When we think of Instagram, most of us probably think of heavily processed photos of food and pets. But with millions of users, Instagram has become so much more. The photo-sharing platform is also home to some of the most talented photographers in the world today, including those who focus on the natural world. We've looked through our favorite feeds and selected some of the best so you can get your daily fix of Earth's most beautiful inhabitants. This list is by no means exhaustive, so if you have favorite outdoor photography folks you follow on Instagram, please let us know about them in the comments!
Now, let's quickly address that Instagram-old debate of whether or not it's "cheating" to post photos taken with high-end cameras compared to smartphones. In this scenario, I'm taking the stance that it doesn't matter what camera was used to get the shot, we just want to see awesome wildlife photographs! So this list includes everyone from amateurs with an eye for nature scenes and landscape, to nonprofits with great images of the animals they protect, to some of the best wildlife photographers from National Geographic. Some use their iPhones, some don't. All are amazing.
So, without further ado:
Featuring some incredible marine wildlife photography, this feed will get you excited not only about the species that depend on our oceans but also about conservation. With each image, this feed knits together the what and the why of ocean conservation.
Using both a DSLR camera and her iPhone, Birkeland brings us gorgeous images of wildlife and landscapes. Her winter photos are just amazing.
This photographer has a knack for bringing the small details, the little things we too often overlook, back to center stage. If you love macro photography, you'll enjoy this feed.
Variety is the spice of life — and you certainly get it on Mason's stream. You'll gain an appreciation for the variety and beauty of familiar backyard birds, and you never know when other cute critters will pop up as well.
The best landscape photos are those that make you feel like you're there, like you can sink into them and stare for hours. Sulik offer that in spades. Armchair travel doesn't get much better than this.
If you ever start to forget why conservation is important, a quick glance through NWF's stream will give you an inspiring reminder. Filled with amazing animal photos, you'll get recharged and excited about helping planet Earth!
Yep, you really can get some of the best photos from National Geographic photographers right on your phone. Laman brings us some incredible work through his Instagram feed, and we love it!
Love big cats? Then you want to start following this feed as fast as you can. An icon of National Geographic wildlife photography, Nichols posts some of his best images of lions along with other amazingness.
Plants, animals, macro and even cute cats. Can you want for anything more?
If you love the wildlife of Africa, you'll want to follow this London-based photographer. Some of the most beautiful African wildlife photos on Instagram can be found on this page.
Rural, rustic, dreamy ... this Instagram feed will make you want to get outside and go on a hike at dawn just to witness the world as Little sees it.
One of the most prominent ocean conservation photographers in the world is on Instagram, which makes us all very, very happy. See the underwater world like you've never seen it before.
The creator of the BeetleCam and BeetleCopter brings us animal awesomeness on Instagram. With great photos from unique angles, you won't ever get bored with Burrard-Lucas' stream.
"I just like it outdoors." And we're glad for that! A constant flow of landscapes and outdoor scenes can be had from this gorgeous feed.
One of the best in the business is Steve Winter, and you don't have to wait for the next issue of National Geographic to get his images of big cats. Tigers, FTW!
You never know what you're going to get from Richards' stream: animals, adventure, travel — it's all there.
Outdoor adventure is the subject of choice for Chin, a National Geographic photographer. Rock climbing, sailing, hiking and gorgeous scenes of the planet's landscape can be had on this stream.
Protecting what we love most, we heart USFWS. We also heart their Instagram stream.
So much landscape goodness here. And every shot is taken with a smartphone.
An institution in conservation photography, Sartore is the driving force behind the Photo Ark project, which hopes to document every endangered species before it disappears. These portraits plus more beautiful work can be found on Sartore's stream.
Russ has changed how we think about iPhoneography, especially for documenting the outdoors. We really love his work and follow along with his rambling travels through his beautiful photos.
Beautiful, thoughtful, and even meditative, we love Colangelo's stream and look forward to new posts with bated breath.
A pilot and photographer, Rise brings us amazing landscapes. You just don't want to miss this stream. Seriously.
All the best of the tiny world is found here: insects, spiders, and crawly things made beautiful and intriguing by Araujo.
One of the best conservation photographers in the world, Nicklen brings his compelling images to Instagram so you don't have to miss a single scene — so long as you have your phone with you.
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