10 Photographers I Follow on Instagram


As I’ve said before, I am trying to keep myself busy by reading and learning a lot from top authors/creatives in the industry, being that photography or other related field.

I am spending a lot of time on Instagram, showcasing my latest work, as well as old, recycled and reprocessed photographs from the archives.

The project about my hometown during winter nights got a lot of traction there, as people seem to enjoy stories with more pictures being showcased, in a series kind of post. I’ve noticed this way back, when I posted a series about Juhannus, the summer solstice in Finland. You can find more on that here.

And although many professional photographers like to bash Instagram for being a social networks that eats away your time (and it can be), when used correctly, it can become a useful tool for inspiration in photography. That is, If you can find your way to the talented people out there.

I’ve been on Instagram for almost two years now and I’ve been following some really influential photographers that I wouldn’t have been able to do else where.

And it helped me a lot.

Instagram is a great place to meet creative people all over the world and build a small (or big) community centered around photography and the visual arts. I learned a lot about composition, framing, landscape photography and how to build a fanbase.

And you can learn too. It only takes 10 minutes a day of browsing through your feed to get inspired and strengthen your compositional skills.

So, as the good guy that I am, to help kickstart your Instagram feed, I’ll give you my top 10 photographers that I follow on Instagram. Creative goodies coming right up:

Chris Burkard



Whois: Self-taught photographer, surfer, outdoor aficionado, traveler, star chaser.

Why I Like Him: He goes on crazy adventures all over the world and has this down to earth, humble personality and a deep appreciation for nature’s beauty.

What Can You Learn From Him: There’s a story behind every photo and the people you surround yourself with and the place you visit are the basis of your happiness.

Paul Nicklen



Whois: Biologist, environmentalist, photojournalist and a canuck (which is always a plus)

Why I Like Him: Biologist and photographer? Shooting for Nat Geo? Well, he literally lives my dream life.

What Can You Learn From Him: That nature is beautifully complex and fragile and that it is our foremost duty to protect and conserve it as best as we can. And that making wildlife imagery is an incredibly hard job and takes tons of patience and dedication. And an affinity to cold weather.

Keith Ladzinski



Whois: Another Nat Geo photog, filmmaker, 7 continents explorer, adventurer.

Why I Like Him: He goes outside the usual school of thought when it comes to outdoor photography which makes for unique and stunning imagery.

What Can You Learn From Him: He started as a sports photographer and later began applying the lighting techniques he learned doing that to outdoor photography, with spectacular results. You can learn a lot about how thinking outside the box when it comes to creative arts can bring new and unique results.

Dorin Bofan



Whois: Fellow Romanian nature photographer, mountaineer, traveler.

Why I Like Him: He has a way of telling stories, both through photography and text that is scarce in these day and times, as the digital revolution made photography accessible to the masses.

What Can You Learn From Him: Light! Light is the quintessential factor for good photography and learning to see and use the light can take you from being average to becoming an outstanding nature photographer.

Joel Grimes



Whois: Advertising photographer, trainer.

Why I Like Him: He shoots incredibly good environmental portraits. Natural light purists should look away. His portraits are sharp, well crafted and intuitive and I think they capture the true character of his subjects.

What Can You Learn From Him: He has tons of BTS (behind the scenes) material and tips and tricks on how his photos are created. Gold!

Brendan van Son



Whois: Second Canadian from the list, travel photographer, vlogger.

Why I Like Him: He has a nack in capturing the true feeling of the places he visits and he uses unique perspectives to give his travel photography an edge.

What Can You Learn From Him: His daily vlog is inspiring and chock full of tips and tricks on travel photography.

Khalid Ramirez



Whois: Portrait/editorial photographer from Nairobi, Kenya.

Why I Like Him: His unique use of light and colour makes for fresh and inspiring portraiture. His low light photographs are out of this world!

What Can You Learn From Him: It can teach you a lot about developing your unique style and working towards delivering your unique view of the world through photography.

David Alan Harvey



Whois: Magnum photographer, publisher and editor of Burn Magazine.

Why I Like Him: Real photography. Images that have character, nuance and an intimate feel.

What Can You Learn From Him: Composition. Use of light. Developing an eye for details. Capturing the spirit of your subjects.

Matthew Smith



Whois: Underwater wildlife photographer. Aussie.

