Photography is the art of capturing beautiful moments using a camera. It allows us to capture our experiences and helps us remember the good moments of our lives.
Just like any other art, you cannot practice photography in a closed space. To improve your skills, you have to go out and learn from other artists and their work to figure out what sets them apart; it is how people develop and hone their skills.
Trying to learn the strategies and techniques of famous photographers is not stealing; instead, it is a way of skill development— the practice results in producing something unique and distinctive, which comes as a byproduct of their work.
When starting fresh, the photographers might find themselves in a creative block. But with time, it becomes difficult for them to find inspiration for photography; this is where the expert photographers can help you teach new things.
Top Famous Successful Photographers
1. Dorothea Lange
Dorothea Lange was a documentary photographer from Hoboken, New Jersey. She was born to second-generation immigrants from Germany and is most known for her work in black and white during the Great Depression.
She worked as a documentary photographer for the Farm Security Administration in the early 1930s, recording people’s lives. She took various other shots of people from many walks of life as a documentary photographer, including Japanese internment camps.
During this period, Dorothea took her most famous photograph, “Migrant Mother.” The picture displays a mother and her two small children living in a lean-to tent. The mother revealed to Dorothea that they had been surviving on frozen veggies and birds killed in the countryside, making “Migrant Mother” a beautiful and memorable black and white photograph.
2. Ansel Adams
Ansel Adams grew up in Northern California, spending most of his childhood at Yosemite National Park, which became the focal point of his art. The first significant work of Ansel was his stunning photo, “Monolith, the Face of the Half Dome.”
Ansel is remembered as one of the earliest photographers for capturing magnificent nature images in the 1930s and for the following 25 years. Fun fact, Ansel was an outspoken environmentalist, which only a handful of people knew.
3. Elliot Furness Porter
Eliot Furness Porter was a well-known photographer from Winnetka, Illinois. He specialized in the colorful photography of nature. As a child, he began photographing birds and landscapes with a Kodak box camera and later purchased a Leica camera in 1930.
Ansel Adams’ photographs inspired him to take more and better shots. He was encouraged and advised to use a large-format camera by Ansel. After meeting Alfred Stieglitz, who exhibited his work at An American Place in 1939, Porter decided to do so, leading to many of his great works being known to the public.
4. Richard Avedon
Richard Avedon was a New York-based fashion and portrait photographer. He rose to fame through shooting for magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar and photographing a diverse range of celebrities. He traveled across the country photographing ordinary people he thought looked fascinating.
Avedon would put up a white sheet on a building’s north side to ensure uniform lighting and constant background would be available for his desired shots. While he was busy talking to the people, his assistants would regularly reload his massive 810 camera.
As he strolled around, he would take photos, capturing amazing reactions from the people with his cameras. Avedon printed these pictures in a huge format, similar to Crewdson’s work. The attention to detail in each photograph is very impressive.
5. Elliot Erwitt
Erwitt was originally from France and immigrated to the United States to go to college at the Los Angeles City College. He is also among the successful photographers in the world. He used to take photographs using 35mm cameras after discontinuing the large format photography. He joined the US army later on and worked as a photography assistant, where he honed and perfected his skills.
As a photographer, Elliott focused a lot of his attention on street photography and is one of the best American street photographers ever. His images are both profound and funny at the same time. If you like street photography, Elliott’s photography will blow you away.
6. Vivian Mier
Vivian Maier, often regarded as one of the interesting and famous photographers of all time, belonged from New York. She rose to fame only after her death when her work became famous. John Maloof, a Chicago resident, found Vivian’s negatives through a family in the local community. He took them to see how much it would be worth, but at that time, they were rejected.
It was only later on when a trunk of negatives and undeveloped film were brought at an auction in 2007. John had no idea that the contents of this trunk would feature thousands of photographs by a soon-to-be-famous photographer named Vivian Maier.
What people know about her is that she spent most of her life as a nanny. She primarily photographed using a dual-lens 66 camera, which she carried with her wherever she went, and the images were taken mainly in Chicago and New York City. She snapped anything that piqued her curiosity as she wandered around the streets.
7. Steve McCurry
Steve McCurry, another well-known photographer from Philadelphia, captured one of the most famous images in National Geographic history. McCurry’s career at National Geographic took off when he sneaked into Afghanistan before the Soviet assault.
As a photographer, he smuggled film rolls out of the country by sewing them into his garments, and the photographs he captured were published in the New York Times and Time Magazine. Steve’s most famous shot, “Afghan Child,” is an image of a modest young Afghani girl.
It’s difficult to say how unique the Afghan Girl shot is, yet something is very mysterious about it. The Afghan girl captivated the world’s attention and became one of the most famous images to hit the cover of National Geographic magazine.
8. Gregory Crewdson
Gregory Crewdson is another famous photographer from Brooklyn, New York. The scope of this man’s work is enormous; think of an extravagant photograph ever created, and Crewdson has made it. Due to this reason, he has become a well-known photographer.
To get a single good picture, he spends thousands, if not millions, of dollars, and that says a lot about his passion for photography. Imagine a single image being shot in a major motion picture mode; that’s how his photography was.
Gregory began experimenting with large-scale settings in college and has only continued to improve since then. He uses everything from busted fire hydrants to physically fogging entire sets to get his desired and perfect shot.
He shoots with large format cameras to catch each scene in all of its depth, then prints them out in the large format. According to some people, seeing his images in person is the only way to fully appreciate their depth and complexity.
9. Jeremy Chou
Jeremy Chou is a famous wedding photographer from Pasadena, California, where he went to architecture school. He got his first DSLR after figuring out that he didn’t want to be stuck behind a desk all day, and ever since, he’s been capturing amazing wedding pictures.
Jeremy’s love for photography is evident in all his beautiful images; he has taken photographs of weddings worldwide and has been featured in all significant wedding blogs in the United States. He was recently named the Film Photographer of the year by acclaimed Belle Lumiere Wedding Magazine.
10. Cindy Sherman
Cindy Sherman is a conceptual artist from Glen Ridge, New Jersey. She is one of the most influential photographers of the modern world, especially since she has been mentioned with two photographs on “The 10 Most Expensive Photographs in the World”.
Cindy’s work explores present-day identity and the nature of representation through photography. These are chosen from an endless stream of pictures from television, publications, the internet, and art history.
She puts herself in her work using a variety of disguises and personas. They exhibit emotions ranging from upsetting, unappealing, to even amusing and fascinating.
11. Roberto Valenzuela
Roberto Valenzuela is a well-known photographer based in Beverly Hills, California. He is known for his romantic, timeless, portrait type and elegant wedding photography. In addition to that, he’s also an exceptional author.
Moreover, as a sponsored photographer by Canon USA, Roberto has gained significant fame and accolades throughout his extensive career. Roberto and his work have been published in renowned magazines, such as Cosmopolitan Bride, Rangefinder, and Professional Photographers of America.
Successful Photographers – It’s All About Skill and Experience
The ability to show the world various things that they wouldn’t have seen otherwise with the naked eye is something that you can notice in all these photographers. Studying these people will surely give you an idea of how they got so successful. We hope that going through the list of famous photographers above has inspired you and served as a starting point and a source of guidance for your photography career.