20 famous photographers you must follow on Twitter

Smiling woman looking at her smartphone
Which famous photographers are on Twitter, and which are worth following?

Once upon a time, if you wanted to follow a famous photographer then you had no choice but to wait for them to write a book, or scour newspapers, magazines and the TV listings for any brief mention of them. 

• Read more: 20 famous photographers you should follow on Instagram

In 2019, things couldn’t be more different. A quick click on Twitter and you can discover the intimate thoughts and feelings of many world-famous photographers, unmediated by any third party. And if you comment on something they’ve tweeted - in a respectful and relevant way, of course - there’s every chance they’ll respond.

That said, being mega-busy is pretty much in the job description of being a famous photographer. So many are either not on Twitter at all, haven’t posted in years, or simply use it to repost their Instagram posts. 

• 10 best online photography courses

In this post, then, we’ve brought together 20 Twitter accounts of famous photographers that are actually worth following, and explain what you’re likely to get from them.

1. Rankin 

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John Rankin Waddell, aka Rankin, is a British portrait and fashion photographer and director best known for his photography of models including Kate Moss, Alison Lomax and Heidi Klum, and celebrities such as Madonna, David Bowie and Queen Elizabeth II. In 1991, he also co-founded Dazed and Confused magazine with Jefferson Hack.

Rankin posts on Twitter once a day on average, and includes a lot of inspirational visual content, with most tweets coming with image or video attachments. An intoxicating mixture of archive photos and behind-the-scenes images from shoots make this a feed every photographer should subscribe to. 

2. Bruce Gilden

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Bruce Gilden is one of the world’s most iconic and influential street photographers. Best known for his candid close-up photographs of New Yorkers, typically using a flashgun, he’s had a series of books published, won a slew of awards, and has been a member of Magnum Photos since 1998.

Gilden tweets a few times a month, and these are often retweets. He rarely strays outside of work topics, and basically uses his Twitter feed as a noticeboard to update fans about his books, courses and exhibitions.

3. Gregory Crewdson

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Gregory Crewdson is a New York photographer best known for his cinematic, surreal and melancholic tableaux of small-town American homes and neighbourhoods. His work has been exhibited widely, including solo exhibitions at Gagosian Gallery in New York, the San Diego Museum of Art, and White Cube in London.

Given his huge impact on the art photography world, it’s astonishing that he has relatively few Twitter followers. His feed is, admittedly, mostly retweets of other peoples' news, articles and events concerning Crewdson... but in a way that’s informative and helpful rather than vanity-driven.

4. Joe McNally

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Based in Connecticut, Joe McNally has been a photographer for National Geographic since 1987 and his prolific career includes assignments in nearly 70 countries. He has also shot cover stories for Sports Illustrated, Time, Newsweek, Geo, Fortune, Life and other titles;  won four awards from World Press Photo; and even bridged the world between photojournalism and advertising, amassing commercial clients including FedEx, Sony, ESPN and Adidas.

Joe posts on Twitter around twice a day, and his tweets are rich with colourful and glorious photography. All in all, this feed is a visual treat that’s packed with inspiration, as well as keeping you informed about his books, blog posts, client work and other activities.

5. Nigel Barker

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  • @NigelBarker
  • Fashion photographer and TV personality 

Former model Nigel Barker is a British fashion photographer and TV personality. Best known as a judge and photographer on the reality show America's Next Top Model, he is now the host of both 'The Face' and 'Top Photographer with Nigel Barker', one of our favourite TV shows about photographers

Barker tweets a couple of times a day on average, and his tweets include announcements about his shows, courses, behind-the-scenes snippets, and lots of lovely photographs. A great Twitter feed for keeping up with one of the industry’s most interesting personalities.

6. Andy Gotts

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  • @DrGotts
  • Portrait photographer 

Andy Gotts MBE is a British photographer based in London and New York who’s famed for his distinctive portraits of A-list celebrities. A former president of the British Institute of Professional Photographers and a recipient of the Fox Talbot Award, he was given an MBE by the Queen in 2012, and a selection of his works are held in the permanent collection of London’s National Portrait Gallery.

Gott’s Twitter feed is filled with just what his fans want to see: lots and lots of glorious portraits of his subjects, which at time of writing include Miranda Richardson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor, Richard E Grant, Olivia Coleman and more. A must-follower for any photographer interested in portraiture. 

