10 Photographers I Follow on Instagram

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

https://www.instagram.com/chrisburkard/

instagram.com/chrisburkard

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

https://www.instagram.com/paulnicklen/

instagram.com/paulnicklen

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

https://www.instagram.com/ladzinski/

instagram.com/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

https://www.instagram.com/dorinbofan/

instagram.com/dorinbofan

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

https://www.instagram.com/joelgrimesworkshops/

instagram.com/joelgrimesworkshops

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

https://www.instagram.com/brendanvanson/

instagram.com/brendanvanson

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

https://www.instagram.com/khalidramirez/

instagram.com/khalidramirez

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

https://www.instagram.com/davidalanharvey/

instagram.com/davidalanharvey

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

https://www.instagram.com/mattysmithphoto/

instagram.com/mattysmithphoto

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

https://www.instagram.com/usgsbiml/

instagram.com/usgsbiml/

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.

Conclusion

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.

Cheers!

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.

Conclusion

Don’t do the above.

The end.

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

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

medium.com/vantage

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

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

chasejarvis.com/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

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

jamesaltucher.com

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

erickimphotography.com/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

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

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.

Cheers!