The 50 Instagram Accounts You Should Be Following Right Now
Instagram is the place to find beautiful landscapes and jaw-dropping travel photography from around the world, but what goes on behind the scenes?
First we took on the difficult task of narrowing down the list to the 50 accounts you should absolutely be following. Then we asked these amazing Instagrammers to share a photo of what it looks like when they’re creating an image. For photographers like @danielkrieger, this is a minimalist point-and-shoot set-up, while for those like @beijing_silvermine, the process starts with over 500,000 film negatives that become just a few carefully curated shots.
The list is broken down by category: What You Wish Your Vacation Looked Like, Travel the World in Food, A+ for Creativity, Globetrotting Pets, The Ultimate #TBTs, Brands + Companies You’ll Actually Want to Follow, New Perspectives / Favorite Places, and Video Masters.
Check out how these artists are documenting beauty in the world, and we're sure you’ll love them as much as we do.
WHAT YOU WISH YOUR VACATION PHOTOS LOOKED LIKE
If you’re looking for a big dose of wanderlust, you’re in luck.
Kevin Lu’s Instagram account has a little bit of everything: photos, videos, illustrations: “I think the best place to photograph is anywhere you can feel a sense of belonging. It's somewhere you'd want to be part of, because photography is very intimate and personal ... I am quite curious and I crave the sense of discovering something new. So for me, the best place for photos is somewhere I haven't been.”
Even when he’s not taking photos, he gravitates toward creativity: “I love art and I am quite involved in the art world. In my spare time I enjoy visiting museums, browsing galleries, attending art fairs, and meeting artists.”
Lu's favorite Instagram account: @ari_fararooy.
Follow Lu at @sweatengine.
Simone Bramante captures delicate patterns in many of his photos, whether it's an eye-catching brick road or the gentle curve of a hillside in Tuscany. Some of his photos seem so perfect, in fact, they don’t even look like they belong in this world. Italy is his favorite place to photograph: “Italy in general, you’ve tons of different breathtaking spots in just one hour of driving.”
When he’s not photographing, he's in the water. “It’s not a real hobby, but when I can, I go swimming: photography for my brain and swimming for my body.”
Bramante's favorite Instagram account: “I follow a few very inspiring photographers on Instagram, one of them is @lielaine.”
If you want to get to know the streets of New York past the landmarks you see cluttering your feed, head to photographer Dave Krugman’s street-specific account. Here you’ll find the people of New York buried in their day-to-day schedules, unaware and incredibly real. “New York City is the best place for photography.,” Krugman said. “I love the vibrant, creative energy that permeates this place, the organized chaos that swirls in the streets. There's always a moment to capture, new people to meet and new places to see.”
When Krugman isn’t shooting, he’s most likely writing. Much like his photography transports us to a lesser-known New York City, writing sends him to another place. But that’s not all: “I can also freestyle rap, which many people would be surprised to hear!”
@secretstreet’s favorite Instagram account:
“I have too many favorite Instagram accounts to pick just one, but @jnsilva is someone who comes to mind. He balances photographic talent, philosophy and community building in a way that I think is a great example of effective use of the platform.”
Follow @secretstreet on Instagram
The only thing more impressive than Christina Tan’s stunning photos is her huge network of photographer friends. She makes sure to give them shout-outs on her account, sharing photos from the people who inspire her.
The variety of color on her account is what really pulls us in. It can also be hard to capture a solid photo of a hotel room, but the photos on Tan’s account focus on the views, which is what we’re all looking for anyway.
If there were an award for “most color-coordinated Instagram profile,” Lucy Laucht would win it. Her entire pastel palette comes together in the most dreamy way, from bluer-than-blue infinity pools to pristine beaches dotted with sunbathers.
If you hopelessly follow the stories of those more adventurous folk who quit their jobs to follow their dreams of traveling, pay attention to Laucht. She took off on a months-long road-trip with her husband after working in New York City.
Each of Altug Galip's photos is more stunning than the last. The one thing he wishes he knew before he got started: Editing. (Though a look at his account shows he's figured this one out.)
His favorite place to take photos: “I love Norway and especially Lofoten Islands because you can take photos 24 hours.” Now, that’s the response of someone who really loves what they’re doing.
Matt Thiessen is based in Alberta, and his shots of the Canadian landscape give us serious wanderlust. But he doesn't stop there: Quaint lakes with canoes, foggy views of Machu Picchu, overwater bungalows in Bora Bora — it's all stunning.
By day (at least during the school year), Thiessen is a teacher, as is his wife. But when summer comes around, the duo hits the road to find the world’s most beautiful scenes.
