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Do you want to understand your camera and take great photos today?

Yes Please

When I first had the idea to write this post, I didn’t quite realise the scale of the task I was taking on.

I’ve been scouring the internet for over a month now with the incredibly tough task of whittling it down from about 100 young photographers to just 20. I’ve then had to put them all in order, ranking them based on my own experience of what’s out there and, of course, my own personal taste.

The standard of work has near enough blown me away as I wasn’t expecting something so great.

Thanks to everyone who has recommended someone to me; it’s been hard to keep track of where they’ve all come from.

I encourage you to visit the websites and fan pages of each of the people listed here. There’s so much talent that you’ll either be completely inspired, or it will ruin your day.

Here they are…

1 – David Olkarny – 24

David is a photographer, cameraman and video editor based in Brussels, Belgium. He’s also self-taught.

The first thing that struck me about David’s photography was the creativity involved. This, combined with his natural flair has produced some amazing results.

I would typically write more than this but I think it’s best for you to see for yourself.

I would suggest following his Facebook page

which now has over 100,000 fans in just a few months. He regularly updates it with his new photos.

I would also suggest clicking on his website, listening to the music and flicking through the photography.

This is the only time that I’ve actually not wanted to turn autoplay music off on a website. Check this one out.

2 – Lara Jade – 22

Lara Jade started her own photography career at the age of 17. She originally took on small clients in England, before becoming a fully fledged Fashion, Portrait & Advertising Photographer in New York City.

Jealous yet?

With quality work came high demand and Lara has taken it in her stride. Her work has been featured in well known fashion and photography magazines worldwide.

Not only is she hugely successful on the social media scene (70,000 fans on Facebook) but Lara is also currently working worldwide and represented by leading agencies in London, Milan & the USA.

If that’s not enough to inspire you, you should know that she’s sponsored by Canon, Bowens Lighting, Broncolor Lighting, Lensbaby, Wacom and Datacolor. She’s also currently designing her own range of camera bags for US camera bag brand Naneu.

One of my favourite photos from her.

3 – Brooke Shaden – 24

“Brooke Shaden is a fine art photographer living and working in the Los Angeles area. Her passion lies in creating new worlds through photographs. Her vision extends beyond the realm of the camera. She creates images that resemble paintings and speak of an era that is not our own. Each image is a story.”

That’s what I love about her photography. It always looks as though it was taken in another world, with a dreamy like atmosphere. She has an incredible vision and you can see that in every one of her photos.

I’ve been following her (in a non-stalker kind of way) for a few months now and her work just continues to improve. Check this photo out.

4 – Joey L – 21

Joey was actually the inspiration behind this post from when I first came across him over a year ago now.

I was browsing a photography forum and people were listing their favourite photographers. Someone mentioned him and I couldn’t help but think ‘Jeez, how has someone so young done so much?’

He’s a Canadian-born photographer and director, currently based in New York City. His client list speaks for itself: Verizon, Nickelodeon, History channel, FX Channel, Smirnoff, Kawasaki, Forbes and The Government of Abu Dhabi.

He works closely with Lara Jade (listed above) making a tutorial DVD. Check out this photo of his, I just love his lighting.

5 – Zhang “Zemotion” Jingna – 23

If you’d like to see her list of awards and accolades, click here. There are simply too many to list. The one that stands out the most to me is when she was named Photographer of the Year by Elle Singapore in November 2011.

At just 23, her portfolio has expanded to include names like MontBlanc, Canon, Lancôme, Pond’s, Wacom, Random House Publishing, as well as Elle, Zink and many other international publications.

The success of her work has brought her to shoot in Paris, London, New York and Tokyo in just the short span of three years since turning professional. If that’s not enough, you should know that she currently manages a StarCraft II team, Infinity Seven.

Check out this photo.

6 – Nicolas Méphane – 22

Nicolas is another person with great vision when it comes to photography as an artform. This is clearly demonstrated by his wide portfolio on his Facebook and website.

His style is Conceptual, Emotive, Expressive, Fashion, Surreal and ‘Miscellaneous’. This makes a lot of sense when you start to look at some of his photos.

Take this one for example. He’s managed to take what could have been just a regular photo of a model and turned it into a pyrotechnic display, reminiscent of a rock show. Simply amazing work.

7 – Kitty Gallannaugh – 21

“I’m a twenty-one year young photographer who likes to play and make magic with her camera. I’m a child with stars in my eyes, love in my heart and photography in my blood.”

