Women Photographers: what the guide books aren’t telling you

Women Photographers: what the guide books aren't telling you

Kelly Weech

Wedding and portrait photographer Kelly Weech set up her own photography business just over a year ago after 7-plus years working in various roles in the UK photo industry. Her business has grown quickly over the past year, and in this time she also been one of Digital Camera World’s top contributors, penning a good number of our most popular portrait photography tutorials in 2012.

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Image by Kelly Weech

I accept that the photography industry is traditionally and continues to be predominantly men; however, times appear to be changing.

More women photographers than ever before, especially in the last five years, have entered the wedding, lifestyle and boudoir market and are making their mark on the industry.

Our outlook and approach is different, we are making the most of connecting to women clients and striving to get the same respect as our peers.

However, traditional learning resources such as guidebook and magazines continue to be aimed towards male photographers. Why could this be? As men and women photographers do we learn in different ways? Want different things from learning resources?

As a female photographer who has worked in the industry for the last 8 years I have never stopped learning and trying to develop my skills. I want to learn and read about how to style a shoot, get someone who is not model to pose like one, make people feel comfortable to allow me to capture their personality, market to my target audience and increase my earnings – however these sections in guidebooks seem to be few and far between!

Yes, everyone needs to learn the basics and develop a technical know-how. And everyone wants to feel confident using their camera.

But now that I have my technical knowledge sussed and I’m happy with my equipment, I want to know more about the aspects of running a successful business, how I can connect even more with clients, how others work with people and build a reputation based on my style and being a female photographer.

Personally, I believe that the digital revolution has made photography less technical and more appealing to women in general. These days you do not need to know how to develop film, create prints in the darkroom, use a light meter, the zone systems (it helps and I have this experience from shooting on film) because it’s not essential any more to take beautiful photos.

Creativity is the key and could it be that men, in general, start to shoot because of the fun of learning some new technical stuff and then learn to take beautiful photos along the way, and women are the opposite and start shooting because they want to create beautiful pictures and then learn the technical stuff as they go?

I love shooting natural light so I can focus on the content of an image, the expression of the model, the overall vibe of a shoot – clothing, details, composition and colour.

However, from shooting alongside many male photographers in the past I’ve noticed they often focus their attention more on the technicalities such as setting up lights, metering and exposure.

PAGE 1: What are the differences between men and women photographers?
PAGE 2: Angela Nicholson, Digital Camera World’s head of testing
PAGE 3: Kelly Weech, wedding and portrait photographer
PAGE 4: Annabel Williams, portrait photographer and trainer


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