With its user base hovering around the 100 million users mark, Instagram has officially established itself among the social network behemoths. Some people like to poke fun at this visual platform, arguing that it lulls people into believing they’re this generation’s Annie Liebovitz, taking photos of monotonous things like Starbucks cups, slapping a filter like Valencia on them and calling it artistic.
But taking beautiful photos on Instagram truly is an art form. Those who do it well think like a photographer, aiming for straight horizon lines, interesting angles, filters that really make the colors pop and more.
The accounts listed below are some of my favorites on the app for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the user leads a pretty glamorous life, and I enjoy living vicariously through him or her. Or maybe they’re just a solid photographer who inspires me with his or her skills. Either way, these streams are like a visual party that everyone wants to attend.
Profile: twitter: @coachblkrwomen. www.coach.com
Number of followers: 6,601
What she shares: This is the official Instagram account of the Coach Women’s Legacy store on Bleecker Street in the heart of NYC’s Greenwich Village. While it would be easy for them to clog their feed with photos of their (gorgeous) purses and satchels, the narrative here is told from the point of view of one of their employees as she wanders through the West Village, dines at fabulous restaurants and enjoys outings in the park with her loveable sidekick, Jojo. If you didn’t want to live in New York before, you will after browsing through a few of these ‘grams.
Number of followers: 98,000
What she shares: This photo stream will give you a toothache. Superstar blogger Naomi Davis (aka Taza) chronicles her life with her handsome hubby and two children, who could easily grace the cover of Parents magazine (seriously model material). Taza shares daily updates of their new playground (NYC), the delicious food they’re eating and the impeccable outfits each member of the family is wearing. She also just so happens to be a talented photographer who captures slices of life in the most whimsical way possible.
Number of followers: 1.4 million
What she shares: Most famous for her role on MTV’s “Laguna Beach” and “The Hills,” Lauren Conrad is a clothing designer and best-selling author. I’ve enjoyed keeping tabs on this seemingly down-to-earth gal as she transitioned from TV personality to entrepreneur, sharing photos from her everyday life, including photo shoots, her dogs Chloe and Fitz, and her travels around the world. It’s almost like you get to be her BFFL, only you really don’t know her and you’re just peeking in in a really voyeuristic way.
Profile: Brooklyn, NY. www.laurenfarmer.com
Number of followers: 1,289
What she shares: I’m not sure how I originally stumbled upon this Aussie-born lady’s feed, but what I do know is that she lives in Brooklyn now and takes really amazing photos. From shoots with celebs like Emmy Rossum and Nick Offerman, to shots from 30,000 feet in the air, she always keeps us guessing and makes you want to drop what you’re doing and go explore a new city. Lauren also runs a new company called D8ABLE, which helps people maximize the success of their online dating efforts by improving their personal brands.
Profile: Quick and curious and playful and strong. Follow us for a glimpse into the world of Kate Spade New York. www.katespade.com
Number of followers: 276,000
What they share: Those who know me know that I’m not quiet about my love for Kate Spade New York. It went from being a brand that wasn’t on my radar 3 years ago, to one that inspires and excites me, and they translate their brand seamlessly to Instagram. From behind-the-scenes views of their photo shoots with Brad Goreski, to pics of Veuve Clicquot happy hours, glamorous parties and delectable desserts, this account is sure to satisfy all of your girly needs. Pop, fizz, clink, indeed.
Number of followers: 45,000
What she shares: This account is probably one of the most visually stimulating ones that I follow. It’s very Taylor Swift, with flowers, feminine blouses, crafts and fabrics dominating the stream. Emilie often uses a white or near-white background as the canvas, allowing the focal point of the photo to really pop. A recent message from a fan, posted on her blog, reads: “Your photography inspires me almost more than anything else! Love, love, love everything about it.”
Profile: My name is Kimberly and I am a graphic designer, fashion blogger, and cupcake enthusiast. www.eatsleepwear.com
Number of followers: 20,000
What she shares: Kimberly Pesch’s stream is all about fashion and fierceness. According to her website, she’s passionate about modern clean designs, “both on the computer and in her closet.” You can expect a lot of #fromwhereistand photos, featuring the sky-high heels or Chucks she happens to be wearing that day, as well as beauty shots of the places her blogging takes her, VIP events and the occasional cute pup or two. Only serious fashionistas need apply.
Profile: Quirky. Type A. Workaholic. Live your dreams | New York City. www.thecollegeprepster.com
Number of followers: 8,738
What she shares: Carly Heitlinger is a preppy girl after my own heart. A recent Georgetown University graduate, she truly has cornered the market on all things prep in her blog, The College Prepster. What can you expect from her visually? Pearls, gingham, work stations, office supplies, selfies in front of her mirror, girly fabric samples and more. And with budding relationships with folks like Kate Spade New York and TV personality-turned-fashion blogger Courtney Kerr, she is certainly one to watch.
Number of followers: 4,469
What he shares: Anthony is the only guy on my list, but certainly finds himself near the top of it with his mad photography skills. Perhaps it’s the journalist in me that’s drawn to his incredible photos of events like Hurricane Sandy and the presidential race, but he knows how to take a photo that makes you say, “Whoa.” In addition, he takes behind-the-scenes photos of NBC events (sometimes with celebrities), mesmerizing photos of New York City, fall foliage and his daily adventures.
Number of followers: 509,000
What she shares: It’s hard to go wrong with an Instagram handle like that, no? As her profile indicates, Liz Eswein’s feed is filled with more New York City goodness than you can shake a stick at. And she’s so passionate about Instagram, that she, along with Brian DiFeo and Anthony Danielle, started a company called The Mobile Media Labs, which helps brands like Puma, T-Mobile and W Hotels NYC tell stories and gain exposure through this platform. The stars of her most recent photos include the Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, the West Village, Central Park and the New York Stock Exchange.
These are a few of my favorite things. Which accounts would you add to the list?
Bio: Erica Moss is the community manager for Georgetown University’s online masters in nursing programs, offering one of the nation’s leading family nurse practitioner programs. She also enjoys blogging, TV, pop culture and tweeting @ericajmoss.