I can’t remember when I first came across Kitty but I do remember being inspired by the depth of her portfolio at such a young age. It inspired me to find more time to take photos for fun.

It seems that Kitty is a girl after my own heart. She realises how nerve-wrecking it feels to stare into a camera lens. As such, she always tries to make her clients feel at ease.

She hates forced smiles and awkwardly framed poses, so she works to bring out the emotion and personality of the model.

Thinking up new concepts to communicate a photograph, she tries to stretch the margins of regular photography and turn it into a tale. Check this photo out.

8 – Nirrimi Hakanson – 19

Nirrimi is a 19 year old Australian girl from North Queensland and, in her own words:

“It was always summer and my parents were wild and free, my childhood unconventionally beautiful. All that was, inspired all that is now. And so the naivety and quiet beauty of youth fascinates me, photography becomes a way to relive my own childhood.”

She started out on deviantART when she was about 13. By the age of 16, she had signed to an agency shooting her favourite magazine. By 17 she was shooting Diesel’s winter campaign in NYC.

She has more of a career at her age than most people could ever even wish for and she’s earned it.

Check this photo out.

9 – Alexandra Sophie – 19

Alexandra is a 19 year old, self taught photographer from France who ‘loves to capture love, fairies, childhood dreams and fragility’.

She lists on Facebook that she uses a Canon 5D Mark II + 50mm f/1.8 + Photoshop, which just goes to show what you can do with a small amount of kit.

I recommend the f/1.8 to all beginner photographers and, on a full frame camera like the Canon 5D Mark II, the photos really shine. Because of her style, the photos she produces are very dreamy looking and soft. I don’t usually like too much of that but I think it just suits her.

Have a look at this.

10 – Logan Hunt – 17

I don’t know what it was that struck me about Logan or, come to think of it, where I even found him. But I knew the first time I flicked through his portfolio that I liked what I saw.

There’s very little information about him on the internet but the pictures speak for themselves.

Throughout this post I’ve been linking to images on Facebook so that you can like their pages but I think that his best work is on his website.

The colour, softness and lighting of the photos make them vibrant, yet natural. If I had to hire a photographer to take photos of me, this would probably be the guy.

His portfolio may not be huge, nor his Facebook following, but he’s got an eye that’s going to take him places.

11 – Lindsay Adler – 26

Lindsay Adler is an energetic, passionate fashion photographer living in New York and London. She teaches photo workshops, creates editorials, writes articles and pursues her passions.

Some of the concepts on her website are really interesting. They should help inspire you to create some interesting photography yourself. Her work has been published in various magazines and, in her 26 years, she’s really managed to establish herself.

12 – Mark Jaworski

I’m not entirely sure how old Mark is but I would guess he’s in his early 20s.

I asked on a forum who were people’s favourite young photographers and his name cropped up in the mix. After seeing this photo, it was hard not to include him.

Some people may not quite get the photo, in the same way that the Rhein II (the most expensive photo in the world) is misunderstood, but I see something much more in it.

I think that, like most photographers, he struggles to find a clear focus for his photography. But I see a huge amount of potential here.

13 – Karrah Kobus – 21

I think that Karrah, the 21 year old conceptual portrait artist and event photographer, sums herself up better than I ever could:

“one day i woke up with a dream. i wanted to be a photographer. and ever since march 24th, 2010, that is all i have been.

ive chased the sunrise across fields with my lover. ive spent an evening capturing dragonflies, and watching them fly back to freedom through the sky. ive waded through lakes, with just my camera peeking above the waves. ive driven across the country to meet perfect strangers, and bathed in waterfalls after covering myself in mud. ive spent countless nights, mornings, and afternoons running around aimlessly, and just because i have my camera, everything was, and always will be, ok.

sometimes i feel like photographers have uncovered a special secret. a crazy, amazing, and beautiful secret. the key to truly living. all i want is to be alive. ”

14 – Ailera Stone – 20

Ailera is a 20 year old photographer from Vilnius, Lithuania. She now lives and studies photography in London, United Kingdom.

For a student, her portfolio is incredible. The photo you see below on her home page is the one that made me fall in love with her photography.

If you have the time, go and really explore her website.

“I always liked to escape into other worlds through books, movies and music, but I found out that the best way to do that is by taking pictures. My photography is a way to capture moments and make them magical, bring the dreams into this world.”

15 – Servan Ilyne – 24

Servan is from Brussels. I don’t speak French so it’s hard for me to learn too much about him, at least from what he’s written.

