How 4 Photo Editors Are Using Instagram

How 4 Photo Editors Are Using Instagram

Instagram is a powerful tool that professional photographers must take seriously if they want to be discovered via the platform – because just like every other person with a smart phone, photo editors from major publications are on there too. It’s a way to stay top of mind and connected with the photo-editors you’ve previously worked with, and to share work that can catch their eye and could inspire your next assignment.

We asked 4 photo editors 4 questions regarding the app and how they use it professionally to discover new talent, what they like to see from the photographers they’ve worked with, and what not to post. Read on for tips.

Sacha Lecca, Deputy Photo Editor at Rolling Stone


Is Instagram a useful tool for you professionally when it comes to discovering new talent?
All of the people and organizations I follow are connected in some way to the greater photo community (publications, collectives, agents, book and zine publishers, photographers, etc), and nearly all of those folks are people that I either know personal, have a relationship with, or are those that I’m already otherwise aware of.

Instagram can be a useful tool for discovery, but I’m more likely to learn about a photographer’s work via word of mouth, a promo, exhibit, blog post, work in other publications, etc. I typically use Instagram as a way to engage with and view work from photographers I like and in some cases, be alerted to where they might be located at any given point.

Which photographers do you love following on Instagram?
There are so many I really like but to just name a few: @andrewquilty, @qsakamaki, @nomadda, @benlowy, @thomas_prior, @michaelchristopherbrown, @landonnordeman, @edkashi, @everydayafrica, @jasonnocito666, @morganmaassen, @charlesommanney, @matteich, and @ruddyroye all produce amazing work and for the most part utilize the medium format and platform really well.

Have you ever hired a photographer you discovered on Instagram?
No. (Not yet)

What do you urge photographers *not* to do on Instagram?
What I enjoy about Instagram is that it is a social media platform so I think photographers can keep it pretty loose and varied as long as what is posted is complementary to the work that they do. Some post phone and or (other) digital camera images, some post scanned film images, it’s all fine by me.

Personally I like seeing it all: anything from projects done specifically for your feed, existing work, tearsheets, to daily life and vacation stuff.
The things that makes me move on is are if the images aren’t strong or the posting of way too many images in a day, especially if it’s on the same subject, you gotta edit well on Instagram too.

Jessie Wender, Photo Editor at The New Yorker


Is Instagram a useful tool for you professionally when it comes to discovering new talent?
Instagram is a great tool for discovering new photographic talent. I primarily follow my friends and family, photographers whose work I like, people who share similar interests as me or whose lifestyle I am attracted to, and people whose feed I find humorous. The “Following” section of the “News” tab, which shows the posts those I follow have “liked,” has introduced me to photographers whose work I wouldn’t have otherwise come across. Instagram helps me get a feeling for a photographer’s interests and style, and how I would assign them.

Which photographers do you love following on Instagram?
Wow, there’s a lot! David GuttenfelderTierney Gearon, and Daniel Arnold, just to name a few. I’ve absolutely loved seeing David Guttenfelder‘s photographs of North Korea on Instagram. It is such an interesting subject, and I’ve loved being exposed to his view of such a insular country. I love following Tierney Gearon and her children around the country on their adventures – such a lively, youthful feed, and a wonderful insight into her life. And, living in NYC, I am still amazed by the intimate, strange and surprisingly beautiful moments Daniel finds in this crowded city.

Have you ever hired a photographer you discovered on Instagram?
I first came across both Malu Alvarez and Eric Helgas‘s work via their Instagram feeds. Both shoot graphic and smart still life’s that made me want to assign them to shoot for the The New Yorker’s Tables for Two section. Likewise, I began assigning Daniel Arnold to photograph The New Yorker’s Goings On About Town opener based on his Instagram street photography.

What do you urge photographers *not* to do on Instagram?
It’s important to be yourself. After all, it is social media, and I want to see someone whose eye, aesthetic, expression and interests are unique. However, I do stop following photographers if I am offended by their feed. I think it’s important to recognize the viewing platform. Depth and context can sometimes be lost when viewing photographs of a more sensitive nature as stand-alone images in the social media/quick view context that Instagram can be. As part of a developed project in a portfolio, book, gallery, etc., these same photographs can mean something very different.

