30 Photos That Inspired Me to Learn Photography

Inspiration February 18, 2008

Being a graphic designer has made me fall in love with all things creative, including photography. In a previous article I mentioned the importance of building a strong foundation in one career first, such as graphic design and then branching out into other skills sets. One important area I have started to branch out into is photography. I spend a lot of time looking at photography portfolios and below you will find some of my favorite photos.

I have taken 3 samples from each of the 10 photographers so you can get a better feel for their personal style. I would highly recommend picking up some photography lessons and Photoshop training, because being able to shoot your own design projects will really help bring them to life and can give your portfolio a razor sharp edge. Being able to say you designed something and took the great photograph of it will def give you bonus points in an interview. Plus photography is just damn fun and there is something really special about capturing that perfect shot.

Ten Truly Inspiring Photographers

Cosmin Bumbut




Leigh Perry




Jan von Holleben




Lina Scheynius




Antony Chambers




Aneta Kowalczyk




Michael Kenna




Rodney Smith




Todd Hido



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Cadence is You The Designer's senior blogger, and the most jack-of-all-trades of the staff. She's always trying out something different every day, some of which fuels her posts here on the blog. Let her know if you want us to post more about your favorite topic - she might know more than a thing or two about it!

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  • http://silvermoonmyst1.bravejournal.com Lina

    Wow, there are some beautiful photographs there.

  • http://www.trulyace.com/blog Amanda Vlahakis

    I absolutely love the work of Rodney Smith! What stunning photography, thanks for showing us these :)

    I rarely look at photography for some reason, yet when someone brings great photography to my attention I love it.

  • http://justcreativedesign.com Jacob Cass

    Jan von Holleben has some very original work. Thanks for the great photos… what do you think about Annie Leibovitz? She was recently in Sydney shooting Nicole Kidman. I did a bit of study on her while at Uni, a great photographer!

  • http://www.yoopersteez.com/blog/?comment bugsy

    great blog topic! good post! Well done.

    all the best.

  • http://www.uber.com/aaronzwain Aaron

    Stunning. Wonderful collection.

  • Eugene

    nice HDRs!

  • http://www.vkeong.com vkeong

    Looking at nicely taken photographs does inspire one to pick up the camera :)

  • Ram

    Truly great pics!!

    Any suggestions about where to take reasonably-priced evening/weekend photography classes ? or am I asking for too much?

  • http://www.spiffylinks.com Dave Nofmeister

    Wow, beautiful pictures. I’m very impressed with Rodney Smith’s pic’s particularly.

  • http://www.rotatecanvas.com Mark

    Nice.. good for my inspiration. Excellent..

  • Kelly

    You may like the work of Nan Goldin. Check her out.

  • http://www.thedigitalnegative.com Rob

    I don’t believe any of those images are HDR’s.

  • Sally

    Title drew me in, some stunning photos. Ironically I am moving back to photography after working teaching photoshop. Miss the timelessness of it all. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • http://www.charlesyarbrough.com Chaz

    I see what you mean, my girlfriend is a inspiring photographer and I had to show her these.

  • http://www.shanegodfrey.com/blog Shane Godfrey

    I am really interested in the work of Jan von Holleben. I liked the way he plays with the ground as a scene. It is refreshing though most of the ideas are sort of trivial and heavy handed. And those minimalist landscapes (Michael Kenna) are pretty interesting too. I had never seen those before.

  • http://www.dcurrie.com David

    Here are some other truely inspirational photos…


  • http://progylka.com.ua Aleksander


  • Praveen Vijayanq

    Awesome photos

  • http://www.netage.co.za Samantha – Website Marketing Newbie

    WOW .. completely blown away. Made the end of my day! Absolutely beautiful! Thank you ….

  • Unique G.

    Great post! I’m really inspired by the photos of Michael Kenna it has a solemn tone to them; the kind of photos that make you want to amplify the focus on the simplicity of life. Great blog.. keep up the good work.

  • http://www.ackleymedia.com Lukas L.

