Some Reference Books for Nature Photographers

Richard Jones has gotten a lot of requests for information on books that can be used for identifying animals and plants. A lot of those requests came from other nature photographers, so he developed this list of books that he uses when trying to identify plants and animals that are new to him. This listing is by no means a complete list of identification books, so if want to add other books to this list that you have found to useful in identifying nature subjects, please e-mail the webmaster or talk to Richard.

It should be noted that while the better guide books for North American birds are generally very complete, guides to plants and insects are never complete guides. There are just too many species in these categories to illustrate. Most of these guides just illustrate the more common species. Some of the guides are quite expensive, so this list may save you money by reducing the number of guides you need to buy in each category.

Guides to individual national parks and books that have too limited numbers of species have been left out. Most of these books that might be small enough to carry into the field. This list only includes guides to the USA, Canada and the Caribbean.

Bird Guides that use photographs rather than drawings have also been left out. This is because due to the variations in birds, I find photographs are harder to use for identifications. Drawings tend to emphasize the key field marks.

One series of these books on finding birds is a great help for photographers interested in photographing specific species.

The following code has been used for the the books as follows reflect Richard's opinions based on using the books:
MH – Must Have if you are interested in this subject,
N2H – Nice to have as a supplement,
OK – Okay but either very limited and/or outdated but may be useful if all other guides fail to meet the needs on a specific plant or animal.
NR - Not rated yet - Listed for informational purposes.

If you have additional books that you think other photographers would find useful, please feel free to e-mail the webmaster.