Why I Like Him: He has this unique way of shooting aquatic critters, by capturing them at the intersection between air and water. This technique of showcasing two worlds at the same time gives his photography a dreamy, somewhat surreal look.

What Can You Learn From Him: Experiment with different angles to portray your photo subjects in an interesting perspective.

Sam Droege



Whois: Entomologist, naturalist, head of United States Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab.

Why I Like Him: He’s a passionate entomologist with a mission to study bees and spread over the internet the beauty of nature, big and small, and tell stories about the bugs he photographes.

What Can You Learn From Him: Photstacking! It’s the only technique that will allow you to create out-of-this-world macro photography.


Instagram can be a network rich in inspiring work from the industry’s top dogs. Depends on who you follow.

I made it a rule not to follow my Facebook friends, as Instagram is the one place I don’t want to see selfies and cupcakes photos.

I use it like a library full of photography books waiting to get read. OK, more like magazines. But you get the jist.

Hope you find the above photographers as inspiring as I do. It’s OK if you don’t. Actually, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please leave a comment below with your top Instagram photographers and why you follow them. Would love to refresh my feed.


5 reasons why I’ll never be a good photographer

Yes, you’ve read that right. Self-deprecation is my game. However, I’m writing this blog post for YOU. Yes, for you, the aspiring photographer, so you wouldn’t make the same mistakes as I am.

#1 I’m lazy

I don’t get up to catch the morning light. I neither go out at sunset. I use my tripod mostly as coat hanger. I barely take my DSLR with me, as it’s bulky and I’m afraid I’l scare people away.

I don’t read as often as I should. I don’t prepare.

My blog is maintained as often as I clean my room – once in a blue moon. My camera is dusty. Do you know what dust does to a DSLR? Me neither. But a dusty, unused camera shoots crappy photos. And crappy photos makes for a bad photographer, don’t it?

I’m so lazy that it takes me about two weeks to transfer photos from the camera’s memory card into Lightroom. I think it’s a fear of having to witness my crappy photos and knowing that I’ll have to try real hard to squeeze something decent out of them in post processing.

#2 I don’t know my gear

I own a DSLR camera, a fixed 35mm lens, a speedlight and a tripod. That’s it. Despite the small amount of gear I own, I still don’t know how to operate them head to bottom. The panning technique, night photography, rear curtain sync, photo-stacking, etc. These are all things that I should’ve know by now but I don’t. Don’t get me started with using the speedlight off-camera.

It’s like learning how to drive. If you don’t know what every knob and switch does, you can still operate the vehicle, but you won’t make the best of it and you’ll get stuck someday.

Oh, and about post processing in Lightroom and Photoshop – I’m light years away from a 15 year olds that makes a better living editing photos.

This is where I go when I feel sad about not being a good photographer.

This is where I go when I feel sad about not being a good photographer.

#3 I don’t experiment

Photography is about portraying the look and feel of a place or a particular subject. And doing that in new and interesting ways creates new and interesting photographs. Which I don’t do. In the article about my favorite photographers on Instagram, I showcased how most of them stood up from the crowd of creatives by pushing the boundaries and trying new techniques.

I think it boils down to the reason on number one, but it must be more than this. Must be something more ingrained in me, more primal, more powerful than simple apathy and inertia.

Which brings me to number 4:

#4 I’m afraid

Of losing. Of winning. Of getting out there and shooting people (with a camera, of course). I am really nervous when I shoot something for a client. I’m afraid of approaching strangers on the street and asking to shoot their portraits. Getting my work out there is a highly explosive mix of appreciation for my art and self-depreciation. I start a thousand projects in my head and none in real life. Whenever I get a call for a photoshoot, I get shivering chills on my back and I start to stutter. I sweat profoundly on location. I always feel this immense pressure when I try to take someone’s picture and I think I’ll fail to provide just one flattering image. So I stop myself from trying new things. It sucks. Why do you think this project was done during nighttime? (my hometown link)

5# I don’t take photography seriously

I never did take it seriously, although it has been an integral part of my life for quite some time now. There’s a huge discrepancy between me as a photographers and the real me. It’s like two people that will never meet. Like a Maasai in Tanzania and a bulgarian grandmother. They’re worlds apart.

