With 150 million active users as of January 2014, people find a myriad of uses for Instagram: keeping up with friends, keeping fit, keeping the world updated on what you had for lunch (and breakfast and dinner). For professional photographers, Instagram offered a new way to showcase their photos and allow more people to discover their work, as even with near-perfect SEO on a portfolio website, the average person would only find surreal surf photography or extraordinary shots of St. Peter’s Basilica by accident. But with Instagram, and one tap of the search key, users can discover brilliant professional photography, that otherwise would have been left hidden in cyberspace.
Since many pros don’t use searchable hashtags, we’ve compiled a list of 30 professional photographers over ten categories (in no particular order) to highlight the best Instagram has to offer to kick off 2014.
Photo via Instagram: @dayzdandconfuzd
In a digital world, Los Angeles-based photographer and musician David Ingraham, has managed to retain a print element to his photos. The shadowy, black and white captures make the feed intriguing and addictive. See more @dayzdandconfuzd.
photo via Instagram: @HumansOfNY
Brandon Stanton’s Instagram feed is an extension of his project Humans of New York. Charged with the humble task of storytelling through photographs, Stanton’s pictures depict New Yorkers in their natural urban habitat, with great success. See the pictures and read the stories @HumansOfNY.
Photo via Instagram: @acetsyles
Caribbean-born graphic designer and photographer Ariel C also chose New York as his subject, but invokes an HDR quality in his images, putting a new twist on the traditionally gritty street photography genre. Follow him @acestyles.
Want more? Search #streetstyle #streetphotography #portraits #bw
Photo via Instagram: @kevinruss
Kevin Russ is synonymous with iPhone photography (or iPhoneography if you want to get technical). Russ took upwards of 3,380 images from across North America with his iPhone, replete with stunning, dreamy landscapes. Next stop: South America. Keep up with Russ @kevinruss.
Photo via Instagram: @koci
Richard Koci Hernandez has over 20 years of experience as a photojournalist, but fell in love with the iPhone and the ability to instantly share and connect with people who appreciate his work. See more of his black and white ‘grams @koci.
Photo via Instagram: @takinyerphoto
One of the original #igers, Anthony Danielle, also remains dedicated to his iPhone as camera of choice. Follow his feed of candid New York captures @takinyerphoto.
Want more? Search #iphoneonly #iphonesia
Photo via Instagram: @brahmino
Italian creative director Simone Bramante combines nature and movement to sculpt magical posts that inspire and motivate. For pictures of people floating through the air and stepping on clouds (sans Photoshop) follow @brahmino.
Photo via Instagram: @MichaelChristoperBrown
Photojournalist and National Geographic photographer Michael Christopher Brown’s Instagram feed brings his followers across the globe as he captures revolutionaries in Libya and trains systems in China. See more of Brown’s latest project in the Congo @MichaelChristoperBrown.
Photo via Instagram: @dguttenfelder
Best known for his coverage of North Korea, photographer David Guttenfelder has won a Pulitzer Prize and an Infinity Award within the last two years. His Instagram feed shows stunning and provoking pictures of his daily life as the Associated Press photographer for Asia and projects in the region. Keep up with Guttenfelder on his latest assignment for The New York Times Magazine @dguttenfelder.
Want more? Search #stories #nytimes #natgeo #portrait
Photo via Instagram: @bythebrush.
Armed with only an iPhone, pencil and paint Laura E. Pritchett, creates softly lit and composed photographs from her Delaware home. Pritchett’s signature aesthetic has garnered her over 100,000 followers. See what they see @bythebrush.
Photo via Instagram: @moneal
Photographer, graphic designer and co-founder of Tinker*Mobile, Michael O’Neal has a lot to juggle, but still manages to update his Instagram with cinematic images of people (and occasionally animals) in their habitats. Follow for more @moneal.
Photo via Instagram: @pauloctavious
Chicago-based photographer and designer Paul Octavious uses a mix of mediums and effects for the bold and fun photos that make it onto his feed. Follow at @pauloctavious.
Want more? Search #instaart #stilllife
Photo via Instagram: @thomaspeschak
Conservationist and photographer Thomas Peschak only has 29 pictures on Instagram, but already has 18,000 followers. The reason? He photographs sharks for National Geographic. Make every week Shark Week with @thomaspeschak.