    Wow, now you inspired me to get back into photography.

    Ah, if I only had more time on my hands.

    I especially love the first one… you can feel the action and drama in the photo.

    Very nice :)

  • Gino

    Thanks everyone I’m glad you enjoyed these photos as much as I did!

    Jacob – Yes Annie Leibovitz has some great work!

    Ram – For class it will really depend on where you live, I would contact the local schools or for instance my town has an art workshop place where you go go to take classes.

    Since I got such a great response form this post I will be doing another one in the near future.

  • http://amolife.com Happy

    Amazing photos! They really inspire!
    I like the Aneta Kowalczyk works (I’ve seen them before – just gorgeous!) and Rodney Smith as well is very-very good!
    But all of them are very-very-very good!!!!
    Thank you:)

  • Robert


  • http://tinman.ie rob

    wow. savage photos. the forest in snow gave me goose pimples…

  • http://www.netage.co.za Jason Marsh – Website designer

    Really really nice, I love the first one, can actually feel her fire.. enought to make me consider going for a touch-up course.

  • Pablo F.P


  • http://www.irdesignworks.com Inverted Reality Designworks

    Decent post. Some of these were really, really cool. Some were just average, and a couple werent that great. But photography is very interesting to me, so any good pictures taken with a different eye is inspirational.

  • David Mills

    That top photo didn’t inspire me to learn photography (I already has some handle, if an imperfect handle, on that). That top photo inspired me to respect the opposite, superior gender: women.

  • http://www.plainpixel.com Michael

    Truly inspirating!

  • Adam Smith

    Lina Scheynius’s Pictures are fantastic… a real sense of being there and these pictures are what your seeing, I will be looking her up on the web to see more of this work!

  • http://abhisek.myopenid.com Abhisek

    Awesome pics! Really inspiring

  • http://www.nazeee.com Nazeeh

    the images are amazing and truly inspiring
    more noticeably Jan von Holleben & Michael Kenna

  • http://www.subcorpus.net/blog/ subcorpus

    really inspiring …
    am gonna go out now and try that superhero on the ground pic …
    amazing …

  • http://getawallpaper.com/ wallpaper boy

    wow.. I love them all!

  • http://www.farmboyfinearts.com farmboy tim

    very impresive.

  • dK

    Some really great pics – but some below average in my opinion. Cant say Todd Hido is hitting the spot for me.

  • http://www.brandsofhandbag.com sylph

    very inspiring photos….

  • JD

    going to have to agree with dK.

  • Andrew

    OMG. their beauty is resounding

  • http://www.maineviews.com joe

    It’s good to see you included my favorite photographer Rodney Smith. I like his style because he mostly uses natural lighting.

  • http://the-daily-image.blogspot.com Divaliscious

    as a pro photographer – I love some of these – really great – excellent eye you got there for this collection!

  • http://viaterra.net Denis

    great collection, great inspiration, there’s a lot of feelings in those images.

  • shailendra(arc)

    WOW! so fantastic photos ………
    i real like them & the great thinking behind them is nice …………

  • http://eyeforindia.blogspot.com Eye For India

    Lovely set of inspiring pics. Some of them which I have seen and continue to surprise me with their simplicity and beauty. Thank you for sharing :)


  • http://sirjorge.com/blogx sir jorge

    Those are indeed some of the most amazing photos I’ve seen.

  • http://www.superzero21.wordpress.com KarmaKloth

    Hey! This is trully a cool collection. In Von Holleben photograph, I can really see the creative flows… Bravo!

  • Jade

    all so inspirational:)

  • Novich

    Increíbles, fantásticas, sin palabras!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.philippe-roy.com Philippe Roy

    Quite a nice selection of images. I especially like Jan von Holleben’s series of flying kids, certainly puts a smile on my face. I love photography and the world of possibilities… it’s endless.

    I’m especially surprised/happy to see none of the usual suspects, e.g. Newton, Lachapelle, Adams,… it’s really refreshing.

