As advertisers stake their claim in the Instagram world, they have utilized a bunch of talented and insanely popular Instagrammers to help them artistically dominate the medium.
Click here to meet the most influential Instagrammers >
Companies like Johnnie Walker and Volvo are sending everyday smartphone users — albeit it with hundreds of thousands of followers — to Miami and Iceland and Abu Dhabi to take over their Instagram accounts and post pictures on their own.
While some are tentative about showing branded content, especially on their own feeds, these Instagrammers — Spotify designers, university office administrators, and graphic designers by day — are carving out a niche for themselves in the new online art world.
And it has the potential to be lucrative.
We’ve compiled a list of the top Instagrammers whom brands are dying to work with — we’ve ranked them by total followers — and the cool things that they’ve done.
(Let us know if we’ve missed anyone significant. While we did extensive searching and culled nominations, most of our — very talented– — group are males from New York and the Bay Area. We’d love to know about more talent that has been playing nice with brands.)
Jonathan Nafarrete / @jonathan360
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Day Job: Director of social outreach for Blitz Agency, and founder of Instagram LA, which organizes Instawalks and other networking opportunities for Instagram users/brands in Los Angeles.
Followers: 21K plus
Brand Story: While some Instagramers stumbled into doing work for brands, surprised by the initial query emails, “I just kind of put all of my resources and time into it,” Nafarrete told BI. “It was just a matter of time.” It started with taking photos for a T-Mobile event in April in which his Instagram pics got projected onto big screen throughout the party, and then all of the dominoes began to fall. Since then, Nafarrete has done work for RadioShack.
But the coolest job: Audi has flown Nafarrete to Le Mans, France to photograph a race. “For the Audi thing I’m not getting paid, they’re just sending me there,” Nafarrete said. “But I was paid for other initiatives as being a photographer.”
Instagram Story: While Nafarrete has a modest Instagram following (at least when compared to the other Instagram heavy hitters), he told Business Insider that he gained traction after posting photos on his Twitter, which has 88K followers.
Here’s a shot Nafarrete took of an Audi tire-change at Le Mans.