• Mastery of our tools is necessary.

    But it's not enough.

  • Take a moment to watch this 3-minute video about The Heart of the Photograph.

  • The best photographs aren't a product of how you use a camera, but of how you think. This is a book about learning to think more intentionally & creatively about the tools you use and the photographs you make.

  • I wrote The Heart of the Photograph to explore what it means to think like a photographer. To think more creatively about line and light and moments, and to more boldly explore the use of other tools as well—devices like juxtaposition, depth, visual mass, framing, mood, mystery, scale, balance, and tension. These are the tools we use in the photographs themselves to give the subject its best expression, to give it its best shot at clearly and powerfully saying what you want the image to say.

    If we change the way we think by asking ourselves better questions in the creative process, we change how we make photographs, becoming not only be more intentional but also more intuitive, so that those moments of grace—when it's all coming together so beautifully—happen more often. Using a camera isn't hard work, but thinking like a photographer is a longer journey. I'm hoping The Heart of the Photograph will make that journey a little less circuitous for you, and get you closer to the heart of what you love about this craft and the photographs you make.

  • After reading The Heart of the Photograph, one word is stuck in my head: finally! After decades of making unsatisfactory images, I finally know the right questions to ask myself when making photographs.Which has lead me to finally making the images I’ve wanted to make all along! This book was truly mind-opening for me and got me passionate about picking up my camera once again–finally! It's been a while. ~ Melissa Gordon

    "Best of all, after completing this book, I am clearer in my vision. Most importantly, I am creating more and more images that make my heart sing!" ~ Heather Mattera

    "DuChemin really gets to the heart of what photography is about, and that's not f/stops and mechanics."~ Michael Freeman

    "This is the best why-to book out there. The Heart of the Photograph is a must-read for any photographer looking to add meaning to their photography."

    ~ Judene Gardner

    "I’ve read several of David’s printed books and e-books and The Heart of the Photograph is my absolute favorite—having read it through twice already." ~ David Attaway

  • The subtitle of this book is an odd one: 100 Questions for Making Stronger, More Expressive Photographs. A book of questions? Well, partially.
    I look at it more like a book of possibilities. A book of tools to change your thinking, to get you unstuck, and to help you see the incredible potential of this craft for stronger and more unique photographs.
    Questions have long been the best way to learn and to teach others. They encourage exploration, they shun easy or obvious answers, and they change as we do. But don't mistake questions for being merely philosophical; the best of them are profoundly useful.
  • This is a practical book of necessary questions, hard-earned wisdom, and heartfelt encouragement written to get you closer to making photographs that say what you want them to say and look the way you want them to look.

  • "If you're looking to make more meaningful and deeper images and you struggle to slow down and think through your images, then this book may just be the cure for you. It has been for me." ~Terrel Bailey

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    Read the Sample Chapters

    I've put together a free PDF that includes a full table of contents, a couple chapters, and some of the images from the book so you can get a better feel for it. Download it here and get a first glimpse of The Heart of the Photograph.

  • "I was so engrossed in this book and have started to value my work more because of it. I am connecting more to what I want to shoot and communicate." ~ Julie E. Roberson

  • Let's Talk

    About it.

    Put the coffee on and join me as I sit down with serial conversationalist Jeffery Saddoris to discuss what makes a good photograph, and how we can do so much better in the pursuit of powerful and authentic images than merely relying on better gear and the right settings.

  • "This is a great book. I couldn't put it down. The Heart of the Photograph is an excellent resource for a serious photographer who wants to take their work to the next level." ~Karl Graf


    Heartfelt Praise.


    "I was so engrossed in this book and have started to value my work more and in different ways because of it. The Heart of the Photograph encouraged me to ask better, clearer questions in my photography and gave me the guidance to do this effectively and move toward a more authentic voice. I am connecting more to what I want to shoot and communicate: it’s been a welcome and fulfilling change. I will regularly revisit this book and continue my learning." ~ Julie E. Roberson

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    "This book helped me go deeper with my photography. The Heart of the Photograph guides you to ask questions that get you going and thinking. It points you in a direction. It could be your key to taking your photography to the next level, whatever that may be for you. I highly recommend this book to anybody looking to go further with their photography." ~ Jeff Betman

