25 Amazing Photographers You Probably Didn’t Know About

Art builds upon art. All great artists in history build upon the work of their predecessors. Even if the artist radically changed their field, they still used the existing art around them as a jumping board into something new. This process is also valuable for photographers.

Growing as a photographer, means seeing the world in new ways. The work of other photographers can help you with this. Photographers also grow by learning new techniques. What better place to start than learning from those that have already mastered these techniques?

Here are three ways you can learn from the work of others, followed by a list of 25 great photographers to emulate.

Three Steps to Learn from the Work of Other Photographers

1. Study

Pay close attention to the individual photos of a photographer. Note the things you like, as well as the things you don’t like. Figure out the composition choices they’ve made. What would be the effect of a different composition? Study the lighting. What kind of light is used (soft,harsh, natural,artificial, etc.)? From what direction is the main light source coming from? Were there secondary light sources? Did they use a flash? Is the photo shot with a specific technique? Can you detect any evidence of post-processing? You are basically reverse engineering the photo, so you can continue on to step 2.

2. Copy

Imitating another artist is a very effective way of learning. The Helpful Art Teacher has great examples of famous artists imitating other artists. After studying the work of a photographer, you should have an idea how they created a photo or a certain effect. Now is the time to put that idea to the test. By trying to copy someone’s photo, you will learn more about the decisions that photographer made. It will also train you to pay even closer attention to the differences between your copy and the original. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t replicate the original photo exactly. Just by trying to copy a photo, you will improve your own photography skills.

3. Transform

In this final step, you take the original photo and transform it using your own creative judgement. For example, you could parody, dramatize, or even photoshop the original picture. If there was something about the original work you didn’t like, try to improve that. You could also apply the same technique, idea, composition, etc. to a different context. In short, it’s up to you. View this process as a conversation with the photographers that came before you. It’s now the time to carve out a space for your own unique voice.

25 Inspirational Photographers

Here’s a list of great photographers whose work is worth studying, copying, and transforming.

1. Alexandra Hager

portfolio Alexandra Hager

2. Zhang Jingna

portfolio Zhang Jingna

3. Seb Janiak

portfolio Seb Janiak

4. Michael DiDonna

portfolio Michael DiDonna

5. Quentin Shih

portfolio Quentin Shih

6. Francois-Xavier Marciat

portfolio Francois-Xavier Marciat

7. Simon Powell

portfolio Simon Powell

8. Hirano Aichi

portfolio Hirano Aichi

9. Marco Martinelli

Marco Martinelli

10. Frank Boenigk

portfolio Frank Boenigk

11. Kenny Kronholm

portfolio Kenny Kronholm

12. Dani Sanchez

portfolio Dani Sanchez

13. Diane Varner

portfolio Diane Varner

14. Pierre Choiniere

portfolio Pierre Choiniere

15. Michael David Adams

portfolio Michael David Adams

16. Kazuha Matsumoto

portfolio Kazuha Matsumoto

17. Koen Demuynck

portfolio Koen Demuynck

18. Robin Skjoldborg

portfolio Robin Skjoldborg

19. Florian Ritter

portfolio Florian Ritter

20. Holly Andres

portfolio Holly Andres

21. Nicole Franzen

portfolio Nicole Franzen

22. David Baker

portfolio David Baker

23. Diana Markosian

portfolio Diana Markosian

24. Cass Bird

portfolio Cass Bird

25. Tyler Shields

portfolio Tyler Shields