12 top UK woman photographers you must follow
March 8, 2022
In recognition of International Women’s Day 2022 the Amateur Photographer editorial team has selected 12 UK and UK-based female photographers who shoot work we love and we think you should take a closer look at…
The strength and depth of female photographers around the world has, arguably, never been stronger than it is today. From photojournalists such as Lynsey Addario and Stephanie Sinclair to portrait photographers such as Brooke Shaden and Annie Leibovitz, the power and impact of images shot by women has rarely been so widespread and influential.
To honour International Women’s Day 2022 we’ve come a little closer to our UK base to pick out 12 exceptional women photographers (who are either from the UK or who are based here). Their work and careers have caught our eyes, so we’ve decided to highlight their talents to a wider audience. Here they are in alphabetical order…
Dimpy Bhalotia – fine art street photographer
Originally from Bombay, India, Dimpy Bhalotia completed her schooling in India, then studied in the UK for a BA honours degree in Fashion Design Technology.
After working in the fashion industry for some years she found a new love – street photography, which she shoots in the UK and India.
She only uses Apple smartphones to capture her images, so is more focused on the philosophical side of street photography, rather than the technical aspects of shooting.
In 2019 Bhalotia won the Best Street Photographer award and two years later she was named as one of the 30 Most Influential Street Photographers.
Her (mainly) black and white work has been published internationally in publications such as the Washington Post, Forbes, The Guardian, Esquire and Fotografiska. It has also been exhibited in over nine countries around the world.
Holly-Marie Cato – travel, street, community
Holly-Marie Cato is a filmmaker and photographer from London, who says she has a passion for travel, community and street photography.
Now a Leica Ambassador, her work also spans commercial projects, which have included shooting the Paralympics and working for clients such as Nike, Adobe, AMEX and British Airways.
Cato is also not afraid to tackle serious and photojournalistic subjects, such as Black Lives Matter, the Notting Hill Carnival and the Vigil for Sarah Everard.
Her work is recognisable for its combination of graphic composition with bold use of colours and it has taken her around the world.
She often hosts popular workshops and talks on the art of storytelling, photography and industry standards.
Molly Darlington – sports
Just last night Molly Darlington won Young Photographer of the Year and Paralympic Portfolio in the annual Sports Journalists’ Association Awards, further cementing her place as one of the rising stars of sports photography.
Darlington was a first class honours degree Photography graduate from Manchester Metropolitan University. In fact, whilst at university she was already shooting for three sports agencies – MatchDay Images, AMA Sports Photo and LAT Images.
In 2019, straight out of university, she started working freelance for Reuters’ multimedia sports agency, Action Images.
Her first major photography assignment was covering the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals and since then she has covered plenty of football, rugby, Formula E racing.
Despite her tender years Darlington is part of the Canon Ambassadors Programme and she also sometimes covers non-sport news stories
Lisa Devlin – weddings
Originally from Northern Ireland, but now working out of Brighton, England, Lisa Devlin is a wedding photographer, but it wasn’t her first career choice…
Devlin worked as a music industry photographer for a decade but then, ‘fell into’ shooting weddings when she shot he agent’s wedding… she’s not looked back since.
She is notable for many reasons but was the first ever wedding photographer to win an award from the British Journal of Photography. She has also this week just been named as one of the 2022 Hasselblad Heroines, who are chosen to inspire other women in the creative imaging industries.
Devlin now teaches wedding photography through her school Photography Farm and regularly appears in top wedding photographer lists from the likes of Stylist magazine the US website Junebug.
Her approach is almost to ’embed’ herself with couples who are due to get married, including doing a shoot before the wedding and charging on an hourly rate, rather than the myriad of wedding packages offered by most wedding photographers.
Nadine Ijewere – fashion & portraits
Born in south-east London in 1992, Nadine Ijewere has a mixture of Nigerian and Jamaican heritage and studied Photography at UAL’s London College of Fashion.
She leveraged the power of social media to kickstart her career as it allowed her to connect and collaborate with models to help to build her reputation and career.
In 2020 Ijewere received the Infinity Award: Applied from the International Center of Photography (originally founded by Cornell Capa in 1974) in the US.
As a strong advocate for women of colour in the photography industry she has broken down some barriers and is encouraging others to follow. A key example of this was in 2019 when her image of pop star Dua Lipa became the first ever photograph shot by a woman of colour to feature on the front cover of Vogue magazine.
As well as her magazine work, Ijewere has shot stills and film campaigns for Dior, Gap, Stella McCartney, Hermes, Nina Ricci and Valentino Red.
Lara Jackson – wildlife
The multi-talented Lara Jackson is a wildlife photographer, conservation biologist and TV presenter. She was fascinated by wildlife and ecology and took a degree in Zoology, then did a research masters degree in Wildlife Conservation at the University of Southampton, England.