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    "I have been anxiously awaiting his newest book and was not disappointed. David’s writing is friendly and down to earth; he speaks as an artist who shares his ideas because he has, or is working through the very same issues in his work. It is a beautiful book, very well laid out in black and white. The chapters are short and concise. Each chapter examines a new point and ends with David’s amazing photographs that embody the lessons of the chapter as well as illustrate his mastery of photographic storytelling." ~ Dayna Peterson

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    "My ability to analyze what I like and don’t like about pictures—both my own and those of others—and how to use that information when creating new images has grown exponentially just through my first pass of this book. I’ll be reading it many more times. If you are invested in growing as a photographer, this book is for you.” ~ Kira Armstrong

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    "This book is much more than a typical how-to photography book. It reaches deep inside and makes me question why am I making this image. After reading The Heart of the Photograph, I know asking the why of my art is the only way to grow my craft and make it an extension of my soul and who I am." ~ Sherry Miller

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    "This is the best why-to book out there. The Heart of the Photograph is a must-read for any photographer looking to add meaning to their photography. I am a self-taught photographer that got caught up in the how-to make a correct photograph. I could make photographs that checked off the correct boxes but didn’t make my heart sing. David duChemin excels at encouraging you to embrace the freedom to unapologetically make your own images and the questions to help you determine if your images are successful. I will refer back to this book often on my journey to make photos that are “better than good.” ~ Judene Gardner

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    "I have truly appreciated the time and effort put into creating The Heart of the Photograph. What I loved most was how reading it became an introspective journey about my own photographic process. While pondering David’s questions, I realized, when taking pictures, I am frequently distracted by “the moment” which often resulted in mediocre images. By revisiting his 100 questions and slowing down my process, I have found more of my images are created by purposeful technique than “lucky” accidents. This has resulted in me feeling increasingly confident in my work. Best of all, after completing this book, I am clearer in my vision. Most importantly, I am creating more and more images that make my heart sing!" ~ Heather Mattera

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    "5 stars. The Heart of the Photograph is a lovingly produced book, slightly over a kilo and heavy with ideas. For me, this is not a read-through book but one to dip into and extract what ideas appear when you randomly enter. True the beginning and end are worth reading through but to cruise the rest in a linear way leaves me on overload. Mind you I love the ideas that appear and they are essential for me to think about and put into action. But since what the author has done is to try and make explicit all the intuitions and swirls of feeling, emotions, and ideas that can go into making a work of photographic art it is best, for me, taken in small rich chunks. Don’t eat that one-pound dark chocolate bar at a sitting: break off pieces and gradually get it into your system. The book is richly illustrated with a variety of the author’s photos. These give the reader the opportunity to try out the points being made in the book without immediately going to her/his work to try things out." ~ Peter Felsenthal

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    "Knowing which questions to ask and thinking through the answers to those questions, I'm now able to consistently get stronger and more intent-driven images. If you're looking to make more meaningful and deeper images and you struggle to slow down and think through your images, then this book may just be the cure for you. It has been for me." ~Terrel Bailey

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    "DuChemin has done it again! Like his prior books, he has a great skill in being able to drill down to concise, ever so practical, ideas on how to think about the art and craft of photography, and therefore how to improve your photography.

    This book is divided into sections, each discussing one of a multitude of visual elements, which are all important contributors to the final success of your photographs. These ideas, and thoughts to consider, are very practical, down to earth ways to start thinking about how to actually make your photographs. I found it quite useful in giving me new ways to think about making photographs, and in analyzing the photos of others.

    This will definitely improve my work! I recommend it highly and without reservation. As an extra bonus, the physical book itself is lovely, with fantastic feeling paper and cover. It’s a joy, in this day of screens, to hold this book in your hands and hear duChemin whispering his wisdom in your ear.

    Thanks so much!" ~ Chance Felisky

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    "I’ve read several of David’s printed books and eBooks and The Heart of the Photograph is my absolute favorite—having read it through twice already. The book’s clarion call is that your photographs first and foremost “must be about you and for you”; that making a good photograph requires a clear understanding of what is truly your subject and what is the combination of creative technical and compositional decisions that will achieve the best expression of it in the final image. Toward that end, a series of pointed questions are framed in each chapter to inform your decisions before pressing the shutter button. With continued use, these questions will ultimately become your inner voice or guidance system as you seek to better your photos and craft." ~ David Attaway

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    "Gear talk is always fun for a techie like me, but what most of us really need is more discussion about the art and the craft of photography. What is it that makes an image more engaging… and why? If you find this kind of discussion important and interesting, then this book, The Heart of the Photograph, is for you!" ~ Thomas Buergi

