Great “How To” Nature Photography Books

Nature photography books

Some of my favorite nature photography books.

Want to be a better nature photographer? Read anything by John Shaw, Galen Rowell, Art Wolfe, Freeman Patterson, Tim Fitzharris, George Lepp, Larry West, Arthur Morris, Allen Rokach, John Netherton, Leonard Lee Rue III, Brenda Tharp, and the Stackpole (publisher) nature series.

Here are some specific books to look for.

If you only read two nature photography books, they should be John Shaw’s Nature Photography Field Guide and Galen Rowell’s Mountain Light. These two books are the best of the best. Read Shaw first, then Rowell.

John Shaw’s Closeups in Nature is my favorite book on closeup photography for nature photographers and it is a must read if you want to do closeup work outdoors. Shaw’s Landscape Photography is also well worth reading.

After you’ve read Mountain Light, anything by Rowell is worth reading, but especially The Inner Game of Outdoor Photography and Galen Rowell’s Vision: The Art of Adventure Photography. The Yosemite is a classic book by naturalist John Muir. Look for the illustrated edition of Muir’s book with Rowell’s stunning images.

Anything by Freeman Patterson is excellent. For nature photography, read Photography of Natural Things.

One of the most helpful landscape photography books is Joseph Lange’s How to Photograph Landscapes which is part of the excellent “How To” series by Stackpole Books. If you only read one book one how to photograph the landscape, this should be it.

Anything by Tim Fitzharris is good. I especially recommend the National Audobon Society Guide to Nature Photography, Close-Up Photography in Nature (which you should read after Shaw’s closeup book if you love doing closups), and the National Audubon Society Guide to Landscape Photography (which you should read after Lange’s book).

George Lepp’s pair of books, Beyond the Basics I & II, are for photographers who have learned the basics and want to try more advanced techniques. They are well worth finding on the used market (which you can find via links at my photography store). His books are well written and practical. His latest book is Wildlife Photography: Stories from the Field. Lepp is one of the columnists for Outdoor Photographer magazine and his excellent workshops are in high demand. If you have a chance to go to one of Lepp’s workshops, don’t miss it.

Art Wolfe is a world class photographer who is the author of several coffee table books filled with his gorgeous images. He has co-authored two “how to” books. The Art of Nature Photography is the more comprehensive book. The shorter book is Photography Outdoors: A Field Guide for Travel and Adventure Photographers.

Niall Benvie’s The Art of Nature Photography is another book well worth finding on the used market.

If flower photography is your thing, get Allen Rokach’s Field Guide to Photographing Flowers. His Field Guide to Photographing Landscapes is worth reading. Just as good is Heather Angel’s book on flower photography, listed below with several other Stackpole books.

Leonard Lee Rue III is one of the best and most prolific wildlife photographers. His how to books are How to Photograph Animals in the Wild (which is part of the Stackpole series) and How I Photograph Wildlife and Nature. If you only read one of Rue’s books, get the Stackpole series book.

Brenda Tharp’s Creative Nature and Outdoor Photography is one of the best all around nature photography books. Read it!

John Netherton’s Guide to Photography and the Smoky Mountains is THE book to read if you are going to the Great Smoky Mountains. It is also an excellent book on nature photography, even if you never go to the Smoky Mountains. This book is well worth finding in the used market place via my Amazon store (link below). Grab a used copy while they can still be found.

If you are looking for a brief introduction to bird photography, get the booklet Bird Photography: Pure and Simple by Arthur Morris. If you want to seriously pursue bird photography, there are two must read books, The Art of Bird Photography by Arthur Morris and How To Photograph Birds by Larry West (one of the Stackpole books).

The uniformly excellent Stackpole series of “How To” books is written by a first class set of photographers. Some of them have been mentioned already. Other books in the series are How to Photograph Insects and Spiders by Larry West, How to Photograph Reptiles and Amphibians by Larry West, How to Photograph Flowers by Heather Angel, and How to Photograph Underwater by Norbert Wu. The series also has two location guides by Joesph Lange, Photographer’s Guide to Yellowstone and the Tetons, and Photographer’s Guide to Grand Canyon and Northern Arizona.

You can find the books in this article at my photography store and get’s great prices, fast delivery, excellent service, and first class guarantee – all from the convenience of your home. And if your order is over $25 you get free shipping.


You can find the Stackpole books in my photography store. Grab the the older books in the “How To Photograph” series (Birds, Insects and Spiders, Reptiles and Amphibians, Flowers, Animals in the Wild, Underwater) on the used book market while you can still find them. These books are real treasures and they are now out of print. You can them via the Amazon links at my photography store. It is powered by so you get the same great Amazon prices, fast delivery, excellent service, and first class guarantee.

The best of the best photography gear, books, accessories, and online photo labs:  a series of articles.

A few of Stackpole’s “how to” nature and wildlife photography books.