I don’t even feel comfortable in saying that I’m a photographer. Must be the impostor syndrome or, most likely, my work is so bad that it barely qualifies me as a photographer.

I have friends that make a living out of it. Some live really well. Others are professionals with a really expensive hobby (gear acquisition syndrome). But all of them are proud of what they do. They worked hard for it, they should be.

All the photogs that I follow on Instagram feel so distant to me. They are like gods. Out of reach, with special powers and magical formulas. I’ll never be one of them so I don’t even try.

And then I roll into my hole again, and tuck the camera away and let it get dusty. And a dusty camera makes for crappy photos. And then I repeat all of the above, over and over again.


Don’t do the above.

The end.

This is what it looks like when I'm sad for not being a good photographer.

My Hometown Looks Incredible Eerie During Winter Nights

So here’s the deal. I’ve been struggling to get back into photography for a while now

The reason I left? I’ve been struggling to get better at it.

I knew I really loved making pictures, I knew what my pictures should look like, but I just couldn’t make them. I just couldn’t find the right dial to turn on my camera, the right aperture, focus distance or ISO speed.

I wanted to convey a particular mood of the scene I was witnessing, I knew it would turn up a good photograph (maybe even great), but I couldn’t find the right settings to capture that moment. That feeling, actually.

I couldn’t work the light. And the light, as they say, is crucial to photography.

There’s a quote from Ira Glass relating to this struggle. Watch the video below; it’s exactly what I was going through (and still am). It’s frustrating as hell and discouraging and can be isolating, as you feel alone in your struggles with the craft your pursuing.


What you are doing is not that good

It has ambition to be good, but it’s not there yet. What you’re actually making in that stage is a disappointment to you. And it’s brutally painful to be disappointment by your own creation. Probably that how most parents feel. 

So that’s what I was going through some years back. And I quit. As I’ve previously said, I quit adding content to my photo blog on Blogger in 2013.

I’ve tried to get back, though. I’ve bought a macro lens somewhere in 2015 and I began trying again to scone my skills. Having a new focal length (90mm) and the nature of the lens (fixed focal) forced me to get out of my comfort zone and learn new stuff. It lasted me several months, barely.

Again, the frustration kicked in. Those superbly lit, incredibly sharp macro photos you see all over the net? Didn’t happen. It turns out, shooting macro photos handheld is incredibly difficult! As I didn’t had a tripod back then, the lens got less and less used.

After several portraits attempts (which, btw, the Tamron does a wonderful job at), I eventually sold it in exchange for a fixed focal 35 mm.

What’s ironic is that the old iPhone camera is the one that got me to shot photos again.

I know, I know, “Not a real photographer!” you say. But think about it. I was fed up with carrying a bulky, heavy DSLR camera with me all the time. I remember it got to the point where I would witness all events in my life through the camera’s viewfinder, out of fear of missing some important shot. That’s tiring.

Enter the lil’ ol’ iPhone camera. You already have the mobile phone with you, because we live in a world where we’re all connected, all the time. The gear is small enough not to bother you yet powerful enough to capture some interesting compositions.

OK, not that powerful. But together with the wide array of photo editing apps out there, even the most untrained and uninitiated photographer can snap interesting enough photography.

So this happened – I got interested in photography again

I began looking for cool subjects to shoot, searching for rays of light, interesting shadows and contrasting colours.

I started taking long walks after work, just to look for interesting aspects of day to day life I could capture. I began seeing everything with fresh eyes.

I guess reading a lot on creativity really inspired me, and it’s nice when you have so many creative people to siphon inspiration from.

Then it hit me. I was looking at it all wrong. The streets IS the interesting subject for my photography.

As I made it a habit to go for long walks after work, I realized my town had this weird, eerie, yet beautiful vibe about it.

During hard winter times (it can get as low as -20C/ -4F), people usually tend to stay inside, enjoying the warmth and coziness of their apartments. This leaves the town empty, quiet and cold.

I wanted to portray the feeling it gave me wandering the streets alone in winter’s bittering cold.

So I used cinematic filters build in Lightroom to convey the images a noir, dystopian look (I was shooting for that Blade Runner look).

As I shot more and more photographs, I really started to appreciate my small little town, with it’s quirkiness and dark, reserved character.

So I give you Bacau at night. Let the dark stillness of the winter nights inspire you!

