With vacations canceled and socializing curtailed in much of the country, Instagram feeds that once teemed with envy-inspiring travel pics and celebratory group photos now offer glimpses of lives spent closer to home. New books provide guidance in perfecting those images, whether of the family pet or (another) homebound meal. Others take a wider angle, seeking to convey an entire narrative through images, or expressing a feeling of solitude via the remoteness of the moon.

How to Photograph Food

Beata Lubas. Running Press, Sept.

Readers will learn a professional food photographer’s tricks for capturing enticing images of their meals, from kitchen prep work to finished dishes. Lubas, who has a 130,000-strong Instagram following and a career shooting for brands including British supermarket chain Waitrose, gives pointers on styling, lighting, and retouching, showing readers, as she writes in the book’s welcome note, that “creating beautiful images is a skill everyone can master.” 

How to Take Awesome Photos of Cats

Andrew Marttila. Running Press, July

Using the Instagram handle @IAmTheCatPhotographer, Martilla has 535,000 followers and is the author of 2018’s Cats on Catnip, which spawned a line of related products including calendars. Here, he discusses how he got started in feline photography, delves into technical how-tos, and offers ways to manage an unwilling and possibly hostile subject: exercise patience and be willing to put down the camera when you see a low-slung tail. “A happy cat looks confident,” he writes, and will “look at you, approach you”—in other words, be ready for its close-up.

The Moon

James Harrop. White Owl, Oct.

On the heels of the U.S. Geological Survey’s release of the first comprehensive geologic map of the moon, this guide is designed to help beginning lunar astrophotographers recognize, as Harrop writes in the preface, the “craters, seas, mountains, rilles, and rays” that give it character. He gives advice on the special equipment the hobby requires, and offers a starting point “to those who want to become acquainted with our lunar neighbor a little better.”

The Photography Storytelling Workshop

Finn Beales. White Lion, Oct.

This four-step guide leads would-be photographers through the stages of pitching, prepping, shooting, and editing, offering a road map to creating evocative images. Beales, a designer turned freelance photographer with 589,000 Instagram followers and a client list that includes Apple and Land Rover, explains the benefits of long shots vs. extremely long shots, the psychological impacts of color, and how to spin a convincing tale. “The pictures you include should add to the story and the narrative journey,” he writes. “A good editor knows when to leave out an image, even if it’s a great one.”

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