Photography is an ever-evolving medium, with famous modern photographers producing work that explores photography in different ways than photographers of the past.
Personally, I find that modern photographers can be the most inspiring for my own photography, as they let you see what is possible with modern camera equipment and access to a global range of locations.
This list of famous photographers includes the top 10 modern photographers, which I define as famous photographers of the 21st Century, and those of the late 20th Century.
All of these famous photographers are on Instagram, and are all well worth a follow if you need inspiration to meet your own photography goals.
Famous Modern Photographers
Chris Burkard is one of the most famous sports photographers of the present day, with his reputation initially built as a surf photographer, but he has now expanded to cover pretty much every style that you can imagine.
He travels regularly to make his own brand of outdoor and adventure photography, meaning that his feed is a tour of the most photogenic locations and most awe-inspiring activities from across the globe.
Steve McCurry is one of the most famous modern portrait photographers still working, with decades of artistic journalism photography behind him.
He is particularly well known for his travels, often to far-flung places such as Afghanistan, where he makes portraits, street scenes, and tries to capture the essence of a place. His work has been published widely, including in National Geographic, with McCurry being most famous for his color photography that captures individuals in uncommon scenarios.
3. Marc Adamus
If you are looking for the most widely recognized famous modern landscape photographers, then you can’t go far wrong by looking to Marc Adamus.
As one of the most famous 21st Century photographers, and famous American photographers, Adamus has traveled extensively through North America and the world to capture some absolutely stunning landscape images.
His dedication to photography is second-to-none, with Adamus spending weeks trekking and camping to get the perfect shot, and it is undeniable that his unique style of photography has inspired vast numbers of people to take up a camera and to spend time waiting for the right image, in a world where snapshots are so prevalent.
Trey Ratcliff is the first famous HDR photographer that got many people, including myself, into photography as a hobby.
His photos evoke the colors more of a dream-world than the real-world, with Ratcliff using his artistic vision to turn the everyday into something special.
Although this HDR style of photography is not to everyone’s taste, no-one can deny the massive effect that Ratcliff and the style that he has popularized has had on photography, giving many a creative outlet to share their own visions.
As one of the many famous women photographers operating today, Kristine from Latvia, who runs the site Macro Viewpoint, produces stunning close-up images of insects, flowers and more, with lovely compositions and colors.
There are not a huge number of famous macro photographers, but Kristine shows that this field matches any of the other genres of photography in photographic quality.
Rachel is a famous food photographer based in Vancouver, but originally from Australia. She focuses on the details in her photography that emotionally connect us to the food that we eat, and produces photos that can certainly work up an appetite.
Rachel has produced eBooks on composition and lighting in food photography, which are available from her website, and regularly posts recent photoshoots and tips for other food photographers on her blog, which is well worth checking out.
7. Max Rive
Max Rive is one of the most famous modern photographers on Instagram, with a massive following built up in only a few short years, thanks to his stunning portfolio of landscape work.
His most well known shots include panoramas stitched from multiple photos, often shot in the mountains of Greenland, Norway and elsewhere.
As a source of inspiration for travel photographers and for those who like enjoy editing their photos as much as taking them, Rive is the go-to photographer.
8. Maia Flore
As a famous young photographer, Maia Flore has developed a style of her own, taking photos that show a dream-like version of reality, and which contain many clever editing techniques to get her vision across.
She aims to show intelligence and humor in a surreal world in her photos, and succeeds to create unique pieces that really speak to the emotions.
Thomas Devaux, a famous French photographer, creates artwork using photography as a base, that results in photos that owe something to drawing and painting.
He exhibits his work in galleries across the world, and is a good choice to follow for those who are looking for something a little different from standard photography, who are interested in turning photos into more surreal pieces of art.
10. Raphael Macek
Raphael Macek is considered by many to be one of the most famous equine photographers, with a large portfolio of stunning photos of horses.
He sells his work around the world in large prints, with his work showing his real passion and love for horses.
It’s clear that Macek’s work owes a lot to his sensitive approach to the animals that he photographs, with his dedication and passion for his own brand of photography unmistakable in his work.
Highly recommended if you have any interest in equine photography.