to create art. Using the clothes and accessories that are in front of them.
16 Best Fashion Photography Books
From designers to models, every inch of a fashion photography image is carefully curated whether you are interested in modern sleek fashion like that of Tom Ford or the more whimsical styles like Dior. Above all, there is something for everyone in this list of best fashion photography books. From the streets of New York to the studios of Paris, if you are looking to grow your book collection, this is a great place to start.
1. Vogue: The Gown, by Jo Ellison
This stunning book celebrates all the Haute-couture dresses in Vogue from the early 20th century to today. Featuring fashion stars Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Twiggy, Scarlett Johansson, Marlene Dietrich, Bianca Jagger, Cindy Crawford (to name a few). The book also features more than 300 photographs from world-renowned photographers designers. Images are grouped into five thematic chapters: Classical, Fantasy, Drama, Decorative and Modernist.
In short, with such big names published in one glossy book. Vogue: The Gown is a nod to the opulent and extravagant. Consider it must have fashion photography book for those who love the glamour.
2. Horst: Photographer of Style, by Anna Wintour and Susanna Brown
American Vogue editor and fashion icon Anna Wintour pairs up with Victoria & Albert curator Susanna Brown for this one.
Horst: Photographer of Style is a book that celebrates the career of an iconic photographer. Horst has shot some incredible names over his career. From Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli to images of Old Hollywood. The book also includes an inside look at the home interiors of Valentino and Karl Lagerfield.
3. Avedon Fashion 1944-2000, by Richard Avedon
Avedon Fashion 1944-2000 is a collection of seven decades of extraordinary images by Richard Avedon. The most influential fashion photographer of the 20th century deserves a book to reflect that. And this one certainly does, from images published in Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Egoiste, and The New Yorker.
To carefully curated model shoots with some of the biggest stars in the fashion industry. This is one of the best fashion photography books paying homage to one of the best fashion photographers.
4. Harper’s Bazaar: First In Fashion, by Marianne Le Galliard
One of the best fashion magazines in the business transforms into one of the best fashion books. Based on the exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, this volume traces the magazine’s story. From its founding editor to its modern-day success. The classic fashion magazine compiles its best pages into a book worthy of being read over again.
Featuring some iconic Harper’s Bazaar covers. As well as a whole load of stars over the years. From Alexander McQueen to Alexander Wang. Above all, this read will have any fashion or photography lover drooling over the pages.
5. On the Street: Five Decades of Iconic Photography, by Bill Cunningham
Take a look at the work of beloved New York photographer Bill Cunningham in this book. Bill spent decades documenting the fashion of New York City. Both on the streets and in high-end fashion shows.
His reputation for capturing iconic style with the most humble of attitudes is infamous in fashion circles. He could often be recognized with his camera and blue raincoat. During his career, everyone wanted to have their photo taken by Bill. This New York Times bestseller brings together some of his most famous photographs. As well as some never published new images.
In this book, Bill captures the best fashion on the street from all walks of society. From high-end designers to carefully crafted street fashion. This is a great read if you are interested in fashion and the human experience of New York.
6. Annie Leibovitz at Work (Hardcover), by Annie Leibovitz
Gain insight into one of the most famous fashion photographers of our time—acclaimed fashion photographer Annie Leibovitz. Leibovitz has many fantastic books, but in this bestseller, she shares a rare insight into her life behind the camera. This read takes a look at the reality of the business of fashion photography.
She discusses portraiture, reportage, fashion photography, lighting, and digital cameras. The subjects include photojournalism, studio work, portraits of dancers and athletes. She also talks about working with writers and transitioning from shooting with film to working with digital cameras. It also displays her impressive photographic collection.
You may also want to read the story behind the scenes from working with celebrities such as Barack Obama, Rolling Stones Tour, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Keith Haring, Kate Moss, and Queen Elizabeth. If you’re looking to get into fashion photography, this is a must-read.
7. Peter Lindbergh. On Fashion Photography, by Peter Lindbergh
With Kate Moss gracing the front of this hardcover book in stunning black and white. You know this fashion photography book is going to be a good one.
This book features more than 300 images, most of which are in his recognizable monochrome look. The glossy pages feature many previously unpublished photos. As well as an adapted interview with Lindbergh discussing his career & life behind the camera.
“Peter Lindbergh, renowned for his alternately cinematic and naturalistic portraits of models and screen sirens, aimed to demonstrate that there is beauty in age and, more than that, audacity.” – The New York Times.
8. Irving Penn: A Career In Photography, by Irving Penn
Irving Penn is undoubtedly one of the greatest fashion and documentary photographers in history. His background in photojournalism allowed him to approach fashion photography from a storytelling perspective. Creating some stunning images in the process.
In this book, you get to know the man behind the camera. And of course, take a closer look at some of his most influential pictures. If you have never seen an Irving Penn exhibition in real life, this is the next best thing.
9. Helmut Newton SUMO, revised by June Newton
One of the most controversial fashion photographers in the fashion industry. Newton first achieved international fame in the 1970s while working for French Vogue. His career then skyrocketed by retaining a unique & elegant style. This book looks at Newton’s best fashion photographs, nudes, and celebrity portraits. With a typically racy Newton photo on the cover.
It celebrates Newton’s eye for beauty in the fashion business. With over 400 pictures, many of which are published for the first time. In addition, this huge book covers every aspect of Newton’s career, from how he functioned behind the camera to the results he produced.
10. Dior Couture, by Patrick Demarchelier
This beautiful coffee table book shot entirely by Patrick Demarchelier focuses on one of the most influential brands in the business. Take a look at some stunning images from Dior’s decades-long history with the photographer. With a portfolio of portraits of over one hundred incredible gowns. Dior himself designed some.
Demarchelier has worked with numerous brands outside Dior during his career. His work appears in top fashion magazines, including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Glamour, and Marie Claire. Subsequently, this fashion photography book is great for those who love the more classic look.
11. Kate Moss, by Mario Testino (Hardcover)
In this book, fashion photographer Mario Testino pays tribute to his greatest muse, Kate Moss. A fashion icon of our generation and one our the most recognizable British models.
Covering over two decades of their work together. This glossy hardcover fashion photography book is an intimate insight into two of the world’s definitive style leaders, with over 100 photographs, including many from Testino’s private archive. This is a chance to dive into some incredible cover-worthy images published for the first time by a dynamic duo. There are many books dedicated to Kate Moss. But this read shows a different, more genuine side to the model.
12. I Can Make You Feel Good, by Tyler Mitchell
I Can Make You Feel Good is a 206-page celebration of the photographer and filmmaker Tyler Mitchell. Mitchell’s distinctive vision of a Black utopia is what has made him an up-and-coming name in the industry. And also what led him to be the first black artist to shoot the cover of American Vogue.
Mitchell often uses natural light to photograph his subjects intimately and naturally. A refreshing change from the highly edited and uber glamorous pictures we are so often used to seeing in the fashion industry. After already photographing huge names such as Kamala Harris, Beyonce, and Harry Styles, this is one book you will want to get while you still can.
13. Tom Ford, by Tom Ford
From the revival of Gucci to Yves Saint Laurent. Tom Ford become renowned for his ability to revamp luxury brands and bring the sexy back. This fashion photography book explores the works of Ford from 1994 to 2004. One of the most successful contemporary fashion designers. It includes not only Ford’s clothing and accessories designs but also showcases Ford’s inspiration.
Documenting his grand visions of architecture, store design, and advertising. With collections photographed by legends like Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, and Steven Meisel. This book is a visual feast.
14. The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion By Antwaun Sargent, Addy Campbell, Arielle Bobb-Willis
In The New Black Vanguard: Photography between Art and Fashion, curator and critic Antwaun Sargent looks at the changes taking place in fashion, beauty, and art today. This book aims to showcase the historical and emergent talent of black fashion photographers. And also takes a deeper look into how society, and fashion, appreciate and appropriates black bodies.
The book includes fifteen artist portfolios. Including the author of I can make you feel good, Tyler Mitchell. The images and stories in The New Black Vanguard follow the creation of the commercial black image. However, the book also paints a brilliantly reenvisioned future for the black artist. This is a must-read if you’re interested in getting ahead of the curve with some of the best new up-and-coming photographers of our generation.
15. Pictures, by Tim Walker
You have probably seen his images all over the place. Possibly without even realizing who they are by. Tim Walker is a pillar of the fashion photography world. His style is ethereal, dreamy, and otherworldly. This book features some of his iconic fashion photographs, as well as some documentary work. ‘Pictures’ is the kind of fashion photography book you will want to keep returning to. Again and again.
If you’re looking for an escape from reality into the world of glamourous fairy tale fashion images. Pictures, by Tim Walker, is the book for you.
16. Vogue: The covers (Updated Edition), by Dodie Kazanjian
What’s better than a published cover image from one of the world’s biggest fashion magazines in your home? How about a whole book of them!? Vogue continues its tradition of beauty and excellence with a compilation of spectacular cover art.
This incredible special book features classic covers from the magazine’s 125-year history into one glamourous book. Moreover, this carefully illustrated book even includes Vogue cover prints that can be removed and framed. Vogue: The Covers is a must-have book for every fashion aficionado.
With so many incredible books on fashion photography, you might have difficulty deciding which ones to display on your coffee table. Whether you are interested in the art of photography or style, these books are bound to inspire. Let us know which of these fashion photography books are your favorite!