If you’re here, then you probably have a strong interest in natural landscape photography and outdoor photographers, like me. But where do you find new names to follow in the art of nature photography?
This is a quick list, in no particular order, of the best nature photographers in the world, including the most famous nature photographers past and present.
There is a mix of amateur and professional nature photographers from all walks of life, but the one thing they have in common is that they all make cool nature pictures.
Best of Nature Photography
I have defined nature photographers to include famous landscape photographers and wilderness photographers, but it is really outdoor photography in general that results in photos of the natural world that I would consider to be nature photography.
1. Ansel Adams
Ansel Adams has regularly been voted the World’s best nature photographer, thanks to him being largely responsible for the existence of the field of landscape photography.
Not only did he invent the Zone system, and write three influential books on photography – The Camera, The Negative and The Print – but he created a body of work that brought the natural world to the public’s attention, at a time when there were not many famous photographs of nature.
He was also heavily into conservation of these wild places, and for this and his photography, became one of the only American landscape photographers to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Unlike modern photographers, Adams shot almost entirely in black and white, but still managed to bring out the natural world in his prints. In the hall of famous black and white nature photographers, there are no other photographers like Ansel Adams.
I was lucky enough to see his prints in person some years ago, and saw that the tones he created just cannot be replicated on a computer monitor. If you ever get the chance to see his prints in person, then the experience comes highly recommended.
2. Marc Adamus
Marc is widely considered one of the best nature photographers working today. His photos span the natural world and wilderness, and are the painstaking work of hundreds of miles of hiking and many nights under canvas in a tent.
There are no other photographers as committed as Adamus to making the perfect image, with his dedication being inspirational in a world where the quickly taken photo seems to be king.
His style seems to have been the basis for many younger photographers who have recently achieved success, and this fact points to why his photos are considered among the best nature photos every produced.
3. Cath Simard
A Canadian dedicated to creating awesome nature pictures, Cath Simard travels widely to make the perfect wilderness photo, often with herself as subject to show a sense of scale.
She blends photos to create photos that really show a place for what it is, rather than producing outright documentary images.
She leads workshops around the world, and is particularly well known for her low light and night photos, which are absolutely stunning.
4. Galen Rowell
Galen Rowell was one of the most famous nature photographers, known for his work in Tibet in particular, and for his connection with National Geographic.
He jumped into photography in 1972, using hand-held Nikon’s rather than the more common (at least among professionals) large format plate cameras of the time, and translated this into a career spanning decades.
His professional photos of nature really give you something that is often missing in today’s photography world, although they can now be hard to find online. He passed away in 2002 and his website has not been online for some time, but his photos remain special, despite the difficulty of finding them.
Website (via Wayback Machine)
5. Ted Gore
As a recent photographer specializing in post-processing to bring out the best in his photos, Ted Gore is one of the most famous sunset photographers, with his beautiful nature photography making him extremely popular on Instagram.
He travels widely to get himself in the right place at the right time, then brings a professional’s editing ability to turn his photos into the wonders that you see.
He has some good articles on his site, such as one on color theory that really gives you an insight into his creative process.
6. Jimmy Chin
As an adventure and environmental photographer, Jimmy chin has worked with National Geographic to produce photos on Tibet, and was more recently a director on the documentary ‘Free Solo’, about Alex Honnold’s successful attempt to climb El Capitan in Yosemite without ropes or assistance.
As one of the world’s premier nature photography artists, Chin is an adventurer at heart, always willing to put himself in tricky situations to get the shot.
7. Max Rive
Max Rive has appeared on the scene in the last few years with a stunning portfolio of nature photos. Indeed, many see his as the best nature pictures.
Rive’s photos have inspired a whole new generation to travel to difficult to access lands to search for the perfect landscape.
He is particularly well known for mountain photos, and is one of the most famous panoramic photographers, usually blending multiple images taken with a cheap camera to create his final image, which also often have himself as a point of reference to the scale of the scene.
Shainblum creates photos that are very much in a similar style to Max Rive and Ted Gore, but adds his own spin on them, with a distinctive touch to create amazing nature pictures.
He pushes boundaries with his photography, and is largely responsible for a surge in star trail photography and recent types of drone photography.
9. Erez Marom
Originally from Israel but now living in Iceland as a photographer, Marom has really shown how to turn a hobby that you love into a viable business.
He takes a huge number of amazing photos, as well as leading tours of his adopted homeland, and thanks to the wild environment of Iceland, manages to create some of the most interesting nature photos seen today, far from the tourist sites that normally make up any traveler’s photos of Iceland.
10. Erin Babnik
A student of wilderness photography, Erin Babnik leads tours regularly on both sides of the Atlantic in Death Valley and the Alps. She writes articles that really delve into the current state of landscape photography and creates discussion that can be illuminating.
Although she doesn’t release as many photos as some of the other photographers in this list, every single one of her images is first class, and I would highly recommend that you check out her website.
11. Albert Dros
A Dutch photographer who has risen to fame on Instagram through his commitment to outstanding photography, Albert Dros has some lovely images of the Netherlands in his portfolio, and is worth a follow if you need inspiration to make nature photos close to home.
Chris Hoiberg is very well known for his night photography and his Northern Lights photos in particular.
He gives photo tours across the European part of the Arctic circle, and gives away many of his techniques on his excellent website, which is a very good first stop for photographers just starting out with their own night photography journey.
13. Kai Hornung
Kai Hornung is a German photographer who shoots closer to home and across Europe. His forest photographs are particularly arresting, as they often document the long, cold winters in the Lapland area of Sweden and Finland.
14. Colby Brown
An American photographer who has led photo tours for National Geographic, among many of his own tours, Colby Brown is very well known in the industry as an excellent outdoors photographer.
He even runs his own NGO, The Giving Lens, which is a photo tour agency with a twist, where participants give back to the community they are visiting through volunteer work.
15. Elia Locardi
Elia has been producing photos publicly for the past decade or so, mainly concentrating on cities, but also taking some fantastic nature photos.
He is constantly pushing the boundaries of what can be done through photo editing, blending multiple star trails into one photo, or combining exposures to bring streetlights into a sunset scene.
His work is really phenomenal and a credit to the photography world.
16. Jim Patterson
Jim leads workshops around the western coast of the US, taking participants to some of the best photography locations that the region has to offer.
He has a huge portfolio of fantastic images from across the region, and is a source of inspiration if you are lucky enough to spend significant time in the Pacific Northwest.
17. Marco Grassi
Marco Grassi is primarily a rural landscape photographer of Italy, with photos of other countries thrown in for good measure.
He has an excellent grasp of light in his photos, and all make you wish that you were there to experience the scenes first hand.
18. Daniel Kordan
Daniel Kordan is someone who came to professional photography at a later time, after studying physics at university, but he has certainly made up for it with a prolific schedule of workshops, and a fine portfolio of images.
He now spends most of his time between Lofoten and Tuscany, which is not a bad way to live!
19. Philip Slotte
Philip is a Swedish photographer who shoots both his own country and further afield, after getting the photography bug aged sixteen, shooting with his smartphone camera.
He is particularly noted for editing his photos more by hand, and less by using presets like a lot of his contemporaries.
20. Daniel Ernst
No list of nature photographers would be complete without including Daniel Ernst, a German travel photographer who shoots the natural world around the globe.
He has used Instagram very well in particular, providing plenty of insight into the life of a travel photographer, along with his fantastic images, and his is another website that is well worth checking out.
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