Jessica Sample photographs some of the most iconic places in the world, but keeps everything fresh. From detail shots of off-road signage to box lunches on picnic tables, it’s an intimate look into the life of people around the world: “I love to photograph cool people in interesting places. I am most inspired when discovering new places.”
Sample's favorite Instagram accounts: “I have a weak spot for all corgi Instagram accounts.”
You won’t find many videos on Jacob Santiago’s account, but that doesn't mean there isn't any movement. Whether it’s a person battling one of New York City’s snow storms or fall leaves tumbling to the ground in Central Park, Santiago has a knack for capturing a moment.
On his favorite place to shoot: “Hands down New York is still one of the most photogenic places. You can shoot landscape, urban, street all in one place. The city is so diverse.” And on his other love: “I always say if I didn’t get into photography I would probably have gone to culinary school. When I’m not shooting I’m home trying to reverse engineer my favorite restaurant food.”
@jacobsantiago’s favorite Instagram account: @benjaminheath
Lisbon-based photographer Teresa Freitas finds pastels everywhere she goes. If you gravitate toward soft pastels, you’re going to wish you could post Freitas’ entire Instagram feed on your wall.
On her favorite place to photograph: “I'm divided between somewhere by the sea and somewhere I've never been. You can't wait for inspiration to strike. Just take pictures and ideas will come.”
@teresacfreitas’ favorite Instagram account: @_nguan_.
Sam Horine on his favorite place to take photos: “I’m really not sure if there's any one best place to take photos, but if I was totally pressed into it, I might say Japan. On one hand, you have the epic futuristic cities. Just a quick trip away on the bullet train, you have vast tracts of unspoiled nature, plus the people of japan are really amazing. I love the Zen principles that guide their life and design choices.”
When he’s not taking photos, Horine makes sure to return to some of his other hobbies: music and exercise. “I've always loved music, in fact shooting bands was one of the ways that I started out on my career in photography. Then I started shooting food when I was doing more editorial work in NYC. A couple years ago, I picked up the running bug and have been devoting a decent amount of time to getting out, listening to some good tunes and just getting into the run and getting away from the day to day.”
@samhorine’s favorite Instagram account: @f64s125.
Alex Strohl’s travels take him all around the United States and overseas, but you’re most likely to find him near mountain or the water. He seeks out extremes: “Whether a place is too damn cold, too difficult to get to or too hot, I’ll be intrigued by it. Harsh conditions help me create images that will, hopefully, stop the viewer in their tracks for a few seconds, or minutes.”
On his photography: “A thousand things come to mind like thinking about the meaning of your images, knowing how to edit in a more subtle way or the rule of thirds. But I don’t wish I knew all that before. I think it would have limited me in many ways. When you start something there is a sort of ‘naiveté’ and you create things accidentally. You try without any boundaries; nothing is dumb enough for you to now try it. When you develop more knowledge you can limit yourself without even knowing it.”
@alexstrohl’s favorite Instagram account: @codycobb.
Andrea Dabene has a way of making viewers feel like they're right there with her: “I traveled my entire life, this is how I started taking photos. I wanted to share my experiences and my travels. Traveling is a big part of who I am — I grew up with two different cultures. I’ve been open to the world since I was born.”
Beth Kirby knows how to capture a table setting: “I love directional light, whether it's direct patches of harsh light or diffuse light. That light is everything. If you don't have good light, you don't have a good picture. Whether it's natural light or studio light, you need good light.”
Kirby is hard at work on her first cookbook, which ties right into another one of her passions: cooking. “I don't really have any hobbies. My work is my hobby. Aside from taking photos, I'm a passionate cook.”
@localmilk’s favorite Instagram accounts: “I have a lot. I currently really love what the team over at @herriottgrace is doing as well as @heidijswanson's fun videos, @sundaysuppers food, @thedenizenco's portraits, and @andreagentl's travels. And I'm obsessed with @healthy_ish.”
Sylvia Matzkowiak loves the Maldives, and you too can get lost in cerulean hues at @goldie_berlin: “Underwater photos are easier to take in the Maldives than in other places. In Maldives, I always get the colors I need.”
@goldie_berlins’ favorite Instagram account: “My favorite Instagrammer would be someone who improves the skills in photography, tries new techniques and is focused on landscape. There is no particular one person as the community is too big just to select one.”
BRANDS + COMPANIES YOU’LL ACTUALLY WANT TO FOLLOW
These brands and companies have mastered the art of Instagram (and getting us to jump on their bandwagon).