The quality of his photography speaks for itself, especially when it comes to originality. This is probably my favourite album of his because it seems to be quite a personal expression of his own style and taste – almost like a slightly crazy fashion album.

It’s good photography with a playful mix of colour and creativity. I look forward to seeing what else he has to share with us.

16 – Cameron Rad – 20ish

Cameron is a photographer who seems to work entirely with natural light. I really admire this; he hasn’t needed any extra gear to take these amazing photos.

I like the idea of not venturing into flash photography before you’ve mastered shooting without. And Cameron seems to have done it.

This direction has resulted in some very natural photos with a dash of lens flare here and there for good measure. I’m a big fan of his style and he seems to have mastered it at a very young age.

Check out this photo.

17 – Floriane Caux – 23

Florine is a French photographer who divides her time between France and England. She works as a fashion, event, portrait, and wedding photographer.

Her portfolio demonstrates that she has an eye for abstract and fine art photography, not just fashion and portrait.

She’s not afraid to play with different angles or interesting locations. She thinks outside of the box. This is one of my favourite photos of her’s. 

18 – Faye Sampson – 21

Faye Sampson is a 21 year old internationally published fashion photographer and a first class degree graduate from London.

She has already produced over twenty editorials for magazine publications, along with many other online features and interviews.

I started following her on Facebook a few weeks ago. To be quite honest, I thought her work was that of a much more experienced photographer, not someone who began teaching themselves photography just three years ago, aged 18.

From some of her behind the scene photos, you can clearly see that she spends a lot of time retouching her photos. But she does it so well that you barely even notice – it only adds to her already great photography.

Check this one out.

19 – Matt Eich – 25

Matt tells it best when he says:

“His work is rooted in memory, both personal and collective and he strives to approach every photograph with a sense of intimacy. He believes that stories are the fabric of history and that they have the power to inform and transform. While he has worked on five continents, Matt’s images focus on his own back yard, often exploring communities, the issues they face and their sense of identity.”

This was one of those situations where you’re not really that blown away by someone’s work… then you start to look a little deeper into the photos and see something more than what you saw before.

He has this amazing ability to capture a moment where the picture says it all. Spend some time and browse his site.


20 – Matthew Lloyd

Matthew is a freelance editorial and portrait photographer based in London. He works for The Times, Getty Images and Bloomberg, alongside various corporate clients.

His work has been published all over the world in various publications. If you have a look at his portfolio, you’ll be surprised by some of the people he’s photographed.

From an ex Prime Minister to winner of best restaurant in the world, he certainly has taken photos of a lot of very important people. It’s not just me who thinks he’s good – he’s won three different awards for young photographer of the year as well.

Top 20 Young Photographers 2012

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  • rosie

    My two favourites ones are definitely the two youngest, Nirrimi and Alexandra Sophie. Did you know both are even already mothers? By the way, is there any order in the way you placed everyone or you just wrote number from 1 to 20 randomly?

    • This is my own personal rank of how I see them. Everyone else is likely to differ though.

      • rosie

        Ok! Well, I also wanted to say that if the number one have that much “likes”, it’s because he have been added as an admin of a page for teens where there is more than 300000, and he keeps spamming everyone for them to come on his own page. No jealousy here, just saying!

        • Oh I’m aware of that, but it wasn’t the reason I favoured him the most. Thanks for the comment.

    • Andrew

      Actually, Logan is the youngest.

  • Really wonderful list. Glad to see a few familiar names on there. I’ll be watching their photography careers for sure.

  • Lucie

    It is so good to see such strong, young people achieving their dreams and accomplishing big things. This is a very inspiring blog post. Congratulations Josh!

  • Alyssa Downer

    I truly think that Connor Surdi should be in this. He is amazing!

  • Donotagree

    That’s way unfair, there are a lot of amazing photographer who are not in this list. You should add “in my opinion” in the title, it would be more honest.
    And honestly I don’t think that David olkarny deserve the 1st rank.

    • If you read the introduction, I make it pretty clear the process of how I found and ranked these people. David’s fan have nothing to do with his rank. Unfortunately there’s no forumla for ranking photographers that I can follow, so I just went by my own personal taste and experience. What do you think about the rest of the list?

  • Donotagree

    “rosie Reply January 6, 2012 at 2:16 am

    Ok! Well, I also wanted to say that if the number one have that much “likes”, it’s because he have been added as an admin of a page for teens where there is more than 300000, and he keeps spamming everyone for them to come on his own page. No jealousy here, just saying!”