Bacau during wintertime

Bacau during wintertime

Bacau during wintertime

Bacau during wintertime

Bacau during wintertime

Bacau during wintertime

Bacau during wintertime

Bacau during wintertime

Bacau during wintertime

Bacau during wintertime

Bacau during wintertime


10 Photography and Productivity Sites I Read

chase jarvis blog

I’ve been away for a while, mostly out working, doing side projects and learning new tricks. But my fingertips were itching for a new blog post, so I’ll give you a short one, bullet-point list style, as this kind of posts were raving all through 2016.

Keeping myself busy has been my mantra recently. I have really gotten into life hacks, productivity apps, reading a lot of self help books and tech blogs. Whenever I have some spare time, I tend to either open Pocket on my phone to catch up with my overdue reading list, or scribble down ideas for blog posts, or do 10 minutes of French on Duolingo.

I also began running a lot lately. I run, in case you didn’t know.

More importantly, I started street photography again. There’s a queue of “keepers” on my Lightroom timestrip that are dying to make out to Instagram. Soon…

I think all of this comes from the scary realisation that I have wasted years of my life on trivialities. Got caught up in the 9 to 5 routine (more like 9 to 7), heading home, grabing dinner and two bruskies in front of two or three episodes of House of Cards. Better yet, whole weekends were spent binging on the latest airings of insert favorite show here.

So, without further ado, here are the top 10 sites I’ve read in 2016 (and still do), without any specific order:

1. Instagram

Instagram!?” I hear you screaming in disgust. “Is this a joke?” I kid you not, blog reader. I’ve been on Instagram for over a year now and I’ve been following some really influential photographers there. And it helped me a lot.

Instagram is a great place to meet creative people all over the world and build a small (or big) community centered around photography and the visual arts. I learned a lot about composition, framing, landscape photography and how to build a fanbase.

If you can find your way to the talented people out there on the social network, it can become a wonderful tool for inspiration in photography.

link to bogdabo's Instagram feed

My Instagram Feed

2. Medium

Wait, I know what you are thinking. This is not a photography website. Wrong. The same as Instagram, there are tons of publishers on Medium wanting to get their content out into the world. You just need to find the ones that interest you the most. Vantage is just one example.

link to photography blog Vantage on Medium.com


Anyway, I haven’t put Medium on the list for photography.

It’s the life changing (yes, I used that phrasing) content from people like Garyvee, Benjamin Hardy, David Heinemeier Hansson, James Altucher, etc that’s of real value to me. Please give it a shot and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

3. Digital Photography School

Admittedly, I don’t browse it much any longer, but I had to put it here because I’ve grew up with it. Back in the days, when I bought my first DSLR, a Sony Alpha A200, I used to devour the site. I knew all the articles.

Darren Rose created the site to help fellow photographers getting started with digital photography and it grew into a behemoth over the years. Definitely your number one site to go to if you are just starting in photography.

link to photography website https://digital-photography-school.com


4. and 5. Chase Jarvis – His Blog and CreativeLive

Chase Jarvis is an award-winning American photographer, director, artist, and entrepreneur”. That’s straight up from his bio, other attempts to try and describe him would be utterly useless.

He’s one of the first photographers that stuck with me since my beginnings and I’m still reading his blog for inspiration.

link to chase jarvis' blog


He’s also the man behind CreativeLive – hence the number 5 on our list –  an online education platform targeting creatives. You can find there tons of courses, tutorials, workshops and whatnot, in vast areas from the creative industry (photography, video, design, audio, music, etc) both free and paid.

It’s a great tool to keep your creative muscles flexed.

link to the education platform creativelive.com


6. James Altucher

I’ve mentioned him before at number 2, but I believe he deserves a separate spot. He’s been a real inspiration to me, particularly in making better career and life choices.

He’s an entrepreneur, a writer, a millionaire, a bankrupt, a millionaire again, a bestselling author, a hedge fund manager, a blogger, a podcaster and many, many other things.

PS: I think I might’ve copied his writing style a bit. 

link to james altucher's website


7. Eric Kim’ Blog

A staple of street photography, eric Kim is a Hanoi based photographer with a huge talent for capturing captivating moments on the street.

He started as an amateur photographer, building his blog while working in a company, and making street photos in his time off. His blog became a major success and now he tries to educate people on the art of photography through his workshops and books.

