Ask a lot of young and developing artists what field they want to get into and you’ll often be met with the same response - fashion photography. The lure of working with the trendiest stars, clothing and accessories is magnetic.
What started as a tool for selling and promoting products, fashion photography has grown to what we know it to be today - a world of its own that reflects attitudes, stories and lifestyles.
Although fashion photography has changed immensely over the years, today’s artists owe a lot to legends of the past - talents like Guy Bourdin, Irving Penn and Helmut Newton, who challenged the constraints of the fashion industry to push new explorations of sexiness, femininity and masculinity.
Today, the fashion photography realm is booming - with new names popping up everyday. With the inception of Instagram heating up competition even further, we have seen artists rise to great success, popularise styles of shooting or innovate new trends, all through their feeds. Freelance photographer Gladys Ng says, ‘there are a lot of Instagram photographers, like models who are photographers. Everybody is a photographer… so opposition [now] is stronger.’
With Instagram’s focus on stunning visuals, it’s no surprise that almost every fashion photographer uses it. So, if you’re wanting to learn, love and lurk some fashion photography greats - here’s 30 accounts to follow and an insta tip to take away from each one.
Petra Colins is a photographer from Toronto who, through gaining traction on Instagram, has gone to celebrate a successful career in fashion photography. Going viral on the platform for posts that explored feminist issues, she got the attention of the right people. Petra has now shot tons of A-list celebs in her signature dreamy film style, using muted pastel hues to explore youth, sexuality and femininity.
Insta tip - show your passion through your posts - use your feed to spark conversation or debate, it’s a good way to get people to your page.
Matthew Brookes is a self-taught photographer who has used his multiple homes as inspiration for his photos. Growing up in South Africa, Matthew moved to London before living between Paris and New York - it’s obvious he is an adaptive photographer with a good understanding of his surroundings.
Insta tip - Matthew likes to share a lot of his shots, which works - if you love a set you did, post away (but don’t spam).
Glen Luchford is a photographer whose love of cinema influences his evocative and elaborate images. Luchford favors studio lighting, which helps him to play around with a big screen esthetic, something he pioneered during his early career in commercial print. Although he solidified himself as a pro before mobile phones were around, Luchford has taken his work digital and has a stunning account to follow.
Insta tip - formatting your feed to have a theme, like Glen’s use of white borders for most of his photos, gives a sense of uniformity and professionalism.
Nadia Lee Cohen’s Instagram is a place where the weird and wonderful collide. Nadia is a photographer and self-portrait artist - who often stages, takes and stars in her own photos. In 2016, the young model began gaining notoriety through her presence on IG, and landed some sweet clients and campaigns.
Insta tip - incorporating yourself in your work gives your Insta a personality and flair that is interesting to follow.
Lillie Eiger is a young London-based talent, who although hasn’t been in the game for long - is one to watch. In the early stages of her career, Lillie remains experimental as she continues to develop and master her style. It means you’ll never know what she’ll upload next, being an exciting addition to your following.
Insta tip - don’t be afraid to begin posting without having a distinct style - it’s a great way to watch your growth.
Mariano Vivanco is a master in pure photography, using simple light and shade to create iconic portraits, nudes and editorials. Keeping up his prolific output, whilst amassing a large Instagram following, resulted in Mariano being named one of the ‘500 Most Influential People In Fashion’ by the Business of Fashion in 2013.
Insta tip - Instagram can be a great tool for building a reputation and personal brand in the fashion photography world.
With an Instagram bio reading, ‘perfect is boring,’ it’s easy to see that Yu likes to document the quirky and eclectic side of fashion. Yu’s feed is great for people who love street photography or film, as that’s predominantly what it consists of. His IG is full of coolness, acting not only as an inspo for photography - but for life.
Insta tip - don’t stress about having a flawless feed, some people want to see a more everyday style of fashion photography.
Growing up with a grandfather who founded and ran a successful photography business, taking good photos is in Emma Tempest’s blood. Her style is sensual, seductive and fantastical, always able to evoke scenes of emotion in her shots.
Insta tip - tag everyone involved in the shoot - it’s a good way to get traction on your post as well as say thanks.