    Thank you rosie! I’ve notice exactly the same thing. He spend his time to spam people on facebook instead of actually working on his photographs…

  • Amazing work and very inspirational! Thank you for sharing!

  • Maggie Gardner

    I think this is a wonderful article no matter what anyone else thinks, it has motivated me to be better with my art and that is what personally counts. Art is SO subjective that of course people are going to all have different opinions as to who is best etc, but I think this is a very kind thing to publish. It is nice to see you judged people by their art and not by their personality – some talented people are the most tedious characters. 😛

  • Luke

    Brilliant list Josh, some really inspiring photography and characters! Good to see what other young photographers are getting up to and where it’s taking them.

  • Lanaya

    Inspiring! If you ever do an article like this again….
    I’m 17. 🙂

  • so happy to see a post of all my favourite photographers and with my best friend kitty as well! 🙂 so well deserved, i am always so inspired to know there is so much talent in my generation.

  • Very useful list, thanks! I’m going to take my time to browse through… 75% of these names are new to me.

    One of my favourite young togs (who probably made your long list) is Rockie Nolan. Worth checking out.

  • Ren

    Wow some of these are amazing! I’m astounded and a tiny bit jealous that these are all people around my age, but I’ve only just begun learning!

  • Pretty cool list. The younger photogs often don’t get acknowledged like the veterans. Glad you put this together. I found a couple of new photographers to check out!

  • Mary

    You should have a look at her work: She’s a very promising upcoming fashion photographer!

  • jasmine

    Disappointed that you’d left Rosie Hardy out!

  • Robert

    Great list of amazing photographers. BUT. yeah that had to be there didn’t it … but as far as I can see every single person on here is mainly a portrait photographer and that style of shooting people (especially the ones that know they are having a photo taken)turns me off. I personally don’t have a single picture of a person in my ‘best of’ shots and prefer to bring character into the things that did not have it. tl;dr Great list, not my style of photog.

    • Caleb

      Robert, I agree with your comment that all of these photographers seem to be primarily portrait photographers. I would love to see some more diversity. None the less, great collection of photographers which I am beginning to check out myself.

      Caleb Tenenbaum
      17 Year Old Photographer

  • Taylor

    Surprised not to see Luc Coiffait on here!
    From what I remember, didn’t he help Lara jade with her career?
    He is 20 or something and now shoots for GQ, vogue , Marie Claire etc!

  • Katy

    I’m completly agree with Rosy! David is a very good photographer but not the Best. And they miss other photographer in this list as Julie de Waroquier, Matthieu Soudet or JustineJ (Culdepoule)…

  • John

    For me this year’s young photographer #1 was Alex Stoddard young fresh and promising

  • Wonderful list! I love when people recognize the “young ones”.
    I’m 17 myself, and love photography.
    Thank you for sharing this list!


  • djordje

    Kitty Gallannaugh is personaly for me,the best photographer.She makes a photos with pasion,magic and love!!! Lare Jade is very good too.
    But I think that David is great photographer,but not the best!

  • Sergey

    I’m disappointed too… i didn’t see in this list such a great young and lovely photographer..gafaroff .. here is

  • Fleur

    Josh! you forgot about such a great photographers like Anastasia Volkova(, Nijat Gafarov , well known as Gafaroff( , also Alex Beadon … add them too..!

  • Stuart

    This is a great list of known and unknown talent.

    Of course there are plenty of other equally amazing photographers that should of appeared but from the selection but it does cover many different styles of photography. The problem is many people seem disappointed that certain photographers with similar styles did not appear, the author simply selected this favourites and well justified.

    Instead of people being jealous and complaining, we should celebrate the creativity of all young professionals.

    • Thank you Stuart.

  • I agree with Stuart!

  • Thank you for sharing ! I already knew a few of them (French ones), I always love to discover new great photographers. Very inspiring work.

  • Laurent

    Great article, really !
    I already knew some of them (like David Olkarny and Alexandra Sophie) but thanks to you, I discovered new inspiring people, thanks again.

    If I may, I suggest that you check the work of Michael Ferire ( : he’s a young photographer from Brussels and works sometimes with David Olkarny. His work deserves to be seen.
    Don’t hesitate to tell me what you thought about it.

  • Laurent

    (and, of course, everything in the blog is written in french, but it should be no problem to you) (I hope) 🙂

  • Suzy

    Why is so many people jealous? How ugly for them to be… I think this list is PERFECT! People who do not think so as well should not comment to be mean, we each entitled to opinions and Josh is too.

