all pictures © robin williams

revised 2-7-2021

Some helpful books


These books contain the essence of what has been important in guiding and developing my chosen methods.

John Shaw’s Closeups in Nature: the photographer’s guide to techniques in the field; by John Shaw, Amphoto, 1987 (still available I believe). (Written by one of the world's greatest wildlife photographers, many a skilled nature photographer will admit to starting their career as a result of reading this book. Although it covers film cameras only, the wisdom and sheer sense of what he advocates is still relevant – as are some of the technical tips. His pictures are top quality in every sense).

RSPB Guide to Digital Wildlife Photography; by David Tipling, A & C Black 2011 (second edition). (In spite of being, in relative terms, comparatively old, it reads like a contemporary guide, giving exactly the information needed to produce top quality wildlife photographs. Read this, carry out its advice, and you will have all the tools you need to do so. Superb).

Understanding Raw Photography; by Andy Rouse, Photographers’ Institute Press/PIP; 2007, reprinted 2008. (This book covers recent techniques for post processing digital images, as seen by a master of nature photography. It covers editing, corrections, printing, managing a collection of pictures and workflow – everything for making the most of raw images, after the shutter has clicked. I have read some criticism of it being too simple. But I cannot agree; If the advice is followed, results will be greatly improved. A really useful introduction to the subject).


Identification is a most important factor in the hunt for  wildlife pictures. Taking a picture and later wondering what the animal may be, is not as appealing as having at least an idea of what it is, even in the most general terms. A picture may be amazing, but there is something lacking when you do not know the name of its subject. People often ask if there are books that might act as an introduction to the subject, without being so technical as to put them off. An initial introduction may be sufficient, though often it will lead on to needing more information - the way to specialising in particular fields, families or aspects. A few helpful introductory books are:

Britain's Mammals, by Dominic Couzens, Andy Swash, Robert Still and John Dunn. (covers everything you need)

Collins Bird Guideby Killian Mullarney, Lars Svensson, Dan Zetterstom, Peter J. Grant. (Every species illustrated with top quality colour drawings - a fantastic effort)

Wild Flowers of Britain & Irelandby Marjorie Blamey, Richard Fitter & Alastair Fitter. (After many editions, this remains the greatest popular work on our flora, with 5,000 coloured illustrations)

Insects of Britain & Western Europe, Michael Chinery. (A general handbook with 2,000 first-class coloured illustrations - a 'must-have')

Insects of Britain & Irelandby Paul D.  (An amazing compilation of information, with 2,700 of the author's own photograps taken in the wild)