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21 Influential Environmental Photographers to Follow in 2024

Last updated: March 13, 2024 - 15 min read
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Environmental photographers play a significant role in documenting our everyday life, our environment, and the changes in them. If you like to keep up with what’s happening in our world, you should follow the work of environmental photographers.

Take a look at our list of 21 of the most influential people working today in the niche. You’ll see why it’s worth following them!

A picture of a natural environment of leaves in a women's palm.


What Is Environmental Photography?

Environmental photography deals with documenting and introducing our surroundings. This niche focuses on the relationship between nature and humans.

It’s often a tool for raising awareness of important environmental and conservation issues like climate change. But the focus can also be on social issues, addressing community problems.

Environmental photographers can be photojournalists, biologists, wildlife photographers, conservationists, and people with different professions concerned about their environment.

A documentary image of a rubber tyre on parched soil against an urban skyline


Who Are the Most Influential Environmental Photographers?

Let’s look at the work of our 21 favorite environmental photographers!

1. Paul Nicklen

Paul Nicklen is a Canadian photographer, filmmaker, and marine biologist. He has received 30 of the highest photography awards in his field.

He has amazing underwater photos. As a professional diver, he captures terrestrial animals as well. He works for National Geographic Magazine as an assignment photographer. And he is also famous for being a conservationist.

Paul and his partner, Cristina Mittermeier, founded SeaLegacy. It is meant to change the narrative around the oceans and create emotional connections between people and mysterious underwater wildlife.


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A post shared by Paul Nicklen (@paulnicklen)

2. Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry is an American photographer with humanity as the prime focus of his work. He has documented wars, conflicts, ancient traditions, vanishing, and contemporary cultures.

He is famous for his vivid storytelling and powerful images. His work includes photojournalism, environmental portraiture, documentary, and environmental photography.

He has received prestigious awards like the Robert Capa Gold Medal and four first-prize awards from the World Press Photo contest. He was also inducted into the International Photography Hall of Fame.


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A post shared by Steve McCurry (@stevemccurryofficial)


3. Keith Ladzinski

Keith Landinski is a Colorado-based, Emmy-nominated director. And he is a contributing photographer at National Geographic.

His environmental photography puts natural history and climate change in focus. He aims to document our ever-changing planet. Besides focusing on environmental issues, he has amazing photos of extreme sports and famous advertising campaigns.

He is a founding member of the Sea Legacy Collective. And he has earned several awards and honors internationally. His work has been featured in more than 100 cover stories of different magazines, like the New York Times.


A bejegyzés megtekintése az Instagramon


Keith Ladzinski (@ladzinski) által megosztott bejegyzés

4. Cristina Mittermeier

Cristina Mittermeier is a Mexican-born photographer, marine biologist, writer, and conservationist. Her work has appeared in several publications like National Geographic and Time.

She takes stunning environmental portraits of people living in distant tribes. And she empowers those who don’t have the chance to speak about their lives and their environmental problems.

Cristina founded the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP). It provides a platform for photographers working on environmental issues. And she is also a co-founder of SeaLegacy with Paul Nicklen. 


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A post shared by Cristina Mittermeier (@mitty)


5. Sean Gallagher

Sean Gallagher is a British filmmaker and photographer based in Asia. He has a degree in zoology. And this is what connected him to environmental issues.

He works on creating photography and documentary film projects. He uses them to raise awareness of the climate crisis and other under-reported environmental problems.

Sean’s images are part of the National Geographic Image Collection. And he is a Fellow of the UK Royal Geographical Society. He had a list of stories he wanted to cover. All of them were about biodiversity loss or climate change. His partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting helps make his stories heard.


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A post shared by Sean Gallagher (@sean_gallagher_photo)

6. George Steinmetz

George is an American National Geographic and New York Times photographer. He is curious about remote landscapes, climate change, and the ever-expanding food needs of humanity.

He has traveled the world to explore different subjects and issues. He has completed several major photo essays and stories. And his expeditions to the Sahara and Gobi deserts have been featured in National Geographic Explorer programs.

George has won numerous awards. He also pilots a motorized paraglider that allows him to explore the world’s deserts and capture aerial photos. Now he uses drones for this purpose as well.