He’s another big inspiration that helped me move past the fear of approaching strangers in the street and really start making photos.

link to street photographer's eric kim's blog


8. Casey Neistat

More a Youtube personality than a photographer, Casey Neistat is a vlogger amassing a large number of followers on his channel. His videos are smart, creative, witty and have a sick soundtrack.

As many other artists on this list, he started from humble beginnings, moving to New York to follow his own path. He got a job washing dishes, bought a Mac computer and a camera with his savings, and started shooting and editing short clips in his spare time, on the streets of the Big Apple. Shortly after Youtube has launched, he started posting his clips online and the rest is history.

Some people disprove him as a hipster with a Youtube channel (which, in fact, is actually true) that charges a fortune to influence people to buy stuff over social media (which is also true), but he has a way of directing that really stands out.

He took Nike’s money, flew all over the world until his budget ran out, filmed everything and made it an ad. And it’s ridiculously good. Give it 4 and a half minutes:

9. Fstoppers

Your go-to site for news about photography. It’s a humongous community of both amateur and professional photographers, reaching over 1.5 million photographers and around 4 million pageviews a month.

I need not say more. Bookmark it now!

link to photography site fstoppers.com


10. Dpreview

This is the site that I used to read BEFORE I even bought a DSLR camera.  It’s the go-to place for in depth camera/lens reviews, having the most comprehensive database of consumer digital cameras in the world.

Their reviews are professional, in-depth, unbiased, full of pertinent tests and real-world performance analysis. They were bought by Amazon in 2017 so, well… I don’t know why I brought that up.

You need to buy a new dslr camera but you’re not sure what suites you? Hit the link below:

link to photography camera review website dpreview.com


The End

There you go, 10 of the most frequented/loved sites that I read.

The list is totally subjective, as you might have guest, so you might find some of them not quite your style.

The list is also not complete, as I’ve omitted some other interesting sites due to laziness.

Stay posted though, I have a few more articles lined up that I think you’ll like.


On time wasting

Christmas Tree in Bacau, Romania

Time wasting must be the biggest thing holding you back from improving your life dramatically. Excuse me… Time wasting must be the biggest thing holding me back from improving my life dramatically. I know it, I am aware of it, and I seldom do anything regarding it.

Here’s an example: in 2013 I quit adding content on my blog (over at blogger.com back then). It’s been four years since I’ve written something, made a photograph or did anything close to photography. 4 years! That’s a lot of time wasting.

Example number two: I’ve started this blog on the 1st of December 2016 and it has been almost two weeks since I’ve posted anything. And no, i’m not a business mogul and/or have 3 kids waiting at home.

I have several “keepers” photographs in my camera roll in Lightroom that are just sitting there, waiting to get polished. I have ideas about what and how to photograph certain things and places. I have a short film idea I’ve been dying to jump start. And I also have that new PS 4 game I have to finish.

Audit yourself. Take a step back and take a look at how you’re spending your 10-12 hour day. I guarantee that 25% of it is spent doing dumb sh*t. Gary Vaynerchuk

Yes, dumb sh*t. Just consider how many times you’ve procrastinated and, instead of doing real work, you’ve spend time online on useless browsing. Social media, Youtube, TV shows, blogs like this. And it’s not that anyone really cares about what you do with your life. But usually, anyone has that one thing that complains about in their life, that one thing that might be better, faster, more of. No money? Too fat? You’re not happy with your photography (aimed at me, obviously)? Then stop wasting time and do something!

The thing that prompted me to write this post is the Holidays, of course. Why the Holidays, you ask? Well, because everyone wastes a lot of time during the Christmas holidays. Everyone has time off. You go see your family, you cook traditional dishes, you drink (a lot) and you make awkward conversations with long lost relatives.

Don’t get me wrong, time spend with family is time well spend (most of it, anyway). I’m not THAT anti-social. But we tend to go overboard. I tend to do that. I get into vacay mode. Everything is rescheduled for “after”. Dinners take longer, conversations drag, drinks pop open like it’s… well, the holidays. But you get my point.

