I want to recognize some women in music photography who are crushing it. Recently, I reached out to a number of women photographers who I admire and respect to not only celebrate them as photographers, but to give their own shout outs to fellow women are at the top of their game in the music photography world.
Everyone on this list is not only producing phenomenal work, but they're also paying their success forward and inspiring a whole new generation to pick up cameras and dive into music photography.
Victoria Sanders is a music photographer based in Chicago. Along with Lesley Keller, Victoria co-founded The Photo Ladies, a collective celebrating women in music photography. The Photo Ladies connects hundreds of female photographers and this group has been a huge force on Instagram in recognizing the legion of women grinding it out in photo pits around the world and making stunning imagery.
I love Victoria's talent for capturing not just the key moments on stage and their energy, but also imbuing a mood that feels all her own through the lighting and tones she captures. Some of her clients include C3 Management, Forbes, NBA, Red Bull, Vic Mensa and the 1975.
Today, Victoria is surrounded by the hundreds of empowered women photographers of The Photo Ladies. She also donates her time and skills to SaveMoneySaveLife, a foundation launched by Vic Mensa in 2018.
“Pooneh Ghana is an all around babe. Her creative aesthetic, as well as her personal aesthetic are perfectly merged with who she is as a person. From having met her a handful of years ago at Lollapalooza, and running into her in festival photo pits, and working alongside one another for Red Bull Music Festival, I'm always excited to see Pooneh at work, and spend time with her. Plus, your favorite bands love her.”
“Without Lesley Keller, there'd be no Photo Ladies as we are today. What went from a Facebook message between the two of us, turned into something we never expected – a worldwide network of the most amazingly talented women music photographers. Lesley is one of my best friends, and her love for all things John Mayer and Francis Farewell Starlite make me smile on the regular.”
“Erika Reinsel's photos always give me the more serene feeling, they're like being in a dream – no matter what venue or lighting situation she's in, her photos convey something that I don't see with anyone else's work. Her aquarium photos should be on your walls – you should hit her up for prints. ;)”
“Zoe Rain is soft spoken, kind, and one of the most genuine people I've ever met. She's known for being Macklemore's photographer, but Zoe has travelled the world, creating some of the most beautiful and important humanitarian photography that you will see. Her ‘Faces of Togo' series (which you can find on her website) is worth spending time with today.”
Katherine Tyler is a tremendously talented photographer I've known for years and count as a friend. As National Photo Director for iHeartMedia, Katherine has led massive photo teams for some of the world's biggest events in live music and hired the best music photographers working today. What everyone should know is that Katherine could easily be doing the job of the photographers she hires, both in the photo pit and in the studio.
I absolutely adore Katherine's aesthetic, execution, and endless creativity in her artist portraits. Often working together with her twin sister Mariel, Katherine has shot a who's who of popular music, including Janet Jackson, Sting, Selena Gomez, Sam Smith, Lady Gaga, Shawn Mendes and more.
Her portraits and live music photography alike possess a signature vibrancy that blends dramatic lighting with an undeniable expression of her subjects' personalities.
“Some of the female photographers who I admire in the editorial/entertainment world are Renell Medrano, Daria Kobayashi Ritch, and Allexandra Gavillet. Renell and Daria have an artful vintage approach that lends to this beautiful mix of refined rawness. Gavillet’s bold use of color makes for eye catching, genuinely fun images. I love how these women are able to apply their unwavering aesthetics to the stories they are telling.”
“For live work, I gravitate toward photographers who can capture iconic moments that represent the vibe of the artists and the atmosphere of the event overall. You can tell photographers like Anna Lee and Ashley Osborn love what they do just by the vivacity of their images. Hélène Pambrun has a very organic approach where you feel like she just happens to catch these stunning live moments. Jenn Devereaux’s excellent sense of timing gets her “The Shot” every time.”
Judy Won is an Ohio-based photographer specializing in documentary, lifestyle and music photography. I first met Judy when she was working as a photo editor for iHeartRadio at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas.
Since her involvement in her local music scene in 2013 as a teenager, Judy now travels the world as tour photographer for the American rock band Halestorm. As a tour photographer, Judy has traveled to 12 countries and plans to continue documenting her travels. Beyond Halestorm, Judy's clients include iHeartRadio, Kerrang! Magazine, Of Mice & Men, Shinedown and SXSW.
“I love all of Georgia Moloney's work for a multitude of reasons. She's a multifaceted creative, who not only specialized in photography, but also incorporates amazing graphics into some of her photos. Her sense of tones is beautiful, as her photographs are colorfully bold, but not oversaturated. Her editing style is also genuinely unique as I haven't seen anyone else publish work like hers. I hope I have the pleasure of running into her in Australia one day.”
“Kayla Surico is also another female creative who's a jack of all trades when it comes to producing beautiful content. I've been a fan of her work for years as she has a great eye for composition and colors. Her organic usage of subtle, unnatural tones is one of the reasons I wanted to learn how to branch out my editing skills. I've also had the pleasure of meeting her at SXSW 2018, and can attest to the fact that she's as good of a human being as she is a photographer.”