  • stephanie

    Ailera <3 <3 <3

    Wonderful list of very talented people!

  • Aurelie

    OMG you miss Anastasia Volkova !!!

  • Michelle

    Wow! This makes me so depressed to see so many young people excelling with their lives! When I was their age I was still out partying and figuring out what I wanted to do with my life and now I wish I had half as much drive as they obviously do! I particularly now admire the work of Karrah, Brooke & Floriane. 🙂

    • J rodriguez

      lol you post your own link? sorry but your work is far away to be this good…

      • lool yeah , this is a auto pub 🙂 and for my work , that your opinion ! 🙂

  • Love this! just missed Rockie Nolan

  • Lalalace

    He’s 25, self taught from Minneapolis. Quite edgy too with his Tattoos and Tentacles series.

  • layzieyez

    Music on photo websites are the worst. Couldn’t get the music to turn off on your favorite pick. From what I could see before the music chased me away, I was unconvinced. Lara Jade and Joey L top this list for me.

  • Nicole S Leaf

    Lots of beautiful photographers! <3 I LOVE Kitty And Lara Jade! But I think you all should check out these two photographers! They are my favorite 🙂

    Anne Marthe Widvey Photography

    Anastasia Volkova Photography

    They take amazing images! And Anne Marthe Widvey Photography, takes digital and film images!

    Best regains <3 Nicole

  • Lara Jade is an amazing photographer!

  • Melissa

    Why do you guys put emphasis on whether a photographer is self taught or not? I see no value in that to be honest. However they learned is equally great as long as the visual outcome is great, which some of these are. I only felt inspired by one or two of the listed photographers. Thanks for the list!

    • I think it helps most people who haven’t had schooling to see that they don’t necessarily need it to get to this standard.

  • For still life I think you need to look into rikki Snyder

  • Denise D

    Josh ~ thanks for putting together this list of amazing photogs!! I love seeing other’s art. And for those of you that dont’t like his list, make your own. We can’t be all and do all for all people.

    • Thanks Denise, can I ask, where were you linked to here from? I’m trying to find who’s sharing it, but I’m stumped.

  • Jenna

    This is great, thanks for posting it! I am a huge fan of Zhang Jingna’s so it’s good to see her included here. Rockie Nolan’s portrait work is also quite fantastic, if you haven’t seen it you ought to!

  • Intan Syu

    Nice to see new faces that i havent heard of yet. More inspiration! Btw, you should check out
    she’s an awesome fashion photographer. my fave!:D

    • Jenna

      Wow, I really like her photos as well!

  • Josh made it quite clear the ranking was in his opinion… Stop having a go about it and having a go at number one and just enjoy the awesomeness of all the talent on here… It’s wonderful to see and I think some of you are missing the point totally!
    Good on you Josh for doing this. It’s lovely to see so many young and extremely talented newbies…

  • This photography is great, wish there was more nature shots. Consider checking out His style is really unique.

  • Saskia Van Der Lingen

    I was a fashion editor years ago, starting at U.S Vogue (as an assistant to Polly Mellen), then went on to be fashion editor at Details when it was an underground magazine and then was the fashion editor in chief of “Taxi” magazine in the 80’s. I will be in NYC on May 3rd for six days, putting together an online magazine. I have many great former editors involved. We are getting together as group to get it up and running. Looking for young Fashion and feature photographers with a distinctive, innovative eye. Young, talented writers. Please contact me.
    Many thanks,

  • Wow niche share friend
    this photographer pro



  • Cool article, I know most of the photographers! Good work

  • Paola

    You missed the talented Rosie Hardy!!!!

  • i love all of them. great work and i love looking at there work and getting ideas from them for my own work.
    love finding other young photographers out there.

  • Thats Nice… I would love to connect with everyone…

  • My son name is Eliyata Daniel.He start photographing at the age of two,know he is a four years old African photographer.He use Nikon D80 professional camera.Hewant to upload his photos on your website.You can read more about him on Google “Eliyata Daniel ” on YouTube “Youngest Ethiopian Photographer and his website
    Please comment him and support him

  • sandrinehg
  • Rama

    This is a great list especially when it comes to the conceptual/portrait genres. I do second the opinion above that seeing a list the doesn’t only take into consideration shooting people would be nice. It seems like the photographers that shoot people get the most clout in any of these fine art discussions but very little credence is given to photographers that make something other than a person as the main subject. This is not a condemnation of your article, in fact I think the people that you have mentioned are really pushing the bar as young photographers and this list is well put together.

  • Good pictures taken by photographers!