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A post shared by George Steinmetz (@geosteinmetz)


7. Tim Laman

Tim Laman is a field biologist, wildlife photojournalist, and filmmaker. He got his Ph.D. from Harvard for pioneering research in Borneo’s rainforest canopy. Since then, he has focused on telling stories of endangered wildlife.

His most known projects are about birds of paradise and orangutans. And he has been working worldwide,  documenting the most remote corners of it.

He has published several feature stories in National Geographic. Plus, he has worked on films with Netflix and BBC. He has won numerous incredibly prestigious awards. His work is featured and exhibited internationally.


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Tim Laman (@timlaman) által megosztott bejegyzés

8. Brian Skerry

Brian Skerry is a photojournalist specializing in marine wildlife and underwater environments. His beautiful images show us the daily struggles marine and ocean creatures face and the adverse impact of globalization on animals.

He has an incredible series of eye-opening images. One was of harp seals struggling to survive in frozen waters and the realities of global fisheries.

Brian is a contract photographer for National Geographic and has also received fellowship titles. He was recognized as the Rolex National Photographer of the Year. And he has won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award 11 times!


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A post shared by Brian Skerry (@brianskerry)


9. Aaron Huey

Aaron Huey is a photographer working for National Geographic. He has created more than 30 stories for the magazine, with several cover stories among them.

He is the founder and chief creative of Amplifier. It’s a nonprofit design lab that uses art and media experiments to amplify our world’s important movements. And he has created several movements, like the global art phenomenon called “We the People” and “We The Future.”

He also raised a lot of money through the Sherpa Photo Fund and directed the Reset Capitalism Campaign, to mention a few. As evident, Aaron stands behind many important movements and uses his art and works to raise awareness.


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A post shared by Aaron Huey (@argonautphoto)

10. Beverly Joubert

Beverly Joubert has specialized in African wildlife photography for over 30 years. She is a fellow of the International League of Conversation photographers. And as well as being a wildlife photographer, she is also a wildlife film producer.

Beverly works with her husband, Derek, to bring awareness to wildlife conversation projects. They are the founders of the Big Cats Initiative with National Geographic.

Their organization, Project Ranger, prevents illegal poaching in Africa. They have received eight Emmys for their filmmaking.


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A post shared by Beverly Joubert (@beverlyjoubert)


11. Daisy Gilardini

Daisy Gilardini is a Canada-based conservation photographer from Switzerland. She specializes in the polar regions. She focuses on conservation and preserving what’s left of nature.

Her photos are mainly of Antarctic wildlife and North American bears. She has visited over 70 countries and joined over 80 expeditions to Antarctica.

Daisy’s work has received prestigious awards internationally, including BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year. She is a member of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP), SeaLegacy, and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. 


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A post shared by Daisy Gilardini (@daisygilardini)

12. Michael Yamashita

Michael Yamashita combines his passion for photography and travel. He has been a National Geographic photographer for over 30 years.

Asia became his special photographic area after spending seven years there. He retraces the paths of famous travelers like Marco Polo. He is a great storyteller who uses his work to document our history and world.

Michael is a lecturer and teacher at schools. He holds workshops and is a keynote speaker for foundations and corporations. He has received numerous awards, and his work has been exhibited all around the globe. Plus, he has published eleven books.


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A post shared by Michael Yamashita (@yamashitaphoto)


13. Jasper Doest

Jasper Doest is a Dutch photographer with a major in ecology. His work aims to bridge the gap between society and nature.

He has a playful aesthetic approach to this serious mission. His photographic series often features portraits of animals in urban areas. And his photos beg the question. Is it the animal who is the intruder, or is it us?

Jasper has received numerous awards for his work. This has included World Press Photo and Wildlife Photographer of the Year. He has also contributed to National Geographic and GEO magazine.


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A post shared by Jasper Doest (@jasperdoest)

14. Melissa Groo

Melissa Groo is a wildlife photographer, writer, and conservationist. She aims to educate people about the natural world and build a connection between them. She does that by raising awareness of the importance and uniqueness of living creatures.

She also focuses on the ethics of wildlife photography. And she has advised countless organizations on ethical practices.

Melissa and Kenn Kaufman created the National Audubon Society’s Guide to Ethical Bird Photography. Melissa is also an Associate Fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers. Her work has been published, featured, awarded, and exhibited internationally.