Alessia Glaviano, Senior Photo Editor at Vogue Italia and L’Uomo Vogue


Is Instagram a useful tool for you professionally when it comes to discovering new talent?
I consider Instagram an amazing tool to communicate, see different aesthetics from all over the world, and yes of course, also to discover new talents. I believe that in Instagram there is a particular aesthetic that works better,  there is a lot of dreamy pictures or “sensational” ones in terms of very saturated colors, or weird angles etc.  A lot of good work could still be missed if we just looked at Instagram.

However, Instagram isn’t the perfect tool for fashion photographers, which tend to use it differently from other photographers such as photojournalists. Because fashion photographers are used to “making” pictures rather than “taking” them at the spur of the moment. Rather than capturing the moment, fashion photographers make the moment happen, so if they use Instagram it is mainly with another purpose completely different from promoting their fashion photography style…it’s interesting because it shows you the way their creative process works. For instance I like Miles Aldridge’s account, he is a great fashion photographer and I think that his use of Insta can be really fun.

Which photographers do you love following on Instagram?
I love Alec Soth’s account because he is very intelligent and that really shows in the way he uses Instagram, I also really like Everyday Africa and the others Everyday Middle East, etc, because they show how life is in those continents without the common prejudices of the main press.

I mainly like to follow reporters because I think that the medium works best for that kind of photography, so for instance I love Michael Christopher Brown, Dmitry Markov, Teru Kuwayama, Ben Lowy.

Have you ever hired a photographer you discovered on Instagram?
No, not yet!

What do you urge photographers *not* to do on Instagram?
I’m not so interested in seeing work that’s already published, I’m more interested in seeing the way they think, seeing ideas and concepts.

Elizabeth Griffin, Photo Editor at


Is Instagram a useful tool for you professionally when it comes to discovering new talent?
Instagram pulls together (or can pull together) a photographer’s portfolio in a very clean, very simple, very easy to follow way. It has become an increasingly important tool for both editors and photographers to post and procure work, and I would encourage photographers to use it wisely to showcase what they can do.

The app is also something I am constantly turning to as a source of personal and strong storytelling. It’s a very powerful communication tool I use to access everyday scenes or astonishing stories from places all over the world. Again, it’s the immediacy and the directness of it – it feels like it’s less restricted than what we pull off wires. Instagram allows me to see exactly what the photographer wanted to post and not what his or her editor was saying to post.

The app serves separate purposes for me as an editor: it gives me more of an intimate experience, like I’m accessing more raw content in a more up-close way (which draws me in) and it also shows how someone sees the world and how they choose to display it. Both are incredibly necessarily when it comes to developing and reporting on stories and finding people who can help tell those stories in the best possible way.

Which photographers do you love following on Instagram?
I love the work from: Carolyn Van Houten @vanhoutenphoto, Matt Black @mattblack_blackmatt, Bryan Derballa @lovebryan, Charles Ommanney @charlesommanney, Pamela Chen @chenpamela, Jana Asenbrennerova @asenbrennerova, Kieran Kesner @kierankesner, Theron Humphrey @thiswildidea and David Guttenfelder @dguttenfelder. Oh, and of course all the photographers featured on Esquire Mag, @esquiremag!

Want to build your following on Instagram? Download our latest guide, The Photographer’s Guide to Instagram today!



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Marketing associate at PhotoShelter

There are 6 comments for this article
  1. David Robin at 11:47 am

    Photographers, with all the fluffy proclamations touting the wonders of Instagram, please remember that, after all is said and done, Instagram is a for-profit, publically-traded corporation. And as such, it is looking for ways to monetize and profit from your imagery, and in Instagram’s case, looking to do so without paying you. And by agreeing to the Instagram Terms of Use Agreement you have proactively allowed yourself to be ripped off by not only Instagram, but also Facebook and any third party they decide to associate with… FOREVER
    Because of this deceptive and unprecedented rights-grab, all photo trade organizations (including APA and ASMP) advise photographers against posting any photos or content on Instagram and Facebook that the photographer wouldn’t mind having stolen and sold without compensation.
    Here are the offending words from Instagram’s current User Agreement:
    “…you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service…”
    If you have any questions regarding the Instagram or any other User Agreement or contract, please contact APA National for advice.
    And don’t forget to join APA and / or ASMP and be a part of protecting your livelihood now and into the future.

  2. Pingback: How 4 Photo Editors Are Using Instagram
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  5. photoshop online free at 6:34 am

    Nice , i am edit my all photos in instagram other one which i use is toolpic which is sister site of instagram do check it out. it is similar to pixlr one, but way too high function than pixlr, like animation frames, shortcut effects

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