Photographer (credit: OLIVER BERG/AFP/Getty Images)

Staying connected in the digital age is the easy part, but wading through all the postings, images, texts, videos, downloads and tweets can be pretty overwhelming. Then, along came Instagram. What sets Instagram apart is its wholly visual advantage, as it showcases images and highlights the talents and artistry behind photographic images. Read on for five talented San Francisco Bay Area photographers worth following on Instagram.

Richard Kochi Hernandez

Richard Kochi Hernandez’ photographic work is simply stunning — and that is an understatement. Seemingly every image is a work of visual, almost mesmerizing art with hypnotic tones that grab the viewer and draw the eyes in closer and closer to see what is hidden deeper with the image. From his Instagram page, go on to Hernandez’ website where a fuller impact of his work resides. On the website Hernandez, an art photographer, lays out instructions for ordering prints of any of his images you would like to own.

Jessica Lifland

Jessica Brandi Lifland is a San Francisco-based freelance photographer and photojournalism instructor. Her work appears nationally and internationally in numerous publications including USA Today, The London Times, The New York Times and many more. Her corporate clients include Cisco, Pixar and Microsoft.Prior to her freelance career, Jessica worked as a staff photographer at several publications. As a freelance photographer she has traveled the world working for organizations such as Operation Smile. Although she doesn’t think of herself as a social documentary photographer, Jessica feels a responsibility to her subjects when she puts their images out into the world. For the past 12 years she has been photographing The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and has been working on a long-term project documenting the lives of the cowboy poets of the American West in affiliation with the Western Folklife Center. She hopes to make her project into a book someday. Jessica is also a photojournalism instructor at City College of San Francisco. Visit Jessica’s website linked on Instagram to see more of her work.

Ken Light

Social documentary photographer Ken Light has been a very prolific artist. In addition to his work appearing in numerous books, magazines, exhibitions, catalogs and a variety of media, Ken Light is also an author whose books go beyond his powerful photographic images. His new book, “What’s Going On? 1969-1974,” will have an opening Nov. 13 at U.C. Berkeley, School of Journalism. An educator as well, Ken is a Reva and David Logan Professor of Photojournalism at the Graduate School of Journalism at U.C. Berkeley, and a professor in the photography department at City College of San Francisco. Visit Ken’s website, linked at Instagram, to learn more, including how to purchase archival contemporary prints, signed by the photographer.

Liz Caruana

San Francisco-based fashion and wedding photographer Liz Caruana showcases beautiful wedding images just the way you’d like to remember the day – naturally happy, playful, candid and somehow looking relaxed, in spite of it all. An award-winning photographer, Liz’s photos reflect her photojournalistic approach to capture true emotion and help create stunning memories. Her work has been widely published in print and online, and she has an excellent reputation for her wedding photography. From Liz’s Instagram page, go to her website for wedding package information and check her blog for additional helpful tips on just about everything for pre-wedding planning.

Gary Rocchio

Gary Rocchio is a Bay Area freelance photographer with a diverse range of photography skills. He has established a large body of work from his many travels to Myanmar where he documents the culture, lifestyles and architecture of the country. He is as talented at taking portraits and capturing images at special events as he is photographing life on the streets. His interest areas include: travel, editorial, documentary, portraiture, and architectural. Gary has worked on 19 independent films as a still photographer and his work has appeared in movies, books, posters and promotional materials. Visit Gary’s website linked on Instagram to learn more.

Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She writes on adult education, art and culture, business, and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. She is also a part of the Bay Area independent film community. Her work can be found at