Horst Diekgerdes is an old pro, mastering the art of storytelling through his photos. Using soft light and incorporating interesting backdrops/locations, Horst often uses fashion to explore fairytale-like scenes. Sebastian Kim has some serious campaigns to his name, like Alexander Wang, Calvin Klein and Opening ceremony. He has a way with accentuating the human form - always producing tastefully sexy shots.
Insta tip - don’t be afraid to let your humor shine online - it’s cool to break up professionalism with a giggle.
Sebastian Kim has some serious campaigns to his name, like Alexander Wang, Calvin Klein and Opening ceremony. He has a way with accentuating the human form - always producing tastefully sexy shots.
Insta tip - posting shoots chronologically gives your feed a cohesion that is aesthetically beautiful.
Arnaud Pyvka manages to display a grace and softness in his photos that many struggle to nail. Using soft tints and a shallow depth of field he is able to produce evocative fashion photography. His feed seems to follow a theme of pastels - so pretty.
Insta tip - mixing your fashion photography with other forms of photography you do is a great way to show your versatility.
Arnaldo Anaya-Lucca is a fashion photographer with a twist - often capturing his models in movement or in the air. If you are interested in men’s fashion photography then he’s one to follow.
Insta tip - use collages to fit more work into one post - it almost gives your feed a magazine feel.
Georges Antoni is an Australian fashion photographer whose work has graced the pages of the biggest mags, including Vogue, Harpers Bazaar and Vanity Fair. Georges himself said, ‘the best fashion images depict a point in time in a given society...what women were wearing, what the times were like, what the feeling in those times were like. That’s really an important part of fashion photography.’ Can you see this in his photos?
Insta tip - Incorporate videos if you’ve got them! They not only look beautiful, but work really well with Instagram’s algorithms - meaning if you want to get noticed, they can help.
Tommy Ton is a fashion photographer who is in the scene, but doesn’t feel he fits in. Maybe it’s this ‘outsider’ perspective that helped him to pioneer street style photography. He is a faithful documenter of the fashion that happens off the runway, and has an Instagram full of style that is insanely enviable.
Insta tip - make use of the multi-photo swipe option, it gives you a chance to pack in more content without making your feed too busy.
Alessio Bolzoni is a fashion photographer who pushes the boundaries - his work is avant-garde, bold and dramatic. He often uses people or clothing to form interesting patterns or shapes. He knows how to mix old brands with new ideas, and somehow manages to pull off even the oddest of scenes.
Insta tip - try posting in sets of three - it looks great on your page.
Photography duo Julia Galdo and Cody Cloud, who work under the name Juco, are all about highly saturated colours, insane locations, crazy patterns and mixed textures. Their work is an explosion to the senses, with all the bright hues and fun shapes evoking a sense of childlike glee.
Insta tip - although themed Instagrams look great - random ones look beautiful as well. Juco’s account, which is full of random colours and patterns, still looks put together despite lacking cohesion.
James Houston is a fashion photographer with a particular skill for portraits. His past career as a sculptor has shaped and influenced his graphic style. Stefano Tonchi, the editor in chief of W magazine, says that James ‘creates a dialogue between the beauty of the human body and the changing forms of nature. Color and shapes meet in an almost sensorial experience.’
Insta tip - putting ‘photo’ in your account name (like @jameshoustonphoto) helps people know exactly what your accounts about before they even see a picture.
Dario Catellani’s work oozes cool, his conceptual editorial work and sleek street photography (mostly shot using film) will make any i-D fanatic jealous. He’s one of those photographers that can make anything look hip (see here a photo of flamingos legs) so when he gets a model in chic threads in front of the lens - magic happens.
Insta tip - share the love and post work by other artists, it displays knowledge and appreciation of the field.
Alasdair McLellan is a fashion photographer whose careers has seen him work across the biggest international names for decades. His book, Ultimate Clothing Company, explores modern British masculinity - something he documents through his photography aswell. He’s also the talent responsible for the cover of Adele’s album, 25.
Insta tip - create your own hashtag, people can use it when you gain a bit of notoriety, and it keeps all your work in one easily searchable space.
