Best Of Instagram Portrait Photography – Forbes
Instagram is the world’s most popular dedicated photo-sharing site, with an average of 55 million photos uploaded each day. But finding great photography among the burrito pics and teen selfies can be a challenge. Last fall, I wrote about 10 talented photographers whose work should be part of any photo lover’s Instagram feed. Today marks the start of a regular feature here on FORBES in which I’ll be introducing you to more Instagrammers creating inspiring images. Each installment will focus on a specific type of photography, locale, or theme.
We kick things off with four photographers whose Instagram feeds showcase captivating portraits. While these photographers have different styles and creative visions, they all share a great eye for portraits.
Instagram feed: @johnkeatley
John Keatley’s Instagram feed shows off his obvious gift for making his subjects feel at ease in front of a camera. This Seattle-based portrait and commercial photographer has shot celebrities from Macklemore to Sarah Palin. But it’s not just the famous who draw his attention. Keatley’s close-cropped portraits of non-celebrities offer a compelling display of personalities that feel utterly sincere. “When creating portraits, I strive for honesty, curiosity, mystery, dry humor, and a little drama,” says Keatley. As for his highly stylized approach, he adds, “I tend to work with a painter’s mindset, meaning I am not so much concerned with reality or being literal. I’m more interested in creating a feeling or a reaction.”
Keatley’s camera gear ranges from an iPhone 5 to a Hasselblad medium format kit that costs more than your car. He does all of his editing work in Lightroom. You can see more of Keatley’s work on his website, which also includes behind-the-scenes videos of his celebrity shoots.
Instagram feed: @cschoonover
Chris Schoonover, a New Jersey-based photographer, shows an imaginative eye for portraiture on his feed, with images that invite you on a narrative journey alongside his subjects. Using a recurring stable of models, Schoonover aims for what he describes as, “a photojournalistic style that emphasizes a subject interacting with his or her environment.” A relative newcomer to photography, Schoonover’s passion for the craft began with Instagram and his trusty iPhone. Buying his first pro camera – the Fujifilm X100S – less than a year ago, Schoonover quickly scored his first professional gig, shooting a holiday gift guide for Gap. A nice way to start a career.
Christina Marie Hicks
Instagram feed: @xt_marie
Freelance photographer and fashion editor Christina Marie Hicks populates her Instagram account with portraits that combine a lifestyle-oriented sensibility with a keen eye for form and color. A striking characteristic of her work is that her subjects’ gazes are rarely directed towards the camera, projecting a sense of vulnerability born of familiarity. Based in Seattle, Hicks takes advantage of Washington state’s natural beauty to create environmental portraiture, in a process she describes simply as, “documenting candid moments while out exploring in locations that catch my eye.”
Hicks’ Instagram feed is made up exclusively of images shot with her iPhone. Her editing apps include VSCO Cam, Average Camera Pro, and FrontView. You can see more of Hicks’ work on Tumblr and her VSCO grid.
Instagram feed: @niravphotography
San Francisco wedding photographer Nirav Patel left behind an engineering career to pursue his goal of, “telling stories through imagery”. His personal work takes on a decidedly cinematic flavor, with thoughtfully staged scenes and expert composition forming compelling narratives. Of his portrait work, which often conveys solitude, he says, “I really enjoy capturing quiet moments…when the world comes to a stop and you feel completely present.”
Most of Patel’s Instagram images are shot on his iPhone, but you’ll find work created with his DSLR and medium format film cameras as well. His favorite editing apps are VSCO Cam, Afterlight and Snapseed. You can view Patel’s wedding photography on his website and his personal work on Tumblr.
Who are your favorite Instagram photographers? Let us know in the comments section or reach out to me via Twitter, and we may feature them in upcoming installments.