Who hasn’t wondered about all of the crazy things that are left behind at airport security checkpoints? Bob Burns is the person behind the account.
The thing he sees the most? Loaded firearms. But the strangest item that’s made its way through security: “The rotting corpse movie prop from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre II. They wheeled it right up to the checkpoint in a wheelchair and presented him for screening. It was a head scratcher for our Atlanta team at first, but they soon figured out that the prop would fit perfectly through the X-ray.”
Bob Burns’ favorite Instagram account: @itsabandoned.
Travel Noire founder Zim Ugochukwu: “We're excited about our capacity to help transform lives through travel.” The photos include stunning landscapes, outtakes from travelers on Travel Noire trips, and gorgeous portraits.
Ugochukwu's favorite places to photograph: “Beaches and other beautiful destinations with water.”
@travelnoire’s favorite Instagram account: “Anyone who treats their Instagram like a work of art!”
Red Bull collaborates with social creators like Casey McPerry (whom you can follow at @caseymcperry) to craft stories that inspire people. “I look for content that visually tells a story just from a glance. I want people to be able to experience the emotion that is taking place and feel swept away. You want to capture photos in a bright colorful location ... if you are able to transport [people] around the world to a beautiful location I believe you have created a great piece of content," says McPerry.
@caseymcperry’s favorite Instagram account: @paperboyo.
Need to strap a camera to your body or attach it to a car? These are the situations GoPro was made for. Leanne Johnson, GoPro's senior director of social and digital marketing, says the best photos are “anything that involves animals, travel or babies in a shark costume.”
When asked where the best place to take photos is, Johnson said: “Anywhere, aside from in front of the mirror.”
@gopro’s favorite Instagram account: “Too many to choose from! GoPro is a family of great content creators.”
These pets’ vacations are extremely photogenic.
Chloe the Mini Frenchie hops around the country, enjoying In-N-Out Burger in Los Angeles, lounging poolside in Miami, and hanging out on rooftops in Chicago. If you’re looking to travel with a dog, Chloe’s owner has some tips: “Make sure to do your research before booking anything. Rules vary by airline, by hotel, and if traveling internationally, by country as well.”
Of all of the places Chloe has been to, there’s one spot that marks above the rest: “Milan! We're actually heading back there next month,” says Chloe’s human friend. “It's very dog friendly, has a great vibe, and incredible food.”
@chloetheminifrenchie’s favorite Instagram account: @TorontoTartare”.
This long-haired Golden Retriever is incredibly photogenic. From his owners, Hunter and Sarah: “Aspen loves taking photos anywhere where there is water. He loves to swim, and so we often take him places where he can jump in a river or lake afterwards.”
Most of the shots feature Aspen posing gracefully in front of monuments, on bridges, in hats, chilling in lakes — all of the things we do on vacation, too. But he’s not the only one who loves heading out on an adventure. “As a family we love road trips. We love taking off to a new destination with no plan in mind.”
Andrew Knapp’s Instagram account is full of two of our favorite things: his adorable pup, Momo, and stunning landscapes: “I work under the mentality that you’ll find as many beautiful things to capture between your street and the next street over, as there are between your city and the next city over, so long as you spend the same amount of time. You’ll see the sun rise and set, you’ll meet people that share stories and show you things you wouldn’t have seen, and generally unexpected events will unfold. The best place to take photos is where you are, photos of your unique experience and perspective.”
Miami the Chihuahua’s faithful human companion, Marianna Chiaraluce, shared some of the pup’s must-have travel accessories: “A valid passport, with evidence of all the vaccinations that you need for the places that you are visiting. An airline-approved travel case for dogs — mine also becomes a super comfy bed, but I recommend you check with each individual airline for their specific requirements. Dog bowls and water so that you keep hydrated, and some favorite food to munch on during your travels. Collar, leash and tag, with your name and owner's telephone number. Favorite toys and treats to help you feel comfortable.”
While this furry friend has traveled all over the world, there are some places that stand out among the rest. “Our passion is to discover unusual places like for example Nikola Tesla’s Room at the New Yorker Hotel, where visitors aren’t allowed to go.”
@Miami_Traveller_Dogs’ favorite Instagram account: @rafaelmantesso.
If you walk right past New York City's many corner stores — or bodegas, as they're called — you’re missing out on an entire world of cute cats. Locals come to know and love these felines, but many travelers often don’t even know about them. Rob Hitt is behind @bodegacatsofinstagram: “Don’t be afraid to get down to the ground level of the cat to take the photo.”
