The Top 10 Influencers of Wildlife Photography

Nature-lovers, outdoor-brands, photo-enthusiasts, and adventurers pay attention! We analyzed a new niche. Check out our top 10 influencers of wildlife photography worldwide based on the number of followers and filtered by the usage of #wildlife and #wild.

So let’s see how animalistic Instagram gets with these top 10 Influencers. You will find some interesting insights by this comparison of influencers who are part of the same niche.

And if you aren’t curious about the data you can at least get an inspirational and entertaining infusion.

1 Paul Nicklen (3,7m)

Canada is the country with some of the most stunning beauty sight. No wonder the no. 1 of our top 10 influencers calls this country his home. Paul is a photographer (mainly contributing to National Geographic), a filmmaker, co-founder of sea Legacy and a marine biologist – just a true Canadian nature lover.

Take a look at his steady and strong follower growth throughout the last year. The green bars display his earned media value, meaning that he is mentioned by other accounts quite frequently.


2 Joel Sartore (1m)

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Today is World Wildlife Conservation Day, a time to honor and protect all of the incredible creatures that continue to dwindle away during the extinction crisis. Though it’s easy to be moved by many of our favorite species like this Sumatran tiger or Western lowland gorilla, it’s important to remember that even some of the smallest of species are also on the verge of extinction, and their survival is essential in order to maintain balance in their ecosystems. For example, animals like this Choctawhatchee beach mouse (swipe to see) are the critical link between plants and carnivores in their environments, but they are endangered due to ongoing development of their homes. Climate change is decimating corals like this robust ivory coral, which provide nutrients and shelter to a plethora of marine animals. Even insects like this American burying beetle, who are responsible for recycling decaying matter back into the ecosystem, are in danger of extinction. The Photo Ark gives a voice to each creature, large or small, in order to inspire the world to help save them. Protection is essential if we are to survive ourselves. Start taking steps today to help preserve these species and their environments. Click the link in my bio for ideas about where to begin. Let’s see what we can #SaveTogether!

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Wow, Paul is really leading the list as a gap of 2m followers can be observed in between Paul and Joel. No judgment though because gaining more than 1m followers is a great achievement.

We think it’s great that Joel draws the attention of his followers to the protection of rare species. Following that, he is probably quite successful as his audience quality grade is an A-.

We analyzed his audience with our InfluencerDB software taking metrics like the quality distribution, gender split, and country split into consideration


3 Ami Vitale (708k)

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Photo by @amivitale. Today, was a sad day for elephants. In times like these, it is more important than ever to do all that we can to protect these incredible, gentle beings. Therefore, I am announcing the launch of a limited edition, fine art flash print sale to support the important work of the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary (@r.e.s.c.u.e ) on their one year anniversary. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to supporting the elephants and the Samburu community who are helping to foster a mutually supportive relationship between wildlife and people. For $225 plus shipping, you will receive a stunning 12 x 14 archival print of Mpala and the herd of elephants bathing and you can learn more about the sanctuary in my recent National Geographic magazine story, "Warriors Protecting Elephants." This sale only lasts until Dec. 10, 2017. Reteti is the first ever community owned and run elephant sanctuary in all of Africa and provides a home to orphaned elephants as a result of poaching, human wildlife conflict and drought related issues. All of these elephants will one day be returned to the wild to live the life they were meant to lead. What’s happening at Reteti, without fanfare, is nothing less than the beginnings of a transformation in the way humans relate to wild animals. This oasis where orphans grow up, learning to be wild so that one day they can rejoin their herds, is as much about the people as it is about elephants. The image will be printed by the fine art studio of Paper & Ink on 12×14 inches (30.5×36 cm) and with Epson's Ultrachome HDX archival pigment ink on Canson's PrintMaKing Rag archival paper which is designed to meet museum longevity requirements. Follow the link in my profile to the shop page on my website to order and please add shipping ($25 domestic, $35 international). #bekindtoelephants #DontLetThemDisappear @nrt_kenya @tusk_org @conservationorg @kenyawildlifeservice @sandiegozoo @thephotosociety @natgeo #elephants #saveelephants #stoppoaching #kenya#northernkenya #magicalkenya #whyilovekenya #africa #everydayafrica#photojournalism #amivitale @nikonusa #nikonusa #nikonlove #nikonnofilter #nikonambassador #nikond5 #protectelephants

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Ami is a Nikon Ambassador and same as Paul a National Geographic photographer. She is from the US and fights for the protection of Elephants.

Maybe mainly in Zambia and Zimbabwe due to Trump’senactment to allow the import of ivory? Her audience is engaging with her content on Instagram as she counts 180 comments per post on average.