7. Pete Souza

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  • @PeteSouza
  • Photojournalist and documentary photographer 

Pete Souza is an American photojournalist who was the chief official White House photographer for Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. In between these two periods, he worked as a photographer with The Chicago Tribune. In the last couple of years, he’s released two books, one based on his time with Obama, and the other juxtaposing the former with the Trump administration.

As you might expect, Souza’s Twitter feed is filled with his stridently partisan opinions on present-day American politics, so if that’s a subject that doesn’t interest you, then it’s best avoided. If it does, though, then it’s interesting to hear the views of someone who actually has experience of White House life... plus there are also some (occasional) tweets about photography as well.

See Pete Souza speak at The Photography Show 2019

8. Frans Lanting

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Dutchman Frans Lanting is quite simply one of the great nature photographers of our time. His influential work, covering topics such as tribal traditions in Madagascar, conservation projects in Botswana and rainforest ecology in Borneo has appeared in books, magazines, and exhibitions around the world. He has also served as a photographer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society.

Lanting's Twitter feed is a pretty straightforward noticeboard for announcements about his courses, media appearances and competitions he’s a judge for. All of which is accompanied by beautiful images and captivating videos, so even if you’re not interested in his news, the visual treasure trove this feed has to offer is well worth a follow.

9. Lindsay Adler

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Based in New York, Lindsay Adler’s fashion and beauty photography has appeared in magazines such as Marie Claire, Elle Magazine, Harper's Bazaar and L'Officiel, and she's worked with brands including Canon, Adobe, NBC and Microsoft. As a photographic educator, she is also one of the most sought after speakers internationally, and has been named one of the top 10 best fashion photographers in the world. 

Adler makes enthusiastic use of her Twitter account, tweeting regularly and interacting with her followers to a surprising level. With lots of stunning imagery too, hers is an excellent account to follow for anyone involved in the worlds of fashion and beauty photography.

See Lindsay Adler speak at The Photography Show 2019

10. Richard Bernabe

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  • @bernabephoto
  • Nature, wildlife and travel photographer 

Richard A. Bernabe is an American photographer, teacher and author who specialises in nature, wildlife and travel photography. He’s visited more than 50 countries for clients including National Geographic, CNN, Time, The New York Times, Audubon and The BBC, and has spoken to groups around the world on the importance of wildlife conservation.

Another photographer who seems to enjoy interacting with and retweeting others on Twitter, Bernade’s feed is constantly updated with news of his activities, and packed full of colourful, epic and arresting wildlife photography. With over a million followers, it’s clear that his fans appreciate it.

11. Barbara Davidson

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  • @photospice
  • Photojournalist and commercial photographer 

Barbara Davidson is a three-time Pulitzer Prize and Emmy-winning photojournalist best known for her work on victims of gang violence in LA. She's honed her story-telling approach over two decades through multiple assignments across 52 countries; covering war, humanitarian crises and the human condition for the LA Times, the Dallas Morning News and the Washington Times.

As with Pete Souza (above), Davidson’s Twitter feed is heavy on American politics, and Davidson’s view thereof. But the odd tweet does slip through about her photography, and these are never less than insightful and inspirational.

12. Chase Jarvis

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  • @chasejarvis
  • Photographer and CEO of CreativeLive

Chase Jarvis is an American photographer, director and fine artist who aims to break down the barriers between new and traditional media, fine art and commercial art. He has won multiple awards and been described by PDN Magazine as one of the top 30 most influential photographers of the past decade. He’s also the founder of the online education platform CreativeLive. 

Jarvis’s Twitter feed is largely a vehicle for promoting the former, with many inspirational quotes, tips and snippets of advice from various course leaders. Most of these are not directly related to photography but aimed at creatives in general. That said, they'll still be of interest to many photographers, particularly those aiming to become more creative, productive and/or entrepreneurial in their career.

