16 Photographers to Follow on Instagram

When I was in Madison two weeks ago, I gave a lecture that was subtitled, “…Or How Instagram Saved My Business.” It got a pretty good laugh (Thanks folks, I’m here all night), but mostly it made people curious about what I meant. For me, Instagram was an a-ha moment that taught me to rediscover the web all over again. Prior to Instagram, I was struggling to understand the major web changes happening and wondered why people were leaving blogs and homepages in exchange for social platforms. Instagram changed that for me in a big way. When I found myself falling in love with the excitement, immediacy and intimacy of Instagram, I understood what these other social platforms (Pinterest, Tumblr, etc.) meant to people who hadn’t necessarily clicked with the first and second generation of blogs and websites. Each of these platforms present a new chance for people to find a place that feels comfortable for them to share their voice online and celebrate something they love and find inspiring.

For me, Instagram has been about rediscovering my love of photography. From portrait photographers out West to amazing food photographers in Europe, I feel like a complete newbie collecting names and getting nervous to email people and tell them how much I love their work. But these amazing photographers are moving me to look at my camera and pictures with a new passion, excitement and dedication. Today I’m sharing 16 of my favorites (I follow several hundred, so I’ll share more in the future) to get you started if you’re looking for some new inspiration at your hands. Thanks to everyone on this list (and all the others I follow) for motivating me to work harder and study up on photography skills and new ideas. xo, grace

Click through for the full list after the jump!

Design*Sponge 16 Instagram Photographers to Follow: This photo by Instagram.com/JANSKE
Janske: Janske is sort of a legend when it comes to landscape photography. His work is recommended in most photography roundups – and rightfully so.

Design*Sponge 16 Instagram Photographers to Follow: This photo by Instagram.com/THISWILDIDEA
Theron Humphrey (This Wild Idea): If you just say the word “Maddie,” most of my Instagram friends will go “Ohh! I love that feed!” Theron travels around the country and takes some of the most captivating photos of his dog Maddie standing on hilarious things or just generally looking beautiful.

Design*Sponge 16 Instagram Photographers to Follow: This photo by Instagram.com/OTHELLONINE
Scott Rankin: Vancouver is the home base of this photographer who has legions of fans. Scott’s nature photography is beautiful and dramatic and makes me long for a vacation in British Columbia.

Design*Sponge 16 Instagram Photographers to Follow: This photo by Instagram.com/HEYSP
Sarah Palmer: I’ve been following Sarah’s feed for a while now and LOVE the way she plays with letters she finds. Whether it’s pasta, cereal or tiny Scrabble keys, she’s always creating something clever and pretty to see.

Design*Sponge 16 Instagram Photographers to Follow: This photo by Instagram.com/HUMANSOFNY
Humans of New York: This feed is the extension of the wildly popular site (and book) that chronicles the lives of everyday New Yorkers and uses a single pull-quote to accompany every picture. Sometimes controversial but always moving, this feed is a MUST for me.

Design*Sponge 16 Instagram Photographers to Follow: This photo by Instagram.com/THEWEAVERHOUSE
The Weaver House: Based in Portland, OR, Hannah and Kelty are twin sisters who run a photography and design studio. I love the way they experiment with flowers and other natural materials to create styled photographs. They also have a way with food photos, too.

Design*Sponge 16 Instagram Photographers to Follow: This photo by Instagram.com/TYPEFIEND
Gregory Han: Greg is a former Apartment Therapy editor who now works at Design Milk writing about tech. But I love his feed for its stunning nature photography. Along with his girlfriend Emily (who also has a beautiful feed), Greg seems to always be exploring gorgeous forests, rocky coasts and tide pools to find fresh fungi, sea creatures and other natural elements (which Emily uses for classes and cooking!).

Design*Sponge 16 Instagram Photographers to Follow: This photo by Instagram.com/LOCAL_MILK
Beth Kirby (Local Milk): Beth was kind enough to share a delicious cinnamon roll recipe with us a few weeks ago and we’ve all been following her dark and dramatic food photography ever since. I love the way she can make even the most everyday of meals look like a stunning, high-end photo shoot.

Design*Sponge 16 Instagram Photographers to Follow: This photo by Instagram.com/_GABRIELFLORES
Gabriel Flores: Gabriel’s feed is one of my favorites for portraits. He takes such great shots of people around New York and during his travels outside of the country. I think he captures people laughing and smiling in such a graceful but natural way.