Jenn Devereaux is a photographer whose work seems to jump off the screen whenever I see it. She just seems to always capture images that feel iconic — the perfect moment, the perfect lighting, everything just comes together in her concert photography.
I count Jenn as a friend and it's been really amazing to see her career progress over the years. From sneaking in cameras to concerts and festivals over 11 years ago to having her images globally syndicated and shooting a who's who in the music industry over the last decade. She has been published in print and online with outlets such as Billboard Magazine, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, and Marie Claire.
I'm proud to have shared a stage with Jenn when she was invited by Nikon USA to be part of a panel on music photography with Robert M. Knight, Michael Corrado, and myself at the Nikon Theater at CES 2019 in Las Vegas. Recently, Jenn was contracted as the house photographer for the new Fillmore theater in New Orleans.
“Katrina is one of the hardest working females in the music photography industry. She has a keen eye for finding unseen moments and capturing them in such a creative way. Not only does she photograph the most stunning live music images but her band portrait work is incredible as well.”
“Erika Goldring- Erika is a consistently amazing photographer who has had photos plastered on Billboards and in magazines. She knows how to frame the picture perfectly so that her images tell a story, as if you were there. Not only is she one of the most talented people I have ever met, she is also a genuinely nice person who gives great advice. I'm proud to call her a friend and colleague.”
“Amy Harris – Amy has traveled the world capturing some of the most stunning images. Open up any magazine and I'm sure you will see one of her photographs. I think what I like most about Amy's style is that her photos are clean, sharp and composed perfectly for editorial purposes. She really has an eye for detail.”
“Katherine and Mariel Tyler- The Tyler twins are, by far, my favorite music portrait photographers. The first time I saw their work, I was blown away. You can tell that they make their subjects feel comfortable and at ease with every photo taken. I truly aspire to be as creative and talented as they are.”
Anna Lee provides a textbook example of just how far an insane work ethic and raw talent will get you. With nearly a decade of experience as a music photographer, Anna began touring in 2013, primarily with pop and rock artists. Tour clients include Walk The Moon, The Struts, MisterWives, Gavin DeGraw, Grouplove, X Ambassadors, and several others. When off the road, Anna works on a variety of LA-based creative projects for artists, labels, publications, and commercial clients. Anna Lee is a music photographer from OKC, now based in LA.
There's a versatility and freshness in Anna's work that really makes her stand out to me, from her versatile portrait styles to an impeccable ability to nail that rock-star moment in the live show.
“Jen originally came to my attention because of her respectable list of legendary rock clients. Her range spans from timeless and classic studio portraits to intimate documentary content that captures artists in their most unguarded and natural state. You can feel that her subjects are her friends.”
“Katia was one of the first content creators I saw make the crossover between animation and still music photos. I observed her work popping up everywhere for so many major artists. Her vision and creativity for these pieces blow me away! As an added layer, her photos have a theme of vibrant editing that is unique to her. I’m always excited to see new content from Katia!”
Ebru is a music photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. Originally from Turkey, Ebru has dug into the NYC music scene with a tenacious vision. In 2016, she self-published her first book, “We’ve Come So Far: The Last Days of Death by Audio.” This book features over 200 black and white photographers documenting the last days of the iconic Brooklyn music venue and features interviews with Oliver Ackermann, Matt Conboy, Edan Wilber and other staff and residents.
Ebru’s clients include a who’s who of the music and entertainment industry, including the New York Times, Interview Magazine, Fader, VICE, New York Magazine, Q Magazine and Rolling Stone. I love the evocative nature of Ebru’s images, full of lush atmosphere and analog rawness.
“Jessica is one of my biggest inspirations both as a photographer and as a person. Her interests lie in so many different subcultures and Hip Hop is just one of them. I just love that regardless of her subject matter all her work weaves in and out of each other so seamlessly. Her portraits remind me of her documentary work, and her documentary work feels like her portraits. They are always intimate, a super special, fleeting moment frozen in time. Whenever I look at her photos, it always feels like I am looking at a super important moment in time and just feel lucky to see it through her eyes.”
“Sam has a super unique way of using the flash with her concert photography work.. The way she treats color combined with the way she uses her flash, I can always point out a Samantha Marble photo, her work always stands out. And I think that kind of unique voice is important to have in an oversaturated industry.
I also absolutely love that the metal scene is her preferred area to work in. If you think the music industry is dominated by male photographers, you can only imagine how it is within in the niche of the metal scene.”
“Aylin is based in Turkey. She is the creative director behind the Turkey's longest standing Music, Art and Culture magazine Bant Mag. I find her photography work super interesting. She works almost exclusively with film and shoots a lot of musician portraits who are touring Istanbul from different countries and also local acts as well.
She has two other big bodies of work. One of them is called This Magical Depression and the other one is Valuable Loneliness. The reason I bring these two projects up is because they are both documentary style photographs with a quirky edge. They are from an outsider's perspective, interesting, humorous and thought provoking. I think she approaches her musician portraits the same way. Most of the time they don't feel posed, even if they are, they are not usually what you expect, and I find there is always an edge to them.”