When he’s not making friends with cats, you can find Hitt working on his record label, I Surrender Records.
@bodegacatsofinstagram’s favorite Instagram account: @breadandwalter.
THE ULTIMATE #TBTs
Each of these accounts gives off vintage vibes, from black-and-white color palettes to nostalgia-inducing scenes.
Brett Brooner’s @thevisualscollective shares the work of fellow travelers, many of which email Brooner directly for sharing opportunities. The location that gets pitched the most? “ICELAND! Haha. Iceland and also Faroe Islands. Anytime someone is heading to Iceland or Faroe Islands, we are getting a message about their trip and seeing if they can get featured with some of the images.”
Brooner’s best tip for traveling photographers: “Map out your location ahead of time if it isn't a touristy/easy place to get. Then track your weather. You want to make sure you arrive to your location to give yourself plenty of time to photograph and also making sure you're not getting caught in some nasty weather.”
Brooner's favorite Instagram account: “Garrett King (@shortstache) is in my top three. He has been a homie for about two years now. He is an incredible human with so much fire and passion. Isaac Johnston (@isaacsjohnston) is another one. I don't know Isaac personally, but I follow closely along with his stories and his home in Montana is goals. And Andrew Kearns (@andrewtkearns) is also in the top three. This dude is super funny and very humble ... and his photo work is not like the rest. He doesn't shoot typical stuff. He has endless amount of work that truly speaks to me.”
Dive into Hannibal Renberg’s account, @leoleoparis, and you’ll find it hard to believe that all of the photos are from present day: “For me the best place to take photos is where there is people. That's why I like big cities.”
His second love should come as no surprise, given his aesthetic: “Photography is more than just a hobby — but my other principal passion is cinema.”
Renberg's favorite Instagram account: He doesn't have one favorite, “I love all street photographers.”
This Instagram is dedicated to half a million found photos from a recycling plant in Beijing. Thomas, who manages the account and says he's not a photographer, salvaged the photos: “In the context of my personal approach to photography, the question is not where is the best place to take photos, but rather where is the best place to find photos. The answer to that is in a dump. No matter if the photo is good or bad, I have a strong emotional connection with family photos which were taken without any artistic intention in a first place and which are brought back to life as they were on the threshold of disappearing forever.”
Thomas' favorite Instagram account: @webuywhitealbums, because “It beautifully showcases how a white square of paper can evolve in so many different ways over a few decades.”
Photographer Jake Chessum’s Instagram is best consumed as a whole. His grid is full of triptychs, showcasing his celebrity portraiture, common textures, and vintage imagery. The sense of nostalgia in his work is in part a product of the mind: “I grew up looking at William Eggleston, Saul Leiter and Harry Callahan ... so there was definitely a retro American iconography that informed my taste and was very appealing as I was walking around in rainy, grey South London. That could be something that’s lurking in the back of my mind — neon signs, old cars — but I definitely don’t have that as a conscious inspiration.”
On his favorite spot for taking photos: “I am cursed with an affliction: I am always looking for a photograph. Now I have my phone within arm’s reach pretty much 24 hours a day, I can always take a photo. It’s hard not to be on the look out for something to take a picture of.”
@jakechessum’s favorite Instagram account: “I love my friend Matt Berman’s insta: @mrmattberman. He trawls through vintage photos of movie stars, musicians…and has great taste.”
Maybe it’s the black-and-white aesthetic, maybe it’s the film photography process, but Carson Lancaster has us remembering days past: “I wish I had known that the impending digital transition (2004) would be a fad, not a death blow to traditional film photography. At 16 I shouldn't have been clamoring for a pricy digital camera, I should have been focused on subject matter.”
Lancaster runs an art gallery in San Francisco called Book and Job Gallery. When he isn’t taking photos or working at the gallery, he’s got a few other things on his to-do list: “Travels to Japan. Libraries. Coffee. Backpacking.”
@carson_lancaster’s favorite Instagram account: @gabriellehumphrey.
NEW PERSPECTIVES, FAVORITE PLACES
You may recognize these places, but you've never seen them photographed this way.
Hawkeye Huey, the son of National Geographic photographer Aaron Huey, is a 7-year-old analog photographer who is constantly documenting the world around him.
There are a few places he enjoyed more than others: “Rodeos, for sure. Or Joshua Tree.” When asked what he wishes he would’ve known when he started taking photos, he said: “How to use the clip on thing for close up shots.” [Note from his dad, Aaron: It’s a special clip on lens for the Fuji Instax wide.]
