Harold Davis

Harold Davis

Harold Davis is an award-winning professional photographer and widely recognized as one of the leading contemporary photographers. He is the author of more than 30 books, including Photographing Flowers: Exploring Macro Worlds with Harold Davis (Focal Press), The Photoshop Darkroom 2: Creative Digital Transformations (Focal Press), The Photoshop Darkroom: Creative Digital Post-Processing (Focal Press), Creative Landscapes: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques (Wiley), Creative Lighting: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques (Wiley), Creative Portraits: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques (Wiley), Creative Black & White: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques (Wiley), Creative Composition: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques (Wiley), Creative Night: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques (Wiley), and Creative Close-Ups: Digital Photography Tips & Techniques (Wiley)

Harold writes the popular Photoblog 2.0, and is a photography columnist for Photo.net.

Harold is a popular presenter on many digital photography topics. He is a gifted teacher, and his workshops are usually sold out well in advance.

Photographic adventures and assignments have taken him across the Brooks Range, the northernmost mountains in Alaska. He has photographed the World Trade Towers, hanging out of a small plane, followed in the footsteps of Seneca Ray Stoddard, a 19th-century photographer of the Adirondacks, and created human interest photo stories about the residents of Love Canal, an environmental disaster area. Harold's work has been published in books and magazines, and as posters and greeting cards. His prints are widely collected.

Harold brings a broad range of experience to his work as a professional photographer and author. He has worked as a software engineer, an enterprise technology consultant, and an Internet company executive.

Harold is well-known for his night photography and experimental ultra-long exposure techniques, use of vibrant, saturated colors in landscape compositions, and beautiful creative floral imagery. He is inspired by the flowers in his garden, hiking in the wilderness, and the work of great artists and photographers including Ansel Adams, M.C. Escher, Monet, van Gogh, and Edward Weston.

Harold frequently collaborates with his wife, Phyllis Davis, on book projects. They live in Berkeley, California with their four children.

Google Advertising Tools Google Advertising Tools
by Harold Davis
Second Edition November 2009
Print: $34.99
Ebook: $27.99

Practical Artistry: Light & Exposure for Digital Photographers Practical Artistry: Light & Exposure for Digital Photographers
by Harold Davis
April 2008
Print: $29.99
Ebook: $23.99

Search Engine Optimization Search Engine Optimization
by Harold Davis
May 2006
Ebook: $9.99

Google Advertising Tools Google Advertising Tools
by Harold Davis
January 2006
Ebook: $23.99

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Harold blogs at:

Tone Poem

February 18 2009

Late in the afternoon of a bright autumn day I arrived in Yosemite Valley. The valley was already in shadow, with only the tops of the surrounding cliffs lit by the sun. I stopped along the banks of the Merced River. With my camera on my tripod, I snapped five… read more

Tin Can Alley

February 10 2009

It's a long way from photographing wet cans in an alley to the abstraction you see here. The start was a recent rainy day and photography in the recycle bin in the alley next to our kitchen door. View this image larger. Before I get to the steps in the… read more

Should You Choose to Accept

February 05 2009

On Photo.net recently Hannah Thiem conducted an interview with me. I think it's the best exposition about my work to date. (Suprada Urval's excellent interview with me covered very different ground.) As part of the interview, Hannah and I proposed an assignment: Photograph a flower in a unique way—in a… read more

Cherry Blossoms

February 04 2009

Every year the cherry trees flower in the cultivated areas of the hills of California's coastal range, and of course I am impelled to photograph the blossoms. This season the cherry trees are flowering a tad early, like everything else in California in 2009. My thought was to create a… read more


January 31 2009

Since the world is always changing, photography is largely about capturing states of things---scenes, objects, or people---in the process of change. A single image can intimate the before, and the after, and resonate with events to come. This sense of time is what gives many photographic images their power. My… read more

From Architecture to Fantasy

January 21 2009

Between committments at Macworld at the Moscone Center I wandered over and indulged my dome photography habit by photographing the dome in the Westfield shopping mall in downtown San Francisco. I believe the dome itself is antique, but it's placed in an entirely modern shopping mall. Cameo, photo by Harold… read more

Flickr, Blurb, and Multiple Sclerosis

January 18 2009

What do Flickr, Blurb, and multiple sclerosis have in common? How can the combination contribute to the fight against MS, and maybe change the face of publishing at the same time? Several months ago I was contacted on Flickr by Sophie Addison, and asked to share my image Spirals in… read more

Black and White for the Digital Era

January 08 2009

What is the appeal of black and white photography? After all, we see the world in color, and a gray day is emotionally perceived as depressing and monotonous. Historically, black and white is easy to understand. Monochrome photographic processes were invented long before color. Even once color arrived on the… read more