Photo via Instagram: @stefanounterthiner
The much awarded and honoured photographer Stefano Unterthiner has a modest feed of extraordinary wildlife photography. See close-ups of komodo dragons and brown bears @stefanounterthiner.
Photo via Instagram: @jermzlee
Norm, the adopted pug from Washington State, is pretty lucky — he has photographer Jeremy Veach to document his every move and milestone. Follow Norm and his “Pug Shot” series @jermzlee.
Want more? Search #wildlife #dogsofinstagram #dogstagram #catsofinstagram #catstagram
Photo via Instagram: @mertalas
Mert Alas (half of Mert and Marcus, the fashion photographer duo), keeps his Instagram feed stocked with pictures of pals Kate Moss and Heidi Klum, and even an occasional professional selfie. Follow @mertalas, but be warned, some posts are NSFW.
Photo via Instagram: @_glen_luchford
Photographer and director Glen Luchford has worked for the likes of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar and posts unpublished photos to his feed. To break up the stream of edgy editorial pics, he also posts vintage Polaroids and the odd iPhone snap. Follow @_glen_luchford.
Photo via Instagram: @inezvinoodh
Husband and wife fashion photography team Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin have captured the likes of everyone from Lara Stone to Lady Gaga — and happily share their works, behind the scenes shots and candid pics of their son on Instagram. Follow @inezvinoodh.
Want more? Search #editorial #couture #pfw #mfw #mertandmarcus
Photo via Instagram: @othellonine
When you live in Vancouver like photographer Scott Rankin, it is difficult to not be inspired by Beautiful British Columbia. View his 400-post-strong feed of coastline, mountain and forest pics @othellonine.
Photo via Instagram: @colerise
Photographer and pilot Cole Rise has the advantage of adding a different perspective and point-of-view to his portfolio. Checkout uncomplicated scenery from Norway to Japan with @colerise.
Photo via Instagram: @matsumotokazuo
Changing with the seasons, photographer and art director Matsumoto Kazuo’s images offer a dynamic twist on landscape photography. Get inspired with @matsumotokazuo.
Photo via Instagram: @muradosmann
Prepare for travel envy with Murad Osmann (@muradosmann) and his beautiful girlfriend and travel companion Natalia Zakharova (@yourleo) as she leads him around the world from Central Park to Singapore.
Photo via Instagram: @kristenalana
Travel the world and get travel tips and history lessons with photographer and documentarian Kirsten Alana. Did you know Niagara-on-the-Lake has a yearly ice wine festival with artisanal snack pairings? @kirstenalana did.
Photo via Instagram: @jimmy_chin
Go from surfing in Mexico to hanging out with monks at the base of Mount Everest with photographer, filmmaker and athlete Jimmy Chin (@jimmy_chin).
Want more? Search #jetsetter #globetrotter #nomad #takemethere
Photo via Instagram: @sarkababicka
London-based photographer Sarka Babicka knows food photography done well and can make even the simplest cup of coffee look mouth-watering. “Cook, bake, eat travel and document” with @sarkababicka.
Photo via Instagram: @Sliceofpai
Taking advantage of the multicultural food offerings in Vancouver, BC, photographer and stylist Joann Pai, captures the best and tastiest of the food scene, with occasional trips to Seattle and flashbacks to her time in Paris. See food porn done right with @Sliceofpai.
Photo via Instagram: @Rick_poon
Wander through Los Angeles and beyond with photographer Rick Poon as he documents the adventures in baking, eating healthy and dining out (and also many cups of coffee) @Rick_poon.
Want more? Search #foodporndaily #miamiam #localfood #organicfood
Photo via Instagram: @chrisbukard
Brush up on your surf lingo with photographer Chris Burkard. Whether it’s waiting for a set in the tropics or paddling around glaciers at the poles @chrisburkard will be there.
Photo via Instagram: @Scottrinck
In the mountains of Washington State and British Columbia, photographer Scott Rinckenberger produces shot after shot of skiers, mountaineers and mountain bikers. Join him on his current sojourn to the Philippines @Scottrinck.
Photo via Instagram: @Duncanphilpott
Half of the Steel City Media team, Duncan Philpott photographs mountain bikers in various states of defying gravity. His feed also features some stunning landscape shots from his projects around the world. Follow @Duncanphilpott.
Want more? Search #redbullillume #bmxlife #surflife #mtb #neverstopexploring