In order to produce relevant and intelligent photographic work, one must study those who are regarded as the best. Photography has many levels to which many amateur artists do not engage on. To create a strong perspective, study those who have a strong eye for creating a sense of wonder through your photography. Here are some of the top photographers throughout history.


Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon was an American photographer who specialized in fashion and celebrity portraiture. Most of his work is black and white film photography and is known for creating simple and minimal large-scale portraits. He was employed at many well-known magazine publications including Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue.

During his early years in college, Avedon dropped out to serve in World War II. He was a Photographer’s Mate Second Class for two years where he was in charge of taking identification portraits of sailors. Most of his career was spent at Harper’s Bazaar as a fashion photographer. His legacy is remembered by his bold work of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Marilyn Monroe, Bob Dylan, and even Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz is an American portrait artist whose work spans throughout multiple decades. She was the chief photographer for Rolling Stone magazine and also photographed John Lennon the day he was murdered. Her style is recognized by two key factors of bold primary colors paired with unexpected poses from her subjects. Leibovitz has photographed about every well-known figure to presidents to teen idols sensations.


Ansel Adams

Unlike Avedon and Leibovitz, Ansel Adams was known for his high-contrast outdoor work that had strong photographic techniques throughout his work. His photographic work was created throughout the 1920’s. Most of his work is identified by black and white landscape images with organic visual flow throughout. Adams and Fred Archer created what is known as the Zone System. It was created to determine the proper exposure and find the correct contrast of a given images. He also used large-format cameras to capture the sharpness in his images.


David Lachapelle

David Lachapelle is not just an American photographer but a film director and all around artist. His work is hyper realistic, full of color, and uses celebrities to narrate his visual stories. His work has been published in publications worldwide and has been exhibited around the world. Lachapelle is known to reference art history while simultaneously creating a social commentary through his work.