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Find Cinematic Inspiration with These Visionary Photographers

Lewis McGregor

Cinematographers can find inspiration in many different media. Explore the work of these dynamic photographers for fresh ideas to apply to your own work.

Cover image via Shutterstock.

Filmmakers have several tools we can rely to evoke emotions from our audiences: music, movement, dialogue, and many others. The photographer, on the other hand, has only one. Of course, photographers can manipulate their images just like film with color, light, exposure, and other visual components. But that photograph is a single, static frame, forever suspended in one moment — yet it can evoke so much.

Thanks to social media sharing sites such as Instagram, Flickr, and even Facebook. There’s no shortage of inspirational photographers who can help you analyze composition, light, and color to see how you can make every shot more compelling.

(The following photographs have been cropped for website optimization and often do not represent the full image. To see the full photograph, and the body of work from each photographer, please visit their linked portfolios.)

Liam Wong

Liam Wong is an art director for Ubisoft. He only began in photography in late 2015, early 2016. Nonetheless, his vibrant style has earned him quite the following on Instagram. Adobe and several other big creative companies have also featured his work. His cityscape photography is certainly reminiscent of neon noir films like Blade Runner. Wong’s work showcases how you can work with only city light in a nocturnal environment.

Victor Habchy

Victor Habchy is a photographer and director from Paris, France. He is particularly well known for his wonderfully absurd annual photo set of Burning Man. Burning Man itself is an event that celebrates the art of the surreal, and Habchy certainly captures that with his wonderful, sometimes Dali-esque compositions. It’s easy to mistake one of his photographs as a still from a Mad Max film.

While there are plenty of photographers who attend the festival, Victor Habchy can create a unique sense of isolation (or freedom) in his compositions, despite a festival attendance of well over 60,000 people. His work is a great study for apocalyptic projects and character isolation.

Brice Portolano

Brice Portolano is another photographer from Paris, France, and at the age of 25, he’s already racked up an impressive clientele: Canon France, Air France, National Geographic Traveler, Billabong, and more. In Brice’s work, you can see that he understands the sun and how to work with it to get beautiful photographs. Even simplest composition features a cinematic quality. If you want to evoke a natural look in your cinematography, I recommend following Brice.

Steffen Egly

Steffen is a photographer from Germany who focuses on outdoor and landscape photography. He has a client list that boasts brands such as Adidas. While Steffen’s portfolio mainly consists of mountainous landscapes, the way he composes these shots is distinctive. Even with human subjects in the shot, it’s looks as if the mountains are the characters themselves.  I recommend following Steffan if you want to see how you can make a character out of a location.

Emmanuel Lubezki

Emmanuel Lubezki is a bonus mention — he’s one of the most popular cinematographers of our time. However, he’s also a wonderful photographer. According to his interview in DPReview, he’s a currently using the Nikon D810. His landscape photography echoes his visual style in the cinema. Cinematographers can draw inspiration from Lubezki’s work by realizing how skills in one art form may translate to another.

These are just a handful of the photographers I follow online. There are, of course, thousands upon thousands of photographers online, and plenty feature an extraordinary body of work. If you have any favorites and think their style could translate into cinema, let us know in the comments.

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