And what’s really ironic is that this could be an excellent time for self improving because now you really “have” time.. Time for picking up the slack once you’ve got your boss off your back and you can finally work for yourself. Now you can finally start that Illustrator tutorial on lynda.com. Or set up you shop on Etsy and sell your embroidery, like you’ve always dreamed of. Or publish your first blog post. Seth Godin puts it clearly:

The week between Christmas and New Years is notoriously quiet. Your phone buzzes less often, there are no client meetings, no deadlines. If you work for yourself, this might be the perfect week to take my freelancer course. Seth Godin

Or forget his course and set up your freelancer profile on Upwork and start working for yourself. Whatever creams your biscuit.

I had a lot of time off for holidays. I didn’t do sh*t. I could’ve go out and shoot more pictures. I could’ve start working on that little coffee book I have been planning for some time. I should’ve worked out more, start a spinning class and pick up swimming like I planned last summer. No sir. We tend to gather a lot of “could’ve’s” along the years. We start with a good intention and stumble along the way. Take a short break here and there, have a glass of wine (more than one, admit it), watch a show, sleep an hour more. And then it’s Christmas again.

Time is and asset and we I should start treating it like one.

Happy late Holidays!

Christmas Tree in Bacau, Romania

Christmas Tree in Bacau, Romania


A word about pollution

image showing plastic pollution near a river in Bacau, Romania

I run.

I’m biologist, a photographer, an environmentalist, and sometimes a runner. I don’t like putting tags on people, but that’s who I am. Sometimes I’m just one of those things, sometimes I’m all of them combined. When the latter happens, you can most certainly find me wandering the “wild areas” surrounding my town. Usually, with a camera in my tiny running backpack. Although I don’t make a habit in running in the golden hours of the day, ideal for landscape photography, I usually take my camera with me just to force me squeeze something out of that plastic light trap. The good old iPhone camera will do if I feel to slothful. The thing is, since I started running off road (pardon, trail running), I became much more aware of the environment around me.

One thing about trail running

Trail running is very different than… well, usual city running. It might seem like I’m exaggerating, cause running is still running, right? But trust me, it’s a whole nother world. Different shoes, different technique; you need to know your way around so you won’t get lost. Maybe bring a hydration pack cause you spend 1+ hours in the field, dog spray in my case (lots of stray dogs in Romania, packs in the woods), fully charged mobile phone, etc, etc. I could go on with the list. If you’d like to learn more about trail running, there are tons of info online. I’d start here.
The most important part about trail running is the environmental awareness I was mentioning previously. You learn to to be aware of what’s around you. You see the environment you’re running in. You feel it; you thread lightly or you twist your ankle. If you’re not aware, you get eaten by the bear.
What I’ve learned though is just how much we really do impact the environment around us.
imagine showing a hydroelectric dam build on a river

A hydroelectric dam built on a river near my town, Bacau, Romania. @bogdabo

Anthropogenic impact is everywhere

The areas I run in are not far away from human establishments. Be it a patchy forest, a hilly trail or a path down by the river, I’m never to far away from my fellow humans. Small towns and villages, housing mostly lower class families, with little to no education, they leave their impact wherever they happen to settle. Wherever humans work or gather socially, their impact is visible. Every place you go, you have to try really hard not to find a piece of plastic, a discarded gadget or tool, degradation caused by livestock or plain and simple littering.
I’m not sure how things are in other countries, but from what I can see, there’s a a correlation between the level of education and the level of environmental pollution in a community. I might be wrong though, as I’ve seen rough places in developed countries from the western side of Europe, so don’t take my word for granted.
Lately, I’ve been working with Adventure Scientists Worldwide and, from their map here you can clearly see that plastic is everywhere. Scientists call the times we live in as Anthropocence, as we humans have “caused mass extinctions of plant and animal species, polluted the oceans and altered the atmosphere, among other lasting impacts.”
image showing plastic pollution near a river in Bacau, Romania

Same place, diferent perspective. @bogdabo

We’ve lost connection with the environment

And this is funny to me. As I progress into running and my trails get longer and longer, I get more connected to the land I run on. But in the same time, everywhere I look I see signs of people loosing this connection. They treat the environment like a service one can use with unlimited prescription. And what’s more ironic is that in Romania, there are still lots of communities that depend on the land for their food and income. Some people still use the same techniques their grandparents used to farm the land and cater the livestock.
And I guess I’m just selfish. I don’t like running in garbage.
Stop fucking littering.