4 Peter McBride (658k)

Seems like National Geographic gathered the cream of the crop as our no. 4 is another photographer contributing to the magazine.  More than half of his Instagram audience is male and located in the United States.

As our list continues you will notice that many Top Wildlife Photographers are originally from the US. Well, it seems like the US got the knack of stunning nature shots.


5 Frans Lanting (619k)

The golden mean of our Top 10 Influencers is seized by Frans Lanting. He is the first European (Dutch) photographer in our listing but guess what he is also doing? YES, contributing to National Geographic.

He has a steady growth on his Instagram channel with good engagement rates. Do you see the high bar in August in the graph below? Peak-info: With InfluencerDB we can analyze the reason for the engagement rate and its further impact.

On August 13th 2017, Frans was mentioned by the general National Geographic channel (83m). The posting overperformed with more than 1m likes and lead to more than 2,6k new followers on Frans Instagram channel.


6 Christina Mittermeier (609k)

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My heart breaks when I see this photo. We cried as we filmed this dying bear. Although we cannot tell for sure why this bear was dying, what is certain is that as the Arctic continues to warm twice as fast as anywhere else on Earth, many more bears will face this fate over the coming years. We traveled to the Arctic with @sea_legacy in August and saw both healthy bears and starving bears. As climate change accelerates, we will see less of the former and more of the latter. It’s a heartbreaking reality of our current lifestyle. Please join us at @sea_legacy where we are #turningthetide for the oceans and climate change. Each and every one of us must act now. No one will fix this for us. @todayshow

A post shared by Cristina Mittermeier (@mitty) on

Christina is the other co-founder of Sea Legacy and partner of Paul Nicklen who we initially mentioned respectively to Paul. Christina might not have as many followers as Paul but her follower growth is sky-rocking (as of November 2017) with 9.39%.

Originally from Mexico, she drives awareness to dying species on our planet. Her good Like Follower Ratio (3.2%) that we can generate with our tool shows that Instagram users are engaging with her (sometimes) heartbreaking content.

7 Steve Winter (516k)

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It's that time of year again! My holiday print sale! This year I'm offering a curated selection for you to chose from. Each signed 8” x 10" print is $100 + $15 for domestic shipping (US) and $35 for international. Shipping prices increase as Xmas approaches so get your orders in early. I’ve posted the 1st six options here. Swipe through the selection posted here, take a screenshot of the one you want and email it and the shipping address to and we will send you a PayPal invoice. A portion of funds will go towards Wild Voices Media to fund future conservation and environmental stories. Last year’s sale funded the Aleppo Zoo rescue story Sharon Guynup and I covered. (Story link in my bio). We'll take domestic orders through Sunday December 11th and International orders till Dec 4th. Please email with any questions

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We are back to photographers from the US with our no. 7. Besides his occupation as a photojournalist, Steve is also a filmmaker. Meanwhile, it’s obvious that he is also contributing to National Geographic, right?

Taking a look at his Instagram feed reveals that he likes to take photos of feline predators. We calculated his media value per post what equals to $2,501.


8 Allan Dixon (512k)

Allan is from Australia and the first Influencer of our list who got famous through YouTube and calling himself the animal whisperer. Why? Because he found himself a really unnerving task: taking selfies with wild animals.

Definitely nothing for impatient people. In contrast to the other Wildlife Photographers, his earned media value is not as high and steady, at least not regarding his media metrics on Instagram. These metrics are probably different for his YouTube channel.

The last two photographers of our Top 10 Influencers list are a bit different compared to the other influencers as their metrics are not as good. But they still have a good audience size and based on the filters we used we still want to introduce them.

In this way, we can deepen your knowledge in understanding how certain metrics act together.

9 Benjamin Lowy (228k)

Benjamin is another photographer from the US. His fashion for diving is reflected in his Instagram feed which mainly contains underwater shots. Recently his number of followers is dropping and causing him a negative growth rate of -0.24%.

This is a great example to outline how the behavior on Instagram impacts important metrics, marketers should consider. Benjamin has been quite inactive during the last months posting pictures irregularly.

With a rather small audience compared to the other channels, he does not attract enough followers to his Instagram account through other channels.

10 Stefano Unterthiner (228k)

Our last but not least is Stefano who is from Italy – the name gives it away. He has a smaller audience but is still a contributor at National Geographic. Checking his data with the InfluencerDB software, we spotted an interesting linkage.

He was constantly losing followers on Instagram during the summer although he was not really active on his channel either. But a mention by the National Geographic channel that we already mentioned earlier changed this follower loss.

On the day the channel posted and tagged him in his picture he gained more than 500 new followers in one day.


The mentioned metrics in this blog post were analyzed in late November 2017. Feel free to contact us for up-to-date metrics!