13. Paul Nicklen 

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  • @PaulNicklen
  • National Geographic photographer 

Paul Nicklen is a Canadian photographer, film-maker and marine biologist with a strong interest in underwater photography and conservation issues. An assignment photographer for National Geographic magazine, he has won numerous awards from the likes of World Press Photo and BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

Nicklen’s Twitter feed is less about photography itself and more about spreading the gospel of environmentalism; for example, he recently posted a series of “19 things that we can all do to help make this year the most successful year for our #oceans yet”. That said, each message is typically accompanied by colourful and compelling imagery, so there’s much visual inspiration here too.

14. Brian Smith

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Brian Smith is an American portrait photographer whose portraits of actors, business leaders, politicians and athletes have been used in advertising, by corporations and in hundreds of magazines over the last 30 years. He has won countless awards from organisations such as Pulitzer, World Press Photo and Pictures of the Year.

As a Sony Artisan, Profoto Legend of Light and X-Rite Coloratti Master, Smith is one of the few on this list who actually posts about cameras and equipment. Some of this can look a little spammy, but if you are interested in staying on top of what’s on sale, and at what price, then to our minds, it’s better to get it from someone who knows what they’re talking about.

15. Scott Kelby 

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  • @ScottKelby
  • Photographer, trainer and TV presenter 

Scott Kelby is an American photographer, award-winning author, Photoshop instructor, and the CEO of KelbyOne, an online educational community for Photographers, Photoshop and Lightroom users. He’s also founder of the annual Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk, the world’s largest social photography event.

Kelby's Twitter feed keeps you updated with all these varied activities in a workmanlike way, and overall his enthusiasm and obvious passion for teaching photography and sharing techniques comes through loud and clear.

16. Sim Chi Yin 

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Sim Chi Yin is a Singaporean photographer, based in Beijing, who works both as a photojournalist and on self-directed projects, which focus on history, memory, migration and its consequences. A nominee member of Magnum Photos, she has been awarded a Magnum Foundation Social Justice and Photography fellowship, as well as the Chris Hondros Award.

Yin’s Twitter feed is mainly made up of retweets, rather than her own thoughts. But they are invariably intelligent and thoughtfully chosen tweets, that serve as a great introduction to her photography worldview, and are typically accompanied by striking and thought-provoking images.

17. Benjamin Lowy 

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  • @benlowy
  • Photojournalist 

Benjamin Lowy is an American photojournalist known for his work as a conflict photographer in war zones. His images of Iraq were chosen by PDN as some of the most iconic of the 21st century, and he has received awards from World Press Photo, POYi, Communication Arts and the Society for Publication Design.

His Twitter feed is regularly updated, largely with retweets. Many of these are about U.S. politics and social issues. But there are photography related posts too, so even if the former don’t interest you, they’re worth wading through to get to the latter.

18. Ami Vitale 

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  • @Amivee
  • Photojournalist 

As a contract photographer for National Geographic, American Ami Vitale has travelled to more than 100 countries, lived in mud huts and war zones, contracted malaria, and donned a panda suit, keeping true to her belief in the importance of “living the story.” Winner of four World Press Photo awards, she is also a founding member of Ripple Effect Images, an organisation of female scientists and creatives.

Vitale’s regularly updated Twitter feed mostly focuses on conservation issues, a subject that she’s clearly very passionate about. And she sweetens the pill by accompanying these messages with top-class photography and video of wildlife from around the world.

19. Mark Power 

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British photographer and Magnum member Mark Power is famed for his primarily large-format film photography. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums across the world, and he has published eight books. He is also Professor of Photography at the University of Brighton.

Power’s Twitter feed is one long stream of big, beautiful photographs, currently from his latest book, 'Good Morning, America (Volume One)'. The odd comment about music, politics or Leicester City FC occasionally slips in too, but in general, it’s a glorious visual feast all the way.

20. Peter van Agtmael

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Peter van Agtmael is an American documentary photographer and Magnum member based in New York. Since 2006 he's concentrated on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their consequences in the US. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Time, The New Yorker and The Guardian, and he's published three books. He's also twice won World Press Photo awards.

His Twitter feed is most made up of carefully curated retweets. These largely centre around photography training, Magnum announcements and issues surrounding refugees and migration.

Read more:

20 famous photographers to follow on Instagram

The 50 best photographers ever

100 best photography quotes from famous photographers 

25 celebrities who also take pictures

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Tom May

Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specializing in art, photography, design and travel. He has been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. He has also worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, T3, Heat, Company and Bella.