The following non-exhaustive list is a compilation of individuals that have influenced my style of photography and post processing to date. Most of these individuals have their own websites, Facebook pages, or other sites such as 500px, Tumblr, and YouTube. You will probably not have any trouble finding these individuals online.
The top of my personal favorites list is probably Evan Sharboneau – a.k.a. the Photo Extremist. Forget family portraits and cute kid pictures, this photographer is about making people stop and ask “how in the hell did he do that?” He is probably the most creative photographer I follow (and at such a young age). From what I gather, he began his passion for photography while in high school. He has some ‘how-to’ videos as well as some ‘best-of’ compilations. If you like his work, I can personally vouch for both his ‘Trick Photography and Special Effects’ and ‘Photography Masterclass’ series. In addition to detailed pdf files, you also get several hours of video tutorials. Although I think he is an accomplished general photographer, I specifically follow him for his more creative and outlandish ideas.
For learning the basics of using a camera and when and how to use certain settings, I find Mike Browne the easiest to follow. Aside from his entertaining accent, I love how he explains concepts in very simple terms and gets right to the point. He has several videos on a vast array of techniques and also has recurring FAQ videos that I enjoy as well. If you’re new to photography and want to find your way around your camera, find his basic videos and start from there. You won’t regret it. He also does some photographic equipment reviews that are helpful as well.
One of the few photographers I watch almost immediately when he releases new material is Gavin Hoey. Another photographer from across the pond, Gavin Hoey works with Adorama TV and frequently produces short videos on both composition and post processing techniques. What I like the most about his work is he explains why he makes certain adjustments. The simplicity of his ideas combined with the minimal post processing adjustments makes you feel like you can replicate his work relatively easily. The only downside to his Adorama videos are the brief commercial interruptions for photography equipment. He also often provides his own Photoshop brushes free to download from his site for non-commercial use.
Photography is a universal language. How do I know this? One of my favorite photographers for unique modeling ideas is Alexander Heinrichs, whom I assume speaks German. I do not speak a lick of German but I have used his work for inspiration on more than one occasion. Alexander Heinrichs combines wildly creative shoots with gorgeous models creating images that are incredibly visually stunning. He has several ‘behind-the-scene’ videos of his work. In addition, he describes the shoot in detail at the beginning of each video. I only know because I have discovered I can translate his videos with an app on my smartphone. You need daring models if you want to try your hand at emulating his work. Fortunately, I have found several models that are more than willing to help me out with crazy ideas.
For astrophotography, I find Forrest Tanaka my favorite. He actually does amazing work across all types of photography, but I get the most from his videos about capturing objects in the night sky, especially with telescopes. He also walks through the post processing as well. He covers everything from selection of telescopes, to attaching your camera, to tracking objects in the sky. If you have any desire to try some serious astrophotography, start here. Be warned however, astrophotography using a telescope can become very costly depending on your setup. Unlike most other types of photography, astrophotography depends a lot on factors such as light pollution, the weather, cloud cover, and the fullness of the moon. You can be all ready to capture a unique event, like an eclipse, only to be thwarted by stormy weather.
There are two sources I consider my ‘go-to’ for Photoshop help and explanations. The first is Aaron Nace from Phlearn.com. He makes Photoshop look easy! He explains what to do and how to do it. He is the reason I tried using a pen tablet for retouching photos. After a steep learning curve of a couple of months, I cannot imagine using Photoshop with anything other than a pen tablet. What I like most about Phlearn is they will show you multiple ways to achieve a desired outcome and which method works best. I routinely visit Phlearn when I have a Photoshop issue that I cannot figure out on my own.
The other Photoshop source is Marty Geller from Blue Lightning TV. I am convinced this guy created Photoshop and is just parading as an avid user. I have never found any other source that is so versed at using Photoshop. Not only does he walk you through how to use Photoshop to edit images, he also is incredibly versed at the use of text in Photoshop which I think gets overlooked by other photographers. The only downside to Blue Lightning TV is that he routinely refers to A LOT of keyboard shortcuts in explaining how to do things. Not being as well versed in these shortcuts, I find myself stopping the videos often just to keep pace with the tutorials. However, don't let this stop you. The results are nothing short of amazing.
These are by no means the only sources I go to for photography help and inspiration. I also follow Froknowsphoto, Snapchick, The Strobist, Houa Vang, the House of Immaginare, and local favorite Dave Dugdale just to name a few. In all honesty, my inspiration comes from almost everyone and everything. From the most simple and unassuming moments to the moments created on purpose, there is beauty!
Keep the interesting parts of life in focus.