Five Inspirational Landscape Photographers You Should Follow That You Probably Aren’t

Five Inspirational Landscape Photographers You Should Follow That You Probably Aren’t

You probably follow landscape photographers like Daniel Kordan, Max Rive, and Elia Locardi. Their work is phenomenal, but many of the folks that inspire me the most aren’t as well known.

You should absolutely find inspiration from the photographic giants of our time — you’ll find plenty of fantastic content to help you grow. But maintaining a steady diet of not-so-famous photographers will help you enjoy their work without the rose-colored glasses we tend to wear when we see someone with 100k+ followers. It will even help you avoid survivorship bias, a cognitive bias that causes us to draw illogical conclusions from successes and ignore the more pressing lessons from failures.

It’s fair to say these lesser-known photographers keep my wanderlust well fed, and many of my favorite photos and locations are directly inspired by their work. They consistently teach me about composition, toning, and mood through their outstanding captures and post processing. But perhaps one of the more subtle benefits is that a smaller follower count often correlates with their willingness to interact with peers: if you want to learn how another photographer produced a particular image, they are just a Facebook message away.

In no particular order, here are my five favorite landscape photographers that you probably aren’t following.

Christian Hoiberg

I came across Norwegian photographer Christian Hoiberg just a few months ago thanks to some of his thoughtful articles on landscape photography. He’s a prolific writer and educator, and I’ve definitely spent a fair amount of time stalking his articles. But his jaw-dropping shots from Norway and the Faroe Islands tend to one-up the great content. I’ve been obsessed with this region the last couple years, and Christian captures the mood and elements of Norway with stellar compositions.

Classic Faroe Islands

Christian’s 500px page is a bit sparse, so you might want to follow his latest work on Facebook as well.

Nicola Pirondini

Earlier this year, I fell in love with Nicola Pirondini’s work, who seems to have no shortage of beautiful mountainscapes to capture and bring to life as an Italian photographer. My favorite subjects to shoot are mountains, snow, and alpenglow, so it’s no wonder I can’t stop staring at Nicola’s fantastically executed landscapes.

Nicola nails the toning and composition, creating images that deserve to be giant metal prints in a fine art gallery. Of the photographers I follow, I consistently find his work the hardest to tire of, in part because he doesn’t push colors or contrast. The soft style uses precious little dynamic range, but somehow it communicates depth, layers, haze, and mystery.

These shots in particular spoke to me and helped me figure out how to finish a foggy photo of South Stack Lighthouse.

You can keep up with Nicola’s alpine photography on his 500px page.

Dennis Fischer

When I first ventured into landscape photography five years ago, German photographer Dennis Fischer was my source of inspiration. Even before I turned into a camera-toting globetrotter, his photography saw some mileage while I finished up my computer science degree: in my computational photography projects — like a program that used color theory to suggest the best collage arrangement — and in conference talks about using machine learning to recognize aesthetically-pleasing images.

It was a dream come true to see the Alps and Dolomites in person after following his work for five years. These shots are iconic of Dennis Fischer’s style, and the color palette is representative of a lot of his work:

waterfall of the gods

radio tower

Head over to Dennis Fischer’s Flickr page to keep up with his work.

Majeed Badizadegan

While hunting for locations for my 15 day trip in Oregon, I kept bumping into photos of the Pacific Northwest by Majeed Badizadegan. Majeed’s portfolio is filled with dreamy, silky-smooth seascapes from Oregon and Washington.

Window to the Light

Blue Trance

Check out his Instagram feed to keep up with his waves of gorgeous, well, waves.

Brian Adelberg

Oregon local Brian Adelberg helped me discover more than a few of the spots I shot in the Pacific Northwest. His coloring and low key lighting faithfully recreate the mood, especially paired with exceptional vertical compositions. If you are planning a trip to Oregon or Washington anytime soon and want to discover unique landscape photography spots, spend some time perusing his work.

Waterways.

Just the Tip.

Check out his 500px profile for Pacific Northwest inspiration.

Honorable Mention: Ryan Dyar

This lineup focused on lesser known photographers, so I left out a few equally inspirational folks who happen to have a larger following. But I make an exception for Washington-based photographer Ryan Dyar, whose work is simply too stunning not to mention. I’ve probably starred most of his Pacific Northwest shots, and until I have a chance to see Mt. Rainier myself, will continue to do so.

Moment Lapsed

Which Photographers Inspire You?

Some photographers find it discouraging to follow other photographers. I can definitely empathize with the feeling: I found myself dealing with creative failures and impostor syndrome on my last trip. But most of the time, it’s nothing short of inspiring after I remind myself that growth comes through imitation, and with time and practice you can reach the same place they did.

Often the discouragement is rooted in unrealistic expectations we form from seeing other photographers’ successes, but not their failures. More than many other genres, landscape photography is full of failures and variables beyond our control. But that only makes it that much more rewarding when you land the shot.

So keep yourself inspired. Find peers who you feel are better than you, and especially those who aren’t flooded with large followings. Encourage them, interact with them, and learn from them by breaking down their techniques and trying to imitate their style. They’re human like you, and in general incredibly willing to share what they’ve learned from years of experience.

Do you have your own favorite, lesser-known photographers who inspire you? Give them a shout-out in the comments!

Lead image by Christian Hoiberg used with permission.

