We combed. We compared. We critiqued. And we came up with this year's 24 Best Travel Photographers.
The latest installment of our 24 Best series highlights professional travel photographers from around the world, ranging in style, subject, process, perspective, and background. Some specialize in portraiture. Others scale skyscrapers for stunning points of view. Some stay put and work with communities. Others travel the world collecting memories. Pretty much all of them simply make us wonder, "HOW did they take that shot?"
Though their methods and motives differ, what they're doing is one and the same. Whether they're raising social awareness in marginalized communities in South Africa or freezing life during golden hour at the world's dreamiest destinations, they're telling stories. And damn fine ones at that.
We pulled this list together not only to spotlight some of the best talent in travel photography, but also to showcase our world through a different lens, both literally and figuratively. If these stories inspire you, perhaps they'll help you better tell your own.
What we love:Through intimate scenes and extreme close-up portraits, the Hawaiian photographer and filmmaker introduces us to the people from hard-to-reach places like Mali, Seeta, Uganda, and India.
What we love:With her architecture background and her Nikon D810 (or iPhone), the dense urban jungle that is Hong Kong becomes Liu's playground. From stunning night market shots to a pick-up basketball game at sunrise, Liu manages to bring a sense of stillness to the frenzied city.
What we love: It’s no surprise that an award-winning photographer from the Black Mountains of Wales shoots stunning and energetic portraits of the great outdoors. But what caught our attention was his “72 Hours In…” series, a collection of photo stories that really highlights his range.
What we love: Kham has a knack for candid travel photography — big smiles, bright colors, brilliant points of view. He sees Paris like a local, capturing the everyday with a new perspective. And his Instagram feed is packed with bold, beautiful photos from his hometown and his travels.
What we love: Her colors hit us first — light blues from Morocco, fiery reds from India, bold golds from temples in Thailand. A close second were the expressions she captures, especially from her adventures in Pushkar, Burma, and Egypt.
What we love: Li interprets her hometown of Hong Kong from exciting points of view — abandoned spaces, crowded streets, subway tunnels, and on top of skyscrapers. Her love for symmetry and clarity carry over into her travel photography, and even to her portraiture of local personalities.
What we love: Repponen shoots some of the world’s most popular destinations and still keeps us on the edge of our seat. We love the mood of his “India 35” series, and we’re especially impressed with his photos of NYC — he managed to capture the creepiness of Times Square.
What we love: For a few years now, the Tiny Atlas Quarterly founder has been impressing us with her curation skills on the indie magazine's Instagram feed, but even more impressive are her own inspiring images of the world's most beautiful landscapes.
What we love: Abby captures stunning portraits and scenes of every day life around the world. From Europe to Africa to Central America, each image by Ross tells a story with a bit of mystery and a lot of reality.
What we love: Hibri puts a spin on analog photography, capturing seemingly mundane subjects everywhere from Yemen to China to Istanbul. Everything feels personal in her work to create intimate, realistic images with a slightly nostalgic vibe.
What we love: There are few words to describe the work Harris creates: definitely hyper-real, maybe ironic, museum-quality. Some pieces seem to channel Diane Arbus or Cindy Sherman — with a global twist.
Last seen: Finding European-themed places in America and American-themed places in Europe for her photo series “EUSA.”
What we love: The Burma-based documentary photographer is a Getty Reportage emerging talent, and it shows. DeCicca manages to get incredible access to people and creates profound, sometimes heartbreaking images (see her Letpadaung Copper Mine series). Hard-hitting photojournalism, but quite intimate.
What we love: The Finnish photographer has a soft yet striking style that takes on a painterly quality in the misty northern reaches of Finland and the national parks of Albania. Moody portraits feel like instant short stories — and could pass for high-fashion stills.
What we love: Gillett's body of work that is dark brooding in the best way possible. He has a discerning eye for urban scenes with unique perspectives, lighting, and grit. And his ongoing NYC series has a timelessness that makes us fall in love with the place again and again.
What we love: Vancouver-based Daroo treats the serene landscapes in Montana with the same loving eye that captures bathers in the Ganges in India. There is a softness in color, and a calmness in tone that renders moments as small gifts to his viewers.
What we love: Passarini’s passion for indigenous people and tribes brings light to lost cultures and traditions. Some can be hard to see, but important for us to be aware of, like the foot-binding custom that started in 11th-century Imperial China, or the facial tattoos and markings of the Konyak tribe in Nagaland, North India.
What we love: It's almost too good to be true — the serendipitous moments unearthed by Verzbolovskis' eye, and the way she invites viewers behind the scenes. Whether it's a conversations between Bedouins in Jordan or kids horsing around in Colón, it's clear that we're all flies on the wall.
What we love: Through his pastel-colored lens, the Singaporean photographer captures loneliness, longing, and the stillness of an urban city. Case in point: He managed to pause time even in the wildly busy Shibuya crossing in Tokyo.
What we love: The creative director of the travel and lifestyle magazine Cereal roots us in an early-morning dream, a world of soft skies, muted colors, crisp landscapes, and intimate, uncluttered details. His photos strike the perfect balance between subject and negative space, inviting us to populate the rest with our own vibrant imaginations.
What we love: Soulful images of humans at work — young girls washing laundry in the ocean, a man diving for fish in the sea, children at school, a woman transporting fruit on her head — Horinkova has a knack for capturing the everyday.