Oakland of my mind

January 01 2009

Pity poor Oakland. Playing Newark to San Francisco's New York across the water, Oakland definitely gets no respect. This is the city that gave the "no there" to there, a gritty and high crime urban wasteland. In real life, Oakland is a vibrant place of great variety, from beautiful hills… read more

Photographing Domes

December 22 2008

It's a good observation that a difference between professional and very serious amateur photographers on the one hand, and snapshooters on the other, is that those in the pro group are always trying to create thematic links between their photos. This kind of grouping can imply a narrative, or revolve… read more

Impossible Images

December 09 2008

Variety is the spice of life, and it is certainly part of what I enjoy about photography. Having a camera is an excuse for being anywhere and examining anything. Those of you who follow my blog or my photostream on Flickr will know that my subjects range from kids and… read more

Digital Means You Are Never Done

November 09 2008

Winter morning in Yosemite dawned cold with flakes of snow and remnant fog, but the promise of a possible clear day with blue skies. Provided you carefully archive your files, digital means never having to say you're done. This image is a re-processed version of Golden Wonder with the saturation… read more

Stacking Star Trails: Tips & Techniques

October 31 2008

"Holy Stacking Star Trails, Batman!"...As many of you know, I've been shooting and then stacking star trails lately. The idea is to take numerous "shorter" exposures that include the night sky, rather than one longer exposure. The shorter exposures are then composited together (they are "stacked" one on top of… read more

Katie Rose in Chiaroscuro

September 27 2008

Katie Rose was sleeping upstairs. The room was dark, except for a low-watt lamp that illuminated part of her face. I shot this handheld, high ISO (ISO 1,600) photo in low light conditions to take advantage of the wonderful chiaroscuro light (not to mention the angelic baby). Chiaroscuro refers to… read more

Between Earth and Sky

September 23 2008

On our way home from a sunset-to-night hike on the Tomales Point fork of Point Reyes, Mark and I stopped at the wreck of the Point Reyes fishing trawler. Many people like to photograph this trawler, which is easily accessible outside of Inverness, California. Between Earth and Sky, photo by… read more

Avoiding the Normal Histogram

September 11 2008

This is a photograph of Bodie Mercantile, the old general store in the ghost town of Bodie. In creating this image, I wanted to be very sure that I exposed the scene in such a way that it looked like night. In other words, if you open an exposure up… read more

Tioga Pass Road at Night

September 05 2008

Tioga Pass is the highest car crossing of the High Sierra. I always find the view down towards Owens Valley, Mono Lake, and the high desert awe inspiring. Tioga Pass Road at Night, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger. For this photo, I stopped at one of the… read more

Happy Birthday Katie Rose

September 01 2008

Katie Rose's theoretical due date was a few days ago even though she was actually born in mid May. Happy Birthday Katie Rose! Katie Rose in a Pink Dress, photo by Harold Davis. The pink dress was a gift for Katie Rose from her great aunt Adelaide. Phyllis wanted a… read more

Sierra View

August 27 2008

On my way across the Tioga Pass road I stopped at Olmstead Point. I made my way out a few hundred yards, and distanced myself from the road, parking lot, and people. Then I laid my head on a rock pillow and watched the clouds hurry past. After a while,… read more

Clinical Psychology Cover

August 13 2008

Here's the cover of the 7th edition of Prentice Hall's Introduction to Clinical Psychology textbook. The image is my composite of a spiral stair and a chambered nautilus shell. You can read the back story of the composite Spirals image here. Introduction to Clinical Psychology cover, image by Harold Davis.… read more

Software Review: Fluid Mask 3

July 25 2008

When you use Photoshop, nothing is more important than the ability to make selections. As a simple example, when you want to make a composite by moving a person from one background onto another, you need a way to select the person---in other words, to tell Photoshop which pixels you… read more

Art Is Where You Find It

July 19 2008

I'm not maintaining this photo is a piece of great art per se. But I do believe that if you want to take interesting photos you need to look with fresh eyes at the everyday things around you. We were getting the boys haircuts. At the hair cutting place I… read more

Hayward Marsh in Black and White

July 15 2008

Briefly noted: This is a black and white version of my photo of the Hayward Marsh. I prepared the black and white version for an environmental magazine doing a story on marshes created using reclaimed waste water (as is the case with the Hayward Marsh south of Oakland, California). Hayward… read more

100 Views of the Golden Gate

July 07 2008

The Golden Gate as you've never seen it before...Now available, 100 Views of the Golden Gate by Harold Davis from Wilderness Press. These are digital photos, taking full advantage of the extraordinary light and exposure conditions of the Golden Gate. Here's the copy from the publisher's to-the-book-trade postcard advertising my… read more


July 05 2008

Phyllis was kangaroo holding Katie Rose, and I thought their hands together made such a great contrast of sizes that I snapped away. Katie has come such a long way, and grown so much, but comparing mother-and-daughter hands reminds me she is still pretty small. Yesterday she gained two ounces… read more

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Webcast: Photographing Kids, Family, and (other) Weird Things
March 18, 2009
Families, kids, holidays: we all want to capture them as fond memories, not stiff poses. During this not-to-be-missed presentation, Harold Davis will show us how to do so with more ease and fun in the shooting, showing us that Cameras don't take photos...