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    "David duChemin continues to do with this book what drew me to his work in the first place. He doesn’t so much provide you with answers, but prompts you to think more and to think differently about what you shoot. It was not a book I could plow through in a few nights, simply because it made me reflect so much on what I shoot and how I approach my photography, and more importantly, how I can move more toward the work my heart sings for. I think that is the problem any artist faces deep down, some call it finding your voice, others call it your style. But regardless of what term you use to describe it, I think what’s important is to be aware of what calls your curiosity and then to find new ways to dive into that. This book is a sort of roadmap to that exploration. I think creativity is born of curiosity, and this book works to help that curiosity find expression. To channel it. " ~ Sean Galbreath

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    "David duChemin's conversational style in The Heart of the Photograph makes it a book that you won't want to park on a shelf once read. Keep it close to hand; look at its cover and his intriguing photographs, review the short discussions often and you will begin to see more each time you look. In succinct, often humorous chapters, David prompts us with questions designed to lead us from camera operators to makers of compelling photographs. You won't find "rules" or "you should..." within these pages. Loads of good questions, such as " What Does Color Contribute?", "How Can I Use Space and Scale?" and "Where Does the Eye Go?" as well as the ubiquitous "Is It Good?" are posed and discussed. They are enlightening and worth revisiting until they become part of our subconscious decision making in the field. The Heart of the Photograph is a companionable, thought provoking book that will inspire your photography going forward. Keep it close." ~ June Harris

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    "A five-star book! In his new book, The Heart of the Photograph, David duChemin presents readers with 100 questions that help guide them toward a more creative and inspired approach to the photographic process. You can pick the book up and read it in the conventional manner—from beginning to end—and you will receive a wealth of insight into the process. But it is also the kind of book that you can turn to when you have hit the wall and are about to give up, open to any page and be rewarded with fresh ideas and a new perspective. It’s a wonderful book for both beginners and more advanced photographers. duChemin asks the “better questions” and explores them thoroughly, but he encourages you to go out and find your own answers. The book is illustrated with his inspiring photographs. Engaging and highly recommended! ~ Anna Blanco

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    The Heart of the Photograph is another fantastic offering from David duChemin. The book encourages the photographer-reader to deeply consider the true subject of his photograph, as well as the choices he can make (in camera and in post-production) to best illustrate this subject to the photograph's audience. This isn't a book about technical proficiency, and it might be a bit overwhelming for a newer photographer, but it is a worthy addition to the library of anyone who enjoys making photographs that go beyond basic snapshots." ~ Shannon Donald

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    "This latest tome from David duChemin is a gem. Broken down in sensible and progressive sections with images following each chapter makes it easy to focus on specific considerations for stronger image-making. The questions in the book are meaningful and provoke deeper thought for each topic. I've marked up and starred words, phrases, and paragraphs throughout the whole book. I love that David expresses thoughts I have, but in better ways. A wonderfully informative, thought-provoking read done with David's ever-authentic style.” ~ Jamie Konarski Davidson

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    "David Du Chemin is undoubtedly a fine photographer but more uniquely, his writing eloquently invites the reader to consider ideas that anyone who makes photographs will find helpful. I will not attempt to describe the content of this book because you really MUST read it yourself to appreciate the painstaking attention to detail that went into the development and presentation of his ideas. Much of what is discussed was evident in a more nascent form in Within The Frame but this volume, along with The Soul of the Camera, offers a highly polished presentation. This will be a very tough, if not impossible, act to follow.

    Read this book for its practical approach to expressive photography. Sit down with it for a truly beautiful reading experience from an extraordinary writer. If you are, or aspire to be, a photographer, understanding the ideas in this book might well be the single most important thing you can do for your work. It's that good.” ~ R.L. Stolz, Amazon review

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  • Get Yours.

    Get your copy of The Heart of the Photograph, Kindle, or eBook versions through your favourite retailer or through the links below.


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    Rocky Nook

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    Barnes & Noble

  • Follow David duChemin

    I'm a world and humanitarian photographer, author, and passionate fan of the amateur. You can find me on my blog, listen to my podcast, or follow me on Facebook and Instagram through the links below.

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  • The Heart of the Photograph, 100 Questions for Making Stronger, More Expressive Photographs

    Hardcover, 312 pages

    Publisher: Rocky Nook (March 17, 2020)

    ISBN-10: 1681985454

    ISBN-13: 978-1681985459