I absolutely love Instagram. I love posting my travel photography and getting feedback. I love finding new photographers to follow. And I love being inspired to see more of the world by seeing the amazing places that people are posting from. I’ve added a lot of destinations to my travel wish list simply because of shots on Instagram.
What Grabs My Eye
There are a LOT of great photographers on the site. But I find myself returning over and over to a handful of accounts. In looking through these right now, they have a few things in common:
- They’re all original. I’m not a fan of accounts that re-post the photography of others.
- The photos are square. I understand that photography generally looks best horizontally, but Instagram is a square format. So post square photos! Some accounts look great with blank space when it’s used consistently (I’m looking at you @alice_gao), but I still like galleries with all square photos.
- There are few, if any, selfies. Selfies are great on Facebook. But on Instagram I want to see photography. Model all you want, but have someone else take the photo.
- The accounts have fewer than 25,000 followers. There are some great mega-accounts, but I like the interaction better with smaller accounts.
- They’re not over-processed, HDR photos. Sorry, but HDR looks fake to me, even if it’s supposed to be closer to how our eyes see stops of light.
- They’re also not over-filtered. The use of a filter should help the photo – vignetting to draw your eye to the center, for example – without being obvious.
- And last, but not least, the photography is great. There are so many of these photos that I wish I had taken!
My 19 favorite Instagram accounts for travel photography and inspiration (in no particular order):
I’ve followed Marta since I joined Instagram, then had the pleasure of meeting her in Spain. I love her photos of Florence, where she lives, but luckily her other work is great too since she’s moving to Asia shortly.
Great outdoor photography with Shalee inserted into some of the photos in cool, adventurous ways. I really like her perspective.
Every one of Matt’s photos is perfect. And he gives more detailed descriptions of each photo than anyone else I follow.
Sabina was one of the first travel bloggers who I followed and it’s been fun watching her Instagram feed develop. A really playful gallery.
An Aussie who always posts incredible images whether she’s at home or traveling. Very helpful when I’ve bugged her for travel advice too!
From wildlife to landscapes to cultural photos, Susan’s photography is amazing. I can’t believe she doesn’t have 100,000 followers.
Joe is co-founder of AFAR and a very cool guy and, as you might expect, he travels a lot. Always fun to see where he is in the world.
Cacinda travels more than anyone I know, which says something. One week she’ll be in Latvia, the next week Canada, the next week the Caribbean. And she documents all of it very well.
Every shot of Steph’s is perfectly-composed. Travel photography at its finest.
I met Leah on a boat in Spain. I love her eye and the color in her posts.
Caspar’s gallery is amazing – it was really hard to choose just three of his photos to illustrate this post. Masterful travel photography.
I love Erica’s feed. Her travel photography is great, always about the destination and not about her, and there’s a definite magazine/publishing feel. There are so many of her photos that I wish I had taken.
I’m a Colorado guy, and Heather captures my home state as well as anyone. Plus she makes me want to get out and get fresh air, wherever I am.
A fun travel account with a personality. And I love her aerial stuff.
An excellent gallery with a fun mix of travel and food.
I follow a lot of other family travel bloggers. Katie probably has the best photography of any of them. I like to put my kids in my photos just enough to inspire others, and let people picture taking their own kids to cool destinations. Katie does the same.
A great gallery of photos from around the world, capturing every element of the travel experience.
Inta’s account is relatively new, but I like the details that she sees everywhere. Perfect exposure and composition too.
Yep, I’m including my own gallery, at least while it meets my small account criteria. Hopefully I’ll be over 25,000 followers the next time I do a list like this and I’ll be ineligible! My goal through Instagram is always to inspire people to travel, with or without kids. I have a lot of travel coming up. Follow along!
Did I miss your gallery? Please comment below. I’m always looking for new inspiring photographers to follow. And I may already follow you but because of the timing of posts I miss a lot of what you upload. I fully admit that there are great galleries out there that could be included and aren’t. This list is a start!
I’m still following and enjoying all of these accounts, and I’ve updated this list whenever accounts changed names. I also came up with a list of 25 other accounts that are perfect for travel inspiration. That post is here.
NOTE: All photos are taken from the Instagram galleries of the listed accounts and ownership remains with the photographers. I am happy to remove any upon request.