Webcast: Secrets of Digital Night Photography
October 17, 2008
In this webcast, professional photographer Harold Davis, author of Practical Artistry: Light & Exposure for Digital Photographers (O'Reilly) and creator of the Photoblog 2.0 and Digital Night web sites shows why night photography has become increasingly...

Webcast: Creative Flower Photography
December 15, 2011
In this webcast, master photographer Harold Davis, author of the high-acclaimed Photographing Flowers: Exploring Macro Worlds with Harold Davis shows his flower photography and explains how his images were made.

"This book is a must have for those who are passionate about their online business and are willing to put the time and effort required to get the right kind of traffic to their site."
--Doreen Erhardt, San Francisco Book Review

"This is a beautiful book with lots of technical goodies for the avid photographer, and I would recommend it for your library. "
--Barbara Hansen, Golden Gate Computer Society

"What we liked most were his photographs because virtually all of them included a nice description of what went into taking each one. This hands-on approach translates well into learning new lighting and exposure techniques."
--Joe Dolittle, Connected Photographer Magazine

"Highly recommended for fine art photographers; commercial photographers will benefit from Jack Neubart's Location Lighting Solutions , with its emphasis on advertising photography."
--Daniel Lombardo, Library Journal

"Harold Davis is at the top of his game as a master photographer with this book. For the new photographer who wants to move up the quality of their work from the photograph category to the art category these are the most critical things to understand and this is one of the easiest to understand books on the subject."
--Harold McFarland, The Midwest Book Review - Reviewer's Bookwatch

"The photos offer lessons on applied techniques and this is a perfect choice for any library catering to pro or neo-pro digital photographers."
--Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review

"The information presented is basic enough for a beginner to understand but not so simple as to bore a more experienced photographer. Detailed explanations and a well thought out scope make this book a must for every photographer's bookshelf."
--Liz Masoner, About.com

"Davis offers a comprehensive guide to twisting your camera dial to "Manual" and learning how to get the most out of it. Furthermore, he has the photographic work to prove his expertise -- even if you never read a word of this book, Davis' photographic work will stun anyone who picks up the this book. "
--John E. Mitchell, North Adams Transcript

"If you were once (like me) a fairly keen photographer who has let his standards slip, or if you just can’t work out why your digital photography lacks that ‘certain something’, this is the perfect book to bring yourself up to scratch!"
--Huw Collingbourne, Bitwise Magazine

"Each of [this book's] 176 pages are filled with stunning scenic photos ranging from macro images to tiny water worlds to vast circle of stars in the sky...Each topic is covered in a short but well developed paragraphs on nearly every page of the book. Davis's writing is not laborious. He knows how to break down topics in terse language, providing you just about as much as you need to know to understand the subject. Shorter chapters on macro and night photography are also included but they mainly in my view just wet your appetite on the subject. "
--Bakari Chavanu, MyMac Magazine

"With a focus on light and exposure, two crucial concepts you need to understand and master if you are to truly capture the images you see, author and renowned fine art photographer Harold Davis presents his own images as examples and inspiration...Concise and to the point, Practical Artistry clearly demonstrates that photography, essentially, is writing with light, and that the type of images you produce depend on the many choices you have for using that skill. Harold Davis gives you an array of choices in full living color."
--Jennifer Apple, Photoshop Support

"This instructional book is richly illustrated with full color photographs from the author. The text is explained clearly and in detail with an accompanying photo to illustrate the effects of decisions made. Practical Artistry is a great book for anyone who wants to understand the traditional methods of photography within the realm of the digital age."
--T. Michael Testi, Blogcritics Magazine

"This most excellent book aims to present the best practices of the craft of photography in the context of the digital era. But, more importantly, the author designed this book for you on a number of different levels."
--John Vacca, Amazon.com

"if you shoot digital and want a good introduction to the all-important basics then I strongly recommend reading Light and Exposure for Digital Photographers."
--John Watson, PhotoDoto

"If you buy only one photography technique book this year, make it Harold Davis's Light & Exposure for Digital Photographers."
--Rick Smolan, Photojournalist and creator of the "Day in the Life" book series

"Overall, Google Advertising Tools is a good book to get if you are an AdSense or AdWords user. There is a little bit of fluff, but keep your eyes open and you'll find some gems. Whether your ads are currently making money or not, this book might pay for itself in short order if you use it wisely. "
--Trent Lucier, Slashdot.org