Photography marketing

In numbers: the under-representation of women in photography

Despite making up almost half of the photography workforce, women are significantly underpaid and underrepresented compared to their male counterparts, according to a new report.

As part of the upcoming International Women’s Day, a creative content marketing agency has conducted research into the disproportionate representation of female photographers in the industry – from a lack of female brand ambassadors to fewer features on photography profiles. social media from major camera brands.

Women photographers lack visibility

Although there is no shortage of female photographers in different genres, they are still unrepresented, underpaid, and often invisible in different aspects of the industry. To highlight this in more detail, Wallflower Studiosa marketing agency based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, examined gender bias in photography in its report, “Give us features, not flowers.”

Women photographers make up nearly half of working photographers, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021, however, that same representation does not translate into equally paid opportunities, sponsorships, or visibility on digital platforms. For example, the study found that the majority of recent photography graduates were women, but they earned on average 40% less than their male counterparts. Similarly, it has been found that less than 25% of commercial photographers represented by top industry agents are women.

Women have also been active in photography since its very beginnings. Although not always credited, they were among the first pioneers to photograph alongside their male peers, developing and advancing early photographic methods. 150 years later, we are still very involved and it is safe to say that there is no shortage of women in photography these days. However, gender biases and inequalities are still very apparent.
Wallflower Studios

While women overall are less likely to be “recognized, featured, or celebrated as much as men,” the opportunities available dwindle even more for those who are not white – 83% of photographers working in the United States are white, while Latino photographers are up 14%, followed by black and Asian photographers at 7% and 5%, respectively.

Fewer ambassadors and reduced representation online

First, the report looked at the inequality of ambassadors for major camera brands, a title that many professional photographers aspire to achieve in their careers. While brands can promote their products through these ambassador programs, they invite photographers – established and emerging – to try out their products and give them exposure and a platform to showcase their talent.

Canon Philippines has already faced criticism for its all-male Ambassador lineup last year. Similarly, Canon USA named just 12 of 38 female photographers as ambassadors in 2021 and 14 of 36 this year. Meanwhile, Canon Europe has only appointed 14 women out of 109 female ambassadors, although it has featured a article ask why there aren’t more female photojournalists.

Representation of women among female camera brand ambassadors

Canon isn’t the only camera brand to show a lack of representation among ambassadors, with other major camera brands following a similar pattern. The report found that the representation of people of color was also lower than that of women.

Representation of women on the social media pages of global camera brands Representation of women on the social media pages of global camera brands

The report also looked at the lack of visibility of female photographers on camera brands’ social media profiles, using Canon, Sony, Nikon, Fujifilm and GoPro as examples. The visual representation below shows the difference between who gets the platform to showcase their work. It’s worth noting that GoPro has proven to give female photographers particularly poor visibility on its social media.

Representation of women on the social media pages of global camera brands Representation of women on the social media pages of global camera brands Representation of women on the social media pages of global camera brands

The report also looked at gender biases that might otherwise go unnoticed by the average Google user. The agency used different keywords, such as “top photography Instagram accounts” and “top photographers” to view search results using Google US and Google UK.

Representation of female photographers on search engines

In both regions, the report found that women are less likely to be promoted on the front page. The “top photography Instagram accounts” performed poorly on Google UK, with only 17% women on the first page, although Google US fared better in both searches.

The report pointed out that many articles featuring the world’s best or most famous photographers often do not feature many female photographers, with some showing none. This is in addition to not giving women photographers a platform in the digital landscape, despite being just as active.

the full report highlights many other breakthroughs in the industry as well as different ways to support female photographers through education, mentorship, and more.


Picture credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.