  • James

    I like the ones of the super man and the tarzan by Lina Scheynius

  • http://www.ytb.com/KATNET Cabrera

    I just started dabbing into photography myself. You have some impressive shots. Maybe I’ll post some of my own, and tell me what you think.

  • The Dark Angel

    Some beautiful stuff there, i am impressed. I young, a teenager, anybody know a good place to start photography

  • Michael Hastie

    This is the second time I stumbled upon your site. Although the examples of your favorite photographs, clearly show your own particular taste in Photography/Graphic design, a number of the images were excellent examples of ambient light-portraiture….I would like to to a group portrait in a similar fashion to what Lina Scheynius is doing with the kids.. And Anita, Todd and Rodney are on my Wanna-be-like-them list..

    Thanks for pushing my buttons!!

  • http://google nativepride4ever

    totaly awsome pics im going to get my camera from ex and take some my self

  • Andrew

    I dont know what to say! there all absolutly amazing! but my favourate by far is the picture at the top with the married couple :)

  • http://the-waiting-line.blogspot.com wren

    Truly inspired and lovely photographs!

  • Oldtimer Ex-pro-photographer

    I enjoyed this collection. Except, however, the bmw couple photo is a perfect example of over-the-top *contrived* photography, IMO. On a social note, if the gender positions were reversed (the man were on top), what would everyones thoughts be then? Would you think it were a great, or lovely, or an amazing photograph? Violence is the real pornography in my book. That picture, imo of course, has no place in this otherwise great collection.

  • Jimmy Domingo

    There are photographs and there are photographs… but what are the stories?

  • Kristian

    Great photos – thanks for the introduction to these amazing photographers. Jan Von H is my fave!

  • http://www.photographycourse.net photo lessons

    Love the photos! Noticed a free photography courses online at http://www.photographycourse.net you may be interested in.

  • Gregorythe Greatest

    The photos gave me pause,and the world came to a stop. then my daughter walked in and it lurched forward again , Thanks alot Holly ! Glad I didn’t have a potential lover over after all.

  • http://www.iokee.com Corporate Events Photography

    Some great pieces of work. Its always refreshing to come across such work and a good photo is judged by the thought process it provokes. Most of these made me pause and think. They draw the viewer into the image and create an instant atmosphere.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.slimeface.com Slimeface

    Nice looking group of images!!


  • Del Arlon

    Leigh Perry’ stuff is somewhat boring although I can see what he’s shooting for. No pun intended. Same for Todd Hido but his third pic of the barren room is great.

    Cosmin Bumbut’s (what a name!) steamy shower shot is cool and erotic without showing anything!

    Michael Kenna’s pics are breath taking.

  • prateek

    one of the best photographic work which i had never seen in my life….the whole pictures contains a great sense of creativity …….

  • http://www.cdiabu.com/photography.php Photography Classes

    That’s all it takes. A few amazing photos to get you inspired. Same happened for me. I’m currently enrolled at Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts. Taking a two year photo course all because inspiration hit me in much the same way.

  • mariappan


  • http://gmail gaurav

    simply grete

  • Sergio

    Some truly inspiring images there. I recently started back into photography too after seeing this guys work on flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sandmania

  • Priya

    Breathtaking inspirational imagery.

  • http://coreyward.wordpress.com Corey

    Quite a nice lineup of photos you’ve collected there! Inspirational indeed!

  • http://constructionblog.org Melv

    great composition

  • http://Nowebsite.com Dylan

    Beautiful pictures, extremely inspiring. I was just stuck in between the two classes I was going to take this semester, Photography, or Wood shop. I decided I’d take Photography. Thanks. Favoring this page.



  • YouTheDesigner Fan

    Great photos, they are very inspiring!

  • rajesh

    it is very nice its realy amazing that all very use full to me

  • Varun Birthire

    Really beautiful pics………….some r stunning 1

  • jeffjenn

    where are the explanations for *why* these pictures inspired you? All I saw was 30 pictures on this page!