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Melissa Groo (@melissagroo) által megosztott bejegyzés


15. Peter Essick

Peter Essick is a photographer, author, speaker, instructor, and drone pilot specializing in nature and environmental themes. His goal is to document the world and show the human impact of development and the power of the lands.

He has published books and held solo exhibitions as well. And his work has been published in magazines and curated in public and private collections.

He was named one of the 40 most influential nature photographers in the world by Outdoor Photography Magazine. And his stories on environmental issues appeared several times in National Geographic Magazine. These stories speak about climate change, high-tech trash, and freshwater.


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A post shared by Peter Essick (@peteressick)

16. Esther Horvath

Esther Horvath is a Hungarian photographer. She is a fellow at the International League of Conservation Photographers and a member of The Photo Society. And she is a science photographer for Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany.

Her photographic work is dedicated to the polar regions, especially the Arctic Ocean. She documents scientific expeditions. And these expeditions are for understanding the changes in these regions of our world.

Esther aims to raise awareness of these environments and build a bridge between the world and the scientists’ work. And in 2020, she received first prize in the Environmental Single Category of the World Press Photo Awards.


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A post shared by Esther Horvath (@estherhorvath)


17. Nichole Sobecki

Nichole Sobecki is a photographer, filmmaker, and speaker in Nairobi, Kenya. Her work has been awarded and exhibited internationally.

The main focus of her work is humanity’s connection to the natural world. For instance, she has a project titled A Climate for Conflict. It investigates the consequences of environmental changes in Somalia.

She believes telling a story can deepen empathy and inspire people to be more conscious. She’s also a contributor to Everyday Africa, which attempts to showcase missing moments from the news. It’s a collection of smartphone photos of the everyday life of Africans.


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A post shared by Nichole Sobecki (@nicholesobecki)

18. Sam Gregg

Sam Gregg is a self-taught documentary and portrait photographer from London. His work has been featured several times online and in print as well.

He participates in many different exhibitions worldwide. And he plays an important role in drawing attention to contemporary societal issues. Through his work, he gives the people on the peripheries a voice.

Sam is interested in marginalized communities. These communities are usually deliberately misrepresented or hidden. He works against stereotypes while staying honest about social structures and their representation in the media.


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A post shared by Sam Gregg (@samalexandergregg)


19. Antonio Busiello

Antonio Busiello is an Italian photographer. He is known for focusing on the relationship between humans and the natural world surrounding them. While studying anthropology, his interest in cultural differences deepened.

He has worked and lived in different countries around the world. And his images have won him prestigious awards, like the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

You can find his work in numerous magazines. And his numerous photo essays combine his interest in humankind and the natural world. His work was also chosen to be exhibited at the CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year Exhibition.


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A post shared by Antonio Busiello (@anbusiello)

20. Matilde Gattoni

Matilde Gattoni is a French-Italian photographer based in Barcelona. Her work raises global awareness of social, environmental, and human rights issues.

She mostly covers stories from Asia and Africa. And her topics are diverse. They include mass migrations, illegal mining, droughts, and climate change.

Her stories have been published in more than a hundred magazines all around the globe. She received several awards, and her work has been exhibited worldwide.

Matilde and journalist Matteo Fagotto founded Tandem Reportages. It is an agency that produces independent stories. They focus on contemporary issues like the relationship between humans and our environment.


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A post shared by Matilde Gattoni (@matildegattoni)


21. Ami Vitale

Ami Vitale is a National Geographic photographer. She has visited more than 100 countries and always believes in the importance of “living the story.” And she is interested in different social and environmental issues.

She has traveled extensively and lived in war zones. But her focus shifted more to wildlife stories. The turning point was when she photographed one of the world’s last northern white rhinos being released into the wild.

Since then, Ami has raised awareness of environmental issues with her documentation. She has received several prestigious awards. And her work has been published and exhibited internationally.

Screenshot of a rhino photo from Amy Vitale's Instagram
Follow Amy Vitale on Instagram

Conclusion: Influential Environmental Photographers

As you can see, environmental photography is a diverse niche covering many topics. What they have in common is drawing attention to our world’s daily issues.

Do you agree with our list? Please drop us a comment with your favorite environmental photographers under this post!

We are always on the lookout for exciting new environmental photographers. If you are an environmental photographer and feel you should be considered for this list, email us at with your bio, website, and Instagram link!