The Photographer's Handbook - John HedgecoeThe Photographer's Handbook by John Hedgecoe is an impressive tome. About 350 pages, it has over 1,250 images - many in full color - explaining step by step how a variety of photography techniques are done. You see first hand how changing aperture changes an image, how times of day affect a landscape, and much more.
For a book done in 1990, you might think it was "dated". And sure, some references to specific cameras and film styles let you know this wasn't written today. Still, so much of photography is timeless. How to best light a face for a portrait. How to do a silhouette well. How to balance an image for a good picture. There's a wealth of details here.
The best part is the examples. Many books try to describe what is going on. Here you see it with your own eyes. You see how a scene changes as the lighting changes. You learn how to build up shadows and contrast. You're talked through a variety of projects, from still life to outdoor, from fast moving to stationary.
There are two cautions to provide here. First, there are nudes in general. Nudes are a classic part of photography but some might be unhappy with the thought of seeing nudes. So if you're one who is sensitive to seeing nudes, know that they are in here.
Second, there is a nearly-nude of a young nearly-teen girl. She is sitting just in her underwear, trying a hat on in a mirror. It's the "young girl dreaming about growing up" type of image - but again she's only in her underwear. There are some out there who are OK with adult nudes but who might draw the line at something like this.
So with those two caveats, I do recommend the book. It has a lot of great information.
Buy The Photographer's Handbook - John Hedgecoe from Amazon.com