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56 Comments

Previous comments
Justin Sharp's picture

I agree with Chris. I too could never create photos near the same quality. Their talent is undeniable, but they all start to blend together. Similarities don't just emerged, they are saturated with them. I think this is due to the fact that they only represent a portion of the overall world of landscape photography. These photographers are a part of the same subculture of landscape photography that share the same language. It would be the like demonstrating world languages with people from the USA, Canada, and England. Yes, there are differences in dialect, but they all speak english. (I do realize that the article isn't trying to show a variety of different landscape photographers, but the point is still valid for this context). Two photographers whose landscapes provide particular inspiration to me are Sally Mann and Daniel Gregory.
These are two very different photographers that don't fall into the high drama, epic visual language of the photographers in the article, but provide inspiration nonetheless.

Dustin Gent's picture

All these photographers are great - no doubt. I know Brian Adelberg personally, glad he made the list!

Tad Bowman is another photographer that should be on here, as well as Jack Brauer. I am surprised someone who is able to post at fstoppers isn't keen to these well known names...

Another thing i will touch on in regards to Justin Sharps' comment is about saturation. I agree with the "style" of a lot of what is going on in popular photography. Like there was a few that started videos on post processing, and then people paid for the videos, and added their own "deviation" from original video. Kind of like a pyramid. Everyone is doing workshops, and most of the end results are the same type of style. Seems people are afraid to break from this mold; but many have a bottom line in this field, and don't shoot for themselves.

Just a personal observation. Guy Tal is one I really respect as well.

flexible fotography's picture

i absolutely know what cris bryant is referring to: they all - ALL! - have a look of fantasy to them. so much post-processing, there should be a new classification of photographer. they remind me of Boris Vallejo's fantasy art from the 1960s-70s. whether you like it or not, the point is: they all look the same.

and i see the same colors (blue, for example) in all of them ... and the clouds depend on the landscape below; desert gives different clouds then mountains ... and they all use the same wide-angle/big foreground composition. so please don't give me that.

please just accept what is: landscape photography is at a developmental plateau. it's OK. but i do look for more individuality when i browse these websites.

mad xam2's picture

If you take away the signature they all look like the same oversaturated, overprocessed, ranting, boring false landscape crap we have seen a million times. nuff said.

Michael L. McCray's picture

Learn to bloom where you are planted. There is ton of scenery I would like to see and I can learn from a lots of people who live or travel to these magnificent spots on our planet. However, leaning to see what is around you is much more important for you and the planet.

Mike Reid's picture

Thomas Heaton.

Chris Nigul's picture

I was about to say 'what the hell' but then I saw this. Also, why isn't Nick Page mentioned!!!

chrisrdi's picture

This is a most excellent post. Even the commenters have contributed! I will have a jolly old time looking at the work of the awesome photographers! Thanks to all of you!

Ryan Dyar's picture

I’m far from honorable, but thanks for the mention! 😜

Jonathan Lee Martin's picture

Pretty sure I owe a few PNW locations to you =D

Celso Mollo's picture

You guys want a great female photographer that work is on par with some of the best in the business, Erin Babnik and males Jarrod Castaing, Marc Adamus are two of many.

Jonathan Lee Martin's picture

Erin is getting a lot of mentions — and now she's getting a lot of my 500px stars =D her S-curves are killer.

Celso Mollo's picture

I see you have the Fstoppers logo, Erin have many articles on Photo Cascadia and she is very approachable, you guys should publish an article from her or something, always very insightful.

Alex Armitage's picture

I see how it is Jonathan :)

Jonathan Lee Martin's picture

Next time, dude! I know you pay in 60k views, right? =P

Christian Hoiberg's picture

Not sure I deserve a spot here but thank you so much for including me! :)

Jonathan Lee Martin's picture

You're welcome! Thanks for the killer image, even as a cropped landscape thumbnail it's amazing =)

Grzegorz Piechowicz's picture

Few more names worth to mention - Abdulla Almajed, Noel Casaje, Heiko Gerlicher, David Thompson, Dag Ole Nordhaug, Dustin LeFevre, Alex Noriega, Chris Moore, Ernie E Suto, Tomasz Rojek.

Casper rd's picture

Thomas Heaton is definitely one of my favorites https://www.instagram.com/heatonthomas/
Also Elisabeth Gadd is awesome! https://www.instagram.com/elizabethgadd/

Great list, thanks for the inspiration!

Taras Falkovskyi's picture

Mate, where's Daniel Kordan in your article??? Are you kidding us?))

Kristian Wannebo's picture

A *very* inspirational photographer is

Valerie Millett !

Mike McCumber's picture

Mike McCumber, follow him on Instagram @tri.city.hikes

Gil Gamesh's picture

Zzzzzzzzzzz.

Honestly, not a single image that we haven't seen in one form or another before, and many times in some cases.

Nothing unique, nothing different, nothing beyond the expected.

Lovely pictures, good techniques and utterly, utterly predictable, utter forgettable, utterly disposable, doxa in every way.

Social media is chock-full of this sort of work and it simply serves to illustrate what an appalling Ground Hog Day landscape photography has become stuck within, it's entirely self perpetuation and it's Zzzzzzz.

Sorry, but a big fat Zero for this article.

Lisbeth Haefliger's picture

In Switzerland we have also a well known female photographer. Sylvia Michel. You can follow her on Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/michelphotography_ch/

John Neutzling's picture

Roman Loranc...

Andrey Wagner's picture

Not to say those are bad or unprofessional, but man, is this a click bait? or this is how you start a "hot" topic today?
I cant really call this photography, same locations, same processing, "in your face candy vistas" copying Marc Adamus's style, nothing creative really, i wont go into names,cause its too long and really not the point.
Looks like today people are more concerned with their gear, or location, than with the message, the art and creativity...