The Photo Opportunists: Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom

The cofounders of Instagram are putting a new spin—and tint—on photo sharing.

From left to right: Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom

From left to right: Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom

Home Base: San Francisco

Year Founded: 2009

Power Stat: 150 million photos have been posted as of August of last year.

Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom weren't the first people to create photo filters, allowing users to turn otherwise low-fi iPhone snaps into (minor) works of art. They were, however, the ones who added that oh-so-key element of sharing that has turned their 2-year-old creation into a juggernaut. "We are both passionate about social products," Systrom says of himself and his cofounder, both of whom have been into photography since the days when you had to own an actual camera. "Honestly, I don't think we knew how popular Instagram was going to be. The day we launched, we had 25,000 users sign up. Today we have a user signing up every second." But why do Taylor Swift and even President Obama need another platform? "To get the word out in a very different way" Systrom says—and because a picture is definitely worth more than 140 characters.

How they chose their (very small) team: "Mike looks for raw curiosity. Like, when you get home from your day job, do you turn on American Idol or do you tune in to the Discovery Channel and learn something new? I love people who show an entrepreneurial spirit on their own—people who have started side projects and who can't wait to make things happen." —Systrom

Found art on President Barack Obama's Instagram account.

How they feel about landing the president: "We're not a political group of folks. But regardless of your views on politics, to have the leader of the free world sign up for your app is, you know, humbling." —Systrom

Click through for Instagram's Creators' Favorite Photos >>

Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom: Instagram's creators Present Their Best (Filtered) Photos

Instagram lets every guy with an iPhone think he has a sense of composition and light, but Krieger and Systrom were obsessive and prolific photographers long before their killer app was in beta. Here's a look at their favorite camera-phone pics since they invented the network on which to share them:

.@Details unveiled its 12 social mavericks of 2012 ( who do you think is the ultimate #SocialMaverick?

— DETAILS (@DETAILS) February 16, 2012

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