The son of a Swedish immigrant, William Albert Allard was born in 1937 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He studied at the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts and the University of Minnesota.

Allard is a photographer of people. From the beginning of his illustrious career in 1964 as a National Geographic photographic intern, Allard has contributed to 44 Geographic articles as a staff, freelance, and contract photographer and writer. His stories for the magazine have included "Rodeos: Behind the Chutes," "India's Untouchables," "Bohemian Rhapsody," and "Hutterite Sojourn."

William Albert Allard’s new book, Paris: Eye of the Flaneur, published in fall 2017 by Edition Lammerhuber in Vienna, Austria, is a 31-year retrospective of his work roaming the streets of his beloved Paris and will be available in the U.S. later this fall but can be preordered on the Edition Lammerhuber website.

Allard has published six previously acclaimed books including his first, Vanishing Breed, of which the Associated Press said, "This is a classic." Published in 1982, Vanishing Breed was nominated for the American Book Award for 1982, and was the winner of the Wrangler Western Heritage Award for Outstanding Western Art Book, 1983, and was awarded the Leica Medal of Excellence, 1983.

Other books include:
· The Photographic Essay
· A Time We Knew: Images of Yesterday in the Basque Homeland
· Time At the Lake: A Minnesota Album
· Portraits of America, a Retrospective
· William Albert Allard: Five Decades, a Retrospective/Memoir

Allard has received numerous photojournalism awards including:
· University of Minnesota Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award, 1994
· The Joseph A. Sprague Memorial Award for Photojournalism 2002
· University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communications Award for Excellence, 2004
· National Geographic Photographers’ The Photo Society “Photographers’ Photographer” Award for 2010.