Adams was very an adventurous young boy. He joined the boy scouts, and also participated in church activities at the Methodist church, where his family prayed. He loved playing baseball and aiding his father with his carpentry. He accompanied his father on nature walk, hikes and rafting expeditions at the Dinosaur National Monument Park. When in his teens, he worked at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. During these years, Adams developed an interest in arts and began visiting the Denver Art Museum with his younger sister.
In 1955, Adams joined the University of Colorado but only lasted a year before transferring to University of Redlands, Colorado. At the Redlands University, Adams met his wife Kerstin Mornestam and married her in 1960. He graduated with a B.A. in English in 1959. For his post graduate studies, he went to the University of Southern California where he received a Ph.D. in English.
Adams began working as a teacher at the Colorado College in 1962. On the other hand, his photography began in 1963 after buying his first camera. He learned professional photography under Myron Wood, who was a professional then. During this time, he did photography as part-time activity but committed to it after the Museum of Modern Art bought four or his pieces. This was made possible by john Szarkowski, who was curator for the museum, and with whom Adams had met in New York.
Some of the famous photographs by Robert Adams were the ‘East from Flagstaff Mountain’ in 1975, and ‘Burning Oil Sludge North of Denver’ in 1973. Some of his published books were; ‘The Architecture and Art of Early Hispanic Colorado’ and ‘White Churches of the Plains,’ published by Colorado Associated Press, Boulder, CO in 1974 and 1970 respectively. Pictures from his mid-career were displayed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1989. The mastered works are displayed at the Yale University Art Gallery that put together ‘The Place We Live’. The Rencontres