Design*Sponge 16 Instagram Photographers to Follow: This photo by Instagram.com/EMILY_JOHNSTON
Emily Johnston: We had the pleasure of working with Emily to shoot the cover and several interior stories for our Design*Sponge Summer Newspaper. Emily lives in Manhattan and has a great eye for capturing everything from morning coffee to soft interior light. She and Nicole Franzen (below) are friends and pop up in each other’s feeds often.

Design*Sponge 16 Instagram Photographers to Follow: This photo by Instagram.com/BENFWAGNER
Ben F Wagner: Ben shared some photos in our #dscolor competition and caught my eye with his ability to find color and pattern in unexpected places. A recent Brooklyn transplant, Ben is working at Makeshift Brooklyn, too – I hope we see him around the office!

Design*Sponge 16 Instagram Photographers to Follow: This photo by Instagram.com/CANELLEVANILLE
Canelle Vanille (Aran Goyoaga): Aran has been one of my favorite food writers for a long time and her photographs are on par with her delicious food. Her feed is full of moody but elegant photos of tablescapes, meals that have been thoroughly enjoyed and recipes in the making.

Design*Sponge 16 Instagram Photographers to Follow: This photo by Instagram.com/NICOLE_FRANZEN
Nicole Franzen: Nicole is one of the most well-known photographers in the Instagram community. She happens to live in our neighborhood and captures light and shadows throughout the city (and her travels outside of it) with such grace.

Design*Sponge 16 Instagram Photographers to Follow: This photo by Instagram.com/THEHAPPYHUNTERS
The Happy Hunters: Elise and Katy are bloggers who work together and take some fantastic photos along the way. I love their cheerful and upbeat portraits and travel photos. They may not be full-time professional photographers like some on this list, but they brighten up my day with their feed just as much as the pros.

Design*Sponge 16 Instagram Photographers to Follow: This photo by Instagram.com/MIMITHOR
Mimi Thorrison: Mimi is a wonderful cook (with a cookbook coming out this Fall!) who lives in France with her husband Oddur (below), their children and a slew of adorable terriers. Her food is rustic but gorgeous and she captures the details of her day-to-day life beautifully. This is the sort of feed that makes you want to run away to Europe.

Design*Sponge 16 Instagram Photographers to Follow: This photo by Instagram.com/ODDTHOR
Oddur Thorisson: Oddur is Mimi’s (above) husband and a very talented photographer. His photos make the already romantic and nostalgia-inducing world of the French countryside seem even more so.

  1. Martha says:

    Thank you for this! I’m fairly new to instagram, so I love these recommendations.

  2. Rebecca M says:

    I’m always looking for new people to follow on Instagram, so thank you for this!

  3. Nina says:

    I’m so glad you posted this. I’ve been looking for fun people to follow on Instagram. Great list!

  4. Julie says:

    I love these articles! Just one comment, when I read these I’m reading on my computer or iPad and I use Instagram on my phone. I’d be really helpful to include the person’s handle next to their name so people can search the handle. When I search the person’s name, especially if their handle is much different it takes longer to find (or I have to click their name to find the handle). Maybe this makes me lazy, but just a thought. I do love the new Instagram suggestions, I too am addicted! Thanks!

    1. Grace Bonney says:

      Hi Julie,

      Each person’s name is linked in the post, do those links not show up or not work? They’re working on my phone, but I don’t have an iPad to test on. I definitely didn’t intend for you to have to search for the name.


  5. Ben Wagner says:

    Thanks again, Grace! See you at the moving sale on Sat :)

  6. kelly says:

    Oh, Emily Johnston. My fave.

  7. So happy for these recommendations. Love Instagram, too, and always appreciate finding new people to follow. Thank you!

  8. Jennie says:

    Neal Santos is one of my favorite photogs to follow on Instagram!

  9. Summerbl4ck says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this list. I love Instagram! And I love discovering new people to follow. Sorry to have missed you in Madison.

  10. Steph says:

    Thanks for the inspiration! I love stumbling on new people to follow on Instagram. Looking forward to checking out all of these. I know a handful already :)

  11. Pia says:

    Inspiring and beautiful photos of people! I share my gallery, greetings! @piabressy


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