Anthony Trevino is a photographer who loves to get creative. His unique shots are often a result of props or backdrops that accentuate the clothes or model he’s shooting. He’s young and a budding talent in the industry - with time he’s sure to solidify himself as an icon.
Insta tip - if you’re breaking into the industry and don’t have a stream of clients to rely on for new content, get out and shoot your friends/street style. It’s a great way to build a bank of images.
Chris Schoonover’s career actually began as a ‘fun Instagram account.’ But after posting photos of such a high calibre - his hobby grew into a profession. Chris’ photos may lack technical perfection, but he’s ‘not interested in correctness or making a particularly masterful image.’ Whatever he’s doing - it works.
Insta tip - If you don’t want to dedicate to something ‘official’ like a degree or a course, get people’s opinions on your work through an Instagram account.
Harley Weir made a name for herself with youth-focused fashion photography that challenges traditional female exploration through intimate imagery. Harley has a way of exploring the human body, with her work often accentuating specific body features.
Insta tip - a captivating or intriguing profile photo can spark interest and lead people to your account.
Patrick Demarchelier is one of the world’s most coveted fashion photographers. With almost a million followers to his name, he shares iconic portraits and features of the biggest celebrities. With no formal training, Patrick ‘learned most by just taking pictures; a lot of pictures.’
Insta tip - use relevant hashtags when applicable.
Amanda Charchian is a photographer who excels in shooting empowered images of women. For Amanda, exploring femininity through photography is more than just the final image, ‘it’s a process of female bonding.’ She regularly shoots her subjects in intimate scenarios, often nude and in dramatic locations.
Insta tip - use your bio to display your professional email/website - that way people can contact you if they like what they see.
Emma Summerton has solidified herself as a force in the industry, often referred to as one of the biggest talents to emerge in the 2000s. With an in-depth knowledge of the intricacies of photography and a love for the fashion industry, her style is very distinct.
Insta tip - post behind the scene pics or use Instagram stories to give an insight into the daily life of a fashion photographer - it adds depth to your account.
Tony Kelly’s approach to fashion photography is ‘irreverent, uncouth and provocative.’ Paul Solomons, Creative Director of British GQ, says ‘[Tony] has carved out a distinctive style in an age where everyone seems to believe they can be photographers...He is a brave photographer not afraid to push directors and the talent.’
Insta tip - be bold and loud, get peoples attention with flashy shoots and contrasting colours.
Originally studying marine biology, Greg Kadel moved on to try photography - and never looked back. His signature black and white portraits have attracted everyone from Megan Fox to Britney Spears.
Insta tip - follow pages that inspire you, whether they’re fellow photographers or other artists, refreshing your feed to new and exciting content is a great way to get motivated.
Following Cass Bird on Instagram is your glance at what it’s like to be apart of the cool crowd. Cass’ photography represents ‘a world that is often semi-clothed, goofy, unwashed, a tangle of attitudes, emotions, silly poses, sideways glances.’
Insta tip - if you have a selling point beyond your work, use it! For example, Cass Bird has some seriously adorable kids that she posts photos and videos of, they get her account a lot of attention.
Having shot for pretty much every major fashion magazine in the world, Camilla Akrans has a never ending supply of incredible high fashion photos. With a particular skill for framing, Camilla seems to have a way with respecting her subject amongst a backdrop or props.
Insta tip - plan ahead, using apps like VSCO cam can help you to see what your feed will look like once you publish all your photos. By pre-planning, you can arrange your uploads so that your feed looks 10/10.
Jan Welters once said, ‘I can’t imagine doing anything other than photography,’ which i’m sure his star studded clients are happy to hear. Jan’s passion for the art shines through in his high-profile portfolio.
Insta tip - landscape photos on your feed are not as horrific as everyone once thought! If you think your image is best presented in its full form, don’t crop it into a square and keep it at its full dimensions.
For fashion photographers it seems pretty obvious that Instagram should be amongst your most frequently used apps. It’s the perfect social platform to showcase your work, keep your fans updated, connect with other artists and impress potential clients. Keep in mind - building a loyal following isn’t easy and doesn’t happen overnight - but keep at it. It could catapult you to success!