@hawkeyehuey’s favorite Instagram account: “I don’t have one, because I don’t look at the phone. I just make the pictures.”
Each of Trashhand’s images takes on a unique angle of a popular destination.
What they wish they'd known: “The daily sacrifices you really have to make in order to do this full time in the long run.” Their favorite place to photograph: Bhutan.
@trashhand’s favorite Instagram account: @bejamin.
Pinot Ichwandardi’s medium of choice is a pencil and paper. His drawings feature people and places around the world, with the hashtag #pinottravelsketch: “This series is about drawing on the spot while traveling. The concept is, I want to take a moment to capture the view with drawing — not just snap of photos and then go to somewhere else. By drawing, I can stay a bit longer to enjoy, not just the view, but also the air and sound.”
When he’s not drawing, he’s got another creative outlet: “My other hobby is making animation and stop-motion. And I also combine places with animation: Herald Square, Rue d’Antibes in Cannes, the NYC subway.”
@pinot’s favorite Instagram account: His wife's, @ditut.
Julian Master’s ability to capture people in unsuspecting moments is an interesting look into the cities around us. “The best place to take photos is anywhere where there are lots of people. That way you have a higher probability of seeing something interesting or weird. Tourist hotspots work well.”
But he’s not looking for normal scenarios. “A good scene is something that immediately catches a person's eye but also feels strange. Beautiful scenery mixed with somebody who might not normally be there.”
Master’s favorite Instagram account: @ChrisMaggio
KangHee Kim has a skillful — and often sly — way to use Photoshop to manipulate scenes from everyday life. From bent fences with clouds sprouting from them to submerged stoplights, we'd love to get lost in this world.
“I enjoy photographing the sky on my rooftop, especially during sunset. I don’t have any specific favorite locations to take photos. I love finding gems without planning ahead. I try to switch it up and constantly look for new locations ... It is the most exciting part which leads me be in the space want to be in.”
@tinycactus’s favorite Instagram account: @RentalMagazine.
These Instagrams feature the most amazing video from around the world.
Rob Strok manages to capture an entire destination in a few seconds of footage, featuring the people, sights, and activities that make it great.
His advice: “Photography is not something you learn overnight, you have to go out and try your best and then come home and learn from your mistakes. The more mistakes you make, the faster you will progress.” And where he loves to shoot: “I have loved shooting in the Faroe Islands. The incredible cliff formations along with the sporadic weather changes make for some epic photos and even better memories.”
Flour + Water, an Italian mainstay in the Mission District of San Francisco, is delivering something aside from mouthwatering food photos on its account: pasta tutorials. You can get a peek into the cooking going on in a restaurant you usually won't see as a diner.
Flour + Water Instagram manager Elaine Loarca: “During the staff pre-shift meetings is the best time and place to take photos. We all sit down to learn and taste new dishes. I am able to take photos using the great sunlight and get feedback and support form the staff.”
@flourandwatersf’s favorite Instagram account: @Seamless.sea.
Seth Willingham has mastered the art of capturing the sandy lines between beach and ocean. You’ll find something blue in each post, whether it’s a still image or footage of a great white shark making its way through the water.
On photographing the beach: “I grew up near the ocean and I know the ocean will always be apart of my life in some way so I have to say the beach is the best spot. I love how the landscape of the ocean is constantly changing.” When Willingam isn’t taking photos or capturing video, you can find him playing beach volleyball.
@Willingham’s favorite Instagram account: @asenseofhuber.
@droneoftheday shares some of the best photos and videos taken by drone photographers around the world.
The best video they've seen: “We see hundreds of drone videos and photos a day so it's really difficult to pick a favorite. Some of the ones that do stick out though are: 1. Casey Neistat being pulled by a drone while snowboarding, 2. when the Nassau County Fire Department had a drone pull a Fire Lit Human Torch through the sky during the time the Fantastic Four movie was coming out which came out, 3. when Shaun O' Callaghan caught a volcano erupting on his drone, and 4. pretty much any of the Drone Videos while whale watching off the coast seems incredibly beautiful and mesmerizing to us.”
Drone of the Day’s Manny Lopez on how the account came to be: “I started out shooting photos and videos with one of the first GoPro Cameras that came out and I would post them on Facebook and share them with friends ... I decided to make a website with a friend which at first was a blog answering the most frequently asked questions by GoPro and Drone users. When Instagram came out we started posting our drone photos and decided we were going to post a drone photo each day.”
@droneoftheday’s favorite Instagram account: “There are a lot of our followers who have created incredible shots and videos with drones that have blown us away.”