In 2017, Jackson was inspired by visiting the Masai Mara, in Kenya, during her masters degree and admits she was ‘glued’ to her camera for the whole two weeks of the trip.
Since then she harnessed Instagram to share her images of animals and to highlight the threats facing them and the need for conservation to protect them.
Jackson now works for a range of brands, not-for-profit organisations and broadcasters to share what she describes as ‘meaningful and impactful stories’. Her images have featured in National Geographic, The Sunday Times Magazine and The Washington Post, amongst other publications.
Jackson’s lioness portrait, Raw Moment, was Highly Commended in the Animal Portraits category of Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021.
Verity Milligan – landscape, architecture, travel & commercial
Based in Birmingham, England, Verity Milligan is an award-winning landscape, architecture, travel and commercial photographer who is also an ambassador for Zeiss lenses and Lee Filters.
Her work has been featured in print and on TV in such places as The Guardian, the Daily Mail, the Birmingham Post & Mail, ITV Central and BBC Midlands Today.
Milligan is happy to use all photographic formats and says, ‘I love to take photographs and share my work with the world.’
Her images have featured in several exhibitions and have been highly commended in major photography awards such as Outdoor Photographer of the Year, British Life Photographer of the Year and Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year.
Her commercial clients have included Vodafone, Marketing Manchester, Yorkshire Tea, Visit England, Scandinavian Airlines and Honda.
Laura Stevens – portrait
Laura Stevens is a British portrait photographer who is based in Paris, France, and is known for her cinematic and painterly style of capturing portraits.
Her work has been exhibited around the world at various showcases in the USA (in Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Texas), in Uruguay and in France.
She holds a Masters degree in Photography from the University of Brighton, England, and she has been the subject of features in magazines such as Marie Claire, Responses Photo and Exit.
Stevens was a finalist in the famous Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize (in both 2013 and 2014) and in the Prix HSBC pour la Photographie in 2019.
Her masterful use of colour, light and gesture bring a highly connective and emotional depth to her portraiture that is rarely seen in photographic portraiture.
Rachael Talibart – coastal landscapes & seascapes
Ploughing the somewhat specialist field of being a coastal and seascape photographer Rachael Talibart’s skill is in bringing alive the power of nature and its surrounding environs.
Talibart grew up on the south coast of England and, before becoming a photographer, she was a solicitor in the City of London.
She left that legal career in 2000 and her switch to shooting digitally, in 2008, really increased her ‘obsession’ with photography and she turned professional in 2016.
Her captivating coastal photography has been recognised with awards such as Black+White Photographer of the Year in 2018 and winning the Sunday Times Magazine‘s Landscape Photographer of the Year in 2016.
Talibart has had three monographs of her work published – including Sirens and Tides and Tempests – and she runs her f11 photography workshops as well as leading photography tours for Ocean Capture.
Gigi Umbrasaite – fashion, beauty, editorial & commercial
Gigi Umbrasaite is an internationally published fashion and portrait photographer who is based in Brighton, England, but is originally from Lithuania.
She moved to England aged 17 to study to study Media Production at University of Bedfordshire followed by Film and Screen studies at the University of Brighton.
Umbrasaite has built up her career around the world with agency representation in Australia, the UK, the US and Europe.
As well as her fashion and personal projects Umbrasaite has photographed pop stars and reality TV stars from the ITV programmes Made in Chelsea and Love Island.
Well known for her use and understanding of available light to shoot portraits, she has shot commercial campaigns for the likes of fashion brands Tommy Hilfiger, Gymshark and Lovesick London.
Tesni Ward – wildlife
Tesni Ward is a wildlife photographer who is based near Sheffield, England, who got her first DSLR as a teenager and finally decided to take the plunge as a full-time professional photographer in 2016.
As a youngster Ward was already highly interested in the natural world and the wildlife that lives in it. She describes working as a wildlife photographer as, ‘challenging but extremely rewarding.’
She has worked on projects photographing Eurasian badgers and is also well known for her work covering waterfowl, puffins, nocturnal animals, seals and deer.
Ward is an OM System Ambassador and is also a brand ambassador for both Benro tripods and Permajet photographic paper.
She often hosts photographic workshops and Photo Tours in order to pass on her knowledge of the art of wildlife photography.
Tianna J Williams – portraits, maternity, newborns & weddings
In 2018 former midwife Tianna J Williams swapped delivering babies for delivering high-end maternity portraits and images of newborn babies.
In fact, it was only after having her first child, Olivia, that Williams discovered there was such a thing as shooting portraits of newborn babies.
Williams had been considering a career as a photographer but finally decided to jump into it after a particularly stressful shift at work made her quit and change direction.
Despite still being comparatively new to professional photography, Williams has quickly established a reputation as an adroit and highly skilled studio photographer who is equally at home working in black and white or colour.
She’s based in Birmingham, England, with a studio in the Jewellery Quarter of the city and is now a Nikon Z creator, who shoots with the latest mirrorless cameras from Nikon.