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12 COMMERCIAL & FASHION PHOTOGRAPHERS WHOSE WORK INSPIRES ME

12 COMMERCIAL & FASHION PHOTOGRAPHERS WHOSE WORK INSPIRES ME

The top 12 – why not top 10? – well, because I wanted 12, so 12 it was. There are so many amazing photographers to be inspired by – these are the just ones whom I’ve learned the most from since the start of my career and constantly inspire me to keep pushing. If you’re not familiar with any of these amazing individuals please check out their work through the links I’ve provided.

ANNIE LEIBOVITZ 

She’s undeniably one of the most respected photographers of our time and guaranteed you’ve seen her images. She’s well known for her intimate portraits of celebrities such as THIS PORTRAIT OF JOHN LENNON AND YOKO ONO she did for Rolling Stone. She’s done an abundance of incredible work over the years. I especially love her use of beautiful light, bold colors, and poses that she uses in her editorial and personal work. Below is one of my favorite images of her’s – Drew Barrymore as beauty and the beast for Vogue.

MELISSA RODWELL

She’s an amazing fashion and entertainment photographer who’s work has graced the pages of countless magazines as well as numerous ad campaigns. She also runs an amazing blog where she shows you all kinds of behind the scenes tidbits of working on high end projects. I’ve certainly been inspired by her work and educated by her blog. Here’s one of my favorite images she shot for Harpers Bazaar – in fact HERE IS A VIDEO OF HER BEHIND THE SCENES ON THE PRINCESS OF PERSIA SHOOT.

ERIK ALMAS

love this man’s work. He does amazing conceptual ad campaigns that I’m always in awe of. He is originally from Norway but now he’s located right here in San Francisco so he gets an extra point for that too (although I still have yet to actually meet him)! His work is wonderfully conceptual with intense attention to detail. Here is one of my favorite images of his – I know he shot it at the CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCE MUSEUM, which I’ve always thought would be a cool location to shoot at, I’m so jealous that he beat me to it. 😉

RICHARD AVEDON

When he died his obituary published in The New York Times said that “his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America’s image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century” and it’s absolutely true! He shot for all of the top magazines including Vogue, Life and Harper’s Bazaar – and was actually the chief photographer for both Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar at some point during his career. He stands out as a photography great for many reasons, but I love the fact that he threw out the notion that fashion photographs were best when models would stand emotionless and seemingly indifferent to the camera. Instead, he showed models full of emotion, smiling, laughing, and, many times, in action. People live, fashion lives & your images should represent that. The image below is one of my favorite images, not just of his, but of all time. Love!

JILL GREENBERG

Most people know her for HER CRYING BABY PORTRAITS – which are fabulous, but she offers so much more then that! She’s done a ton of commercial and advertising work, plus her images have been featured on the cover of major publications like Time, Newsweek and Entertainment Weekly, just to name a few. She utilizes interesting lighting techniques and photoshop to create her unique portraits. What I love most about Jill’s work is that you can always tell it’s her’s – she’s done an amazing job at creating a signature look that really works. Here’s a portrait of Alecia Keys that Greenberg shot which ended up on the cover of Vibe.

RUSSELL JAMES

Before I jumped into photography full time I worked at Victoria’s Secret to help pay the bills. I was surrounded by these amazing images on the walls, in the catalogs, everywhere – come to find out that most, if not all, of the Victoria’s Secret ad’s and catalog images are the work of one super talented man, Russell James. I’ve taken note of his work before I was even aware it was his and learned a great deal regarding posing, lighting, and shooting on location. The best part is he sends out new inspiration straight to my mailbox without me even having to do anything!

ZENA HOLLOWAY

If you’re a follower of my work then you already know I love beautiful underwater portraits. I love the otherworldliness and ethereal look of shooting underwater and Zena does it amazingly. When I first had the notion to shoot underwater Zena’s work was some of my first inspiration. She does a beautiful job of incorporating beauty and fashion elements and pushes the boundaries of what you can accomplish underwater. This is one of my favorite images of hers, I love the playfulness and how it looks effortless.

MARKUS KLINKO & INDRANI

This dynamic duo has certainly made their mark on fashion and celebrity photography. They’ve been responsible for many well known advertisements,  shot for most of the top magazine publications, and collaborated with tons of celebrities to create amazing imagery. They even had their own docu-series on Bravo that showed all the behind the scenes that goes into working on large fashion shoots with high end clients. They may have silly drama, but they alway produce impeccable work.

VICTORIA WILL

She began her career as a staff photographer for the New York Post and now shoots editorial portraits for many large publications including TV Guide, W Magazine & The Associated Press. I had the awesome opportunity to actually meet her and talk photography a few months ago at one of the PPGBA meetings. She is not only incredibly talented, but also super down to earth, easy to talk to, and full of helpful advice. I love the diptych below of Iris Apfel, especially how Victoria was really able to capture her character – and those incredible glasses.

BROOKE SHADEN 

Brooke’s work is incredible – dark with a surreal look. She does an amazing job at making things appear beautiful when others find may them disturbing. I had the incredible opportunity to actually meet her and chat about photography, and life in general, when she was in town a few months ago for a seminar/PPGBA meeting. She is not only incredibly talented, but also super down to earth, easy to talk to, and full of helpful advice. I honestly learned more from her in 2 days then I have from other photographers I’ve followed for significantly longer. I’m always totally inspired by her work! We both love to shoot ridiculousness, just in different ways.

STEVEN MEISEL

He is without a doubt considered one of the most successful fashion photographers in the industry, shooting regularly for large publications such as both US and Italian Vogue. In fact, Meisel has created every cover and lead editorial story for each issue of Italian Vogue for over the last decade. He’s amazing at conveying story lines that reflect current culture while letting the fashion take center stage. I’m a huge fan of his work.

SUE BRYCE

This woman is incredible! Her business is more portrait based then commercial, but I love her because she can make ANY WOMAN feel like a super model. She works with everyday women and creates the most beautiful, classy portraits that definitely have a high-end look. Not only that, but she is an amazing teacher. She isn’t the type of person who hoards the knowledge she’s gained, she shares it and presents it in a super digestible way. I love her & her work.

So, obviously there are a ton of other photographers who’ve inspired my work in addition to these folks, these are just the people who’s work I am consistently drawn to and inspired by. Do you agrees with my list? Did I leave anybody vital off? I’d love to hear your thoughts so leave a comment below!

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