Sorry boys, but ladies are running the portrait photography game.
In this article I share the work of 14 amazing female photographers who are absolutely slaying portrait photography. Click on any of the photographers' names to go to their Instagram profile and then follow them.
There are only a handful of photographers whose work consistently wows me. Tina Liu is one of those photographers. Her Instagram posts are a constant source of inspiration for my portrait work. Particularly, her use of colors and shadows creates such a compelling mood and story in her portraits. She also recently moved from New Jersey to Boston, so I've had the opportunity to see her process in person. Go follow her on Instagram and be amazed :)
Two words: styled shoots! Inspired by South Asian style and culture, NYC-based photographer Sanjida Bintekamal absolutely kills it with styling amazing portrait shoots. But it's not just the selection of clothing, accessories and models that make her work interesting. Sanjida's creative choices in color palette, lighting and location really make her work stand out and shine bright like a diamond (yes I just quoted Rihanna!). Her Instagram handle is accurate. Sanjida is awesome.
What can I say about Jessica Kobeissi? I learned pretty much everything I know about Photoshop from her in-depth and entertaining YouTube tutorials. What I love about watching her channel and following her work on Instagram is I can see how much she has, and continues, to step up her game. Her hustle and creativity are truly admirable and something I aspire to myself. Today she's shooting a lot more high-fashion and styled shoots that I find inspiring to see. Check out her work on Instagram and be sure to watch her YouTube videos and challenges as well.
Icy Li is another Boston photography homie who recently relocated to Washington, D.C. I've learned so much about creative approaches to portrait photography from shooting with her. She's really helped me grow as a photographer. What I admire about her work is that she pursues it from a place of personal passion, rather than chasing likes and attention on social media (the latter of which too many photographers do today). She's also excellent at capturing interesting candid moments and expressions in people.
Not only is Felice a badass Toronto-based portrait photographer, she's also irreverently hilarious. Her Instagram stories and captions often throw shade in a playful and hysterical fashion. So not only do you get to admire her incredibly creative photos on Instagram, you also get a laugh as well. It's a double whammy of awesomeness.
MoodyGrams founder Shauna Wade definitely practices what she preaches when it comes to portrait photography: delivering those exquisite moody ports. Particularly, she does a fantastic job of capturing rich, colorful tones by shooting portraits at night. Stay moody, Shauna.
Emily Khan's tremendous portrait work has an aesthetic quality that feels closer to medium format film than full frame digital. When I look at her photos I can't help but be reminded of trendy art zines like Girls on Film. She is particularly skilled at creating interesting indoor portraits - something I aspire to do a better job with myself. Check out her filmic photos on Instagram.
I initially discovered Michelle's work in the build + bloom Facebook group. She is a New York City based portrait photographer and her work has inspired some of my own photographs - particularly reflection shots. Her creative use of mirrors in portrait photos is something we should all try to learn from :)
Lexi Brown is a PA-based portrait photographer with an eye for vintage aesthetics. Her models are often seen clutching old film cameