8 Photography Books That Will Look Great on Your Coffee Table

Coffee table books are the perfect way to bring beautiful aesthetics and a point of interest to an otherwise drab surface in your living room.

photography book for coffee table

But these photography books are far more than just a compendium of pretty pictures. They offer incisive observations into society, fashion, travel, adventure, history, and the art of photography.

In this post, we’ve listed some of our favourite photography books that belong on any coffee table. We’ve covered some of the best books out there, not just for lovers of good photography, but also for lovers of travel, fashion, global affairs, and more.

Photography books for wanderlusters

Beaches by Gray Malin

beaches by gray malin

LA-based photographer Gray Malin has released a book themed after the works he’s most famous for – aerial photography.

This visually captivating photography book features coastlines across the world, from over 20 cities and six continents. In an age of drone photography, these works are fascinating for their original angles, shot from doorless helicopters.

Perfect for wanderlusting photographers, Malin’s photographs are renowned for their playful takes on light, colour, shape, and perspective. It’s the ultimate book of escapism and is bound to get any reader daydreaming.

National Geographic: The Photographs by Leah Bendavid-Val

national geographic photography book

National Geographic is perhaps the most widely known resource of incredible photography. This volume collates some of the most iconic photographs published by this powerhouse, accompanied by personal, exuberant anecdotes about the shots.

This coffee table book will appease anyone with an interest in the world around them. The five chapters cover themes on wildlife, cultures, and science.

The coffee table book for street photographers

Bystander by Colin Westerbeck and Joel Meyerowitz

bystander photography book

This beautiful coffee table book features a compendium of street photographs from some of the most renowned masters of the 20th century, as well as unknowns from the late 19th century.

Authors Colin Westerbeck and Joel Meyerowitz explore the development of street photography in this book, widely considered a bible for this medium. It took them 15 years to curate and create the book, which was first released in 1994.

Browse through a varied selection of photographs, from Eugene Atget’s grainy monochromes from the 1800s through to digitised pics of the 21st century. The book includes pieces from Stieglitz, Cartier-Bresson, Levitt, and Melissa O’Shaughnessy, among many, many others.

On current affairs

Of Love and War by Lynsey Addario

of love and war photography book

Photographers interested in world affairs will love this majestic photography book from Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Lynsey Addario.

Addario spent two decades capturing the heart-rending moments of humanitarian and human rights crises across the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. She documents these journeys in this book, through more than 200 inspiring and moving photographs.

The collection covers everything from Afghanistan under the Taliban to women in the military to refugee crises. She also includes incisive essays from esteemed writers, along with her own personal journal entries and letters.

Photos that Changed the World by Peter Stepan

photos that changed the world

This book is the ultimate coffee book that documents some of the most important historical events, from the earliest photograph of Machu Picchu to NASA’s most recent photographs of Pluto.

The nearly 100 images taken by photojournalists and iconic photographers, such as Diane Arbus and Dorothea Lange, are inspiring, captivating, and often shocking. Most importantly, they really do fulfill the promise that a picture is worth 1000 words.

Photography books for portrait lovers

Portraits 2005-2016 by Annie Leibovitz

annie leibovitz

This new collection by one of America’s most influential photographers makes the perfect coffee table for aspiring photographers. Portraits features photographic snapshots of some of the most famous and influential people from the last decade.

This book features some of her most iconic photographs as well as never-before-published shots, from figures as varied as Queen Elizabeth and Kanye West.

Annie Leibovitz has a career that spans almost half a century and has honed her distinctive style as a portrait photographer. Many of her works are featured in museums around the world.

Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton

humans of new york

Internet sensation Brandon Stanton has compiled his best blog features into this incredible book. Humans of New York is a photographic census of NYC, documenting the broad demographic of New Yorkers and the stories they have to tell.

This beautiful book comes with 400 colour photos, including all-new stories and portraits, representing the incredible array of people, personalities, and stories that make up NYC.

That Photography Book for Fashionistas

Guy Bourdin: Image Maker by Matthias Harder

open spread from book guy bourdin image maker

Guy Bourdin is one of the fashion world’s favourite photographers. His shots are on display in some of the world’s most renowned museums, from the Tate and MoMA to V&A and The Getty.

This book explores this photographer’s iconic, hauntingly beautiful imagery, with works including archival material as well as previously unpublished layouts and polaroids.

This is the man who is credited with inventing the double spread, so you can expect nothing less than awe-inspiring, stunning shots in this coffee table book.

Be inspired with incredible photography

These photography books won’t just make beautiful decor for your living room. They’ll also provide a wealth of inspiration to help you get out there and practise your craft.

Find your muse within these pages, collect some new photography equipment at Camera House to help you go pro, and start building your portfolio today!

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