Maria Jose Govea is for me, one of those rare double-threat music photographers. I always feel like music photographers fall into one of two categories: either excelling at live music or portraits, but rarely being equally exceptional at both. For me, Maria hits that balance and brings a freshness to both sides of music photography with ease.
Born and raised in Venezuela, Maria Jose Govea moved to Toronto to study film and DJ drum and bass. DJing turned to documenting the EDM scene in her adopted city, and Maria moved from behind the decks to shooting parties, concerts and doing portraits of DJs and musicians in Toronto. This led Maria to eventually touring with artists like Arcade Fire, Skrillex, A-Trak, Diplo, Bomba Estéreo and more. In addition, Maria has had a long term collaboration with Red Bull, photographing their culture and music projects. More recently, she's relocated to LA and has worked with Apple on their campaign #ShotOniPhone. Her editorial clients include Billboard, W Mag, Paper Mag, Dazed and the LA Times.”
“This woman is a young photographer who’s out there shooting a lot of music stuff and the energy in her work is just right. She’s great at capturing performances but she can also take incredible portraits, and early in her career she’s already developing a signature style that makes her stand out from the crowd. Also, you can feel the passion for what she does in her work, and nobody can teach you that!”
“You’ve probably already seen her work but I’m absolutely blown away by Maria’s work. The set design, the use of color, the playfulness, the composition… it all just works in such an impactful way. It’s very inspiring to watch somebody rise to the top and continuously make images that define what’s cool, what’s modern, what’s unique and what’s fresh and new. And Maria’s work is all of that, and more.”
Ashley Osborn is an LA-based photographer who has carved out an impressive career as a music and portrait photographer. I love Ashley Osborne's photography because she has a signature style. From her tour work to her portraits, she brings a brooding, often dark aesthetic that is all her own in the music photography world. Shooting since 2010, Ashley's clients include Jessie J, Avril Lavigne, All Time Low and Bring Me The Horizon. I had the pleasure of shooting alongside Ashley at the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Festival.
“If there’s a show in Los Angeles, you better believe Debi is there capturing it all in it’s GLORY. She’s the heart of the scene here in LA, her work is so fun and she’s always got a smile on her face!”
Coen Rees is an African French-born Londoner currently living in NYC. There's a timelessness to Coen's photography that I love — images that speak to the music of today, but as if we're looking back at them from the future. I feel this raw power in Coen's high contrast images, so many of which have a uniquely graphic quality where these moments feel both intimate and also larger than life. Some of Coen's clients include Paste Magazine, Afropunk, Live Nation, Dr. Martens and Amnesty International.
“When I moved to NYC in 2013, it was to get back into music photography after over a decade away. I Googled “music photographers in NYC” to get a sense of who the current crop of music photographers were. To be honest, I was pretty underwhelmed. And then I came across Jessica’s site.There was a rawness and an honesty about her work that grabbed my attention. A lot of her work at the time was black and white, and it had a reportage-type feel to it that I’ve always loved in photography. It’s been amazing to watch her grow as an artist, and she remains one of my favourite photographers to this day.”
“Devon is a great photographer based in NYC. I’m not entirely sure when, but at some point, she made the decision to only shoot film, and her photography has gotten so much better as a result. Film photography is not cheap, and it really makes you stop and think about the shots you’re taking, as you only have a set amount of frames available. Oh, and she’s also a kick-ass graphic designer.”
“Silvia is NYC-based photographer whose work I greatly admire. In this crowded industry, with so many photographers shooting the same shows, it’s very easy to see different photographers coming up with the same shots, but Silvia’s photographs always have that ‘something extra.' She also shoots film a lot of the time, and goes deep into alternative printing methods, which is something that is very close to my heart.”
“Victoria Ford, aka Sneakshot, is a music photographer based in D.C. Not only is she a great photographer, but she also knows a shit ton about ALL kinds of music, which I actually think makes for a better photographer. She’s exhibited her work in a number of shows, and has been profiled by Lomography and The New York Times.”
“Maaike is a Dutch photographer whose work I became aware of via Instagram. There’s both an energy and stillness to her work that I love. She’s toured with a number of bands, and last year, she became the first female music photographer in Europe to become a Sony European Imaging Ambassador.”
A few caveats are in order. This is by no means a comprehensive list. The people in this list skew heavily toward photographers I know personally or who are friends of friends. I know a lot of music photographers, but I don't know everyone. This list is also skewed heavily toward photographers in the US and I know there are women music photographers rocking the pit all over the world.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but I hope that you've found a little inspiration in the amazing work that these photographers are making. I plan to follow up with even more photographer profiles and shout outs very soon.
Between the photographers I've profiled and the photographers they've shouted out, I hope that we can take a moment to celebrate the amazing work that women are doing in music photography. This isn't a competition or a popularity contest — if anything, I hope that we can all view this list as just a very small slice of a huge community of music photographers that exists worldwide.
Please give these photographers a follow and some love on social, and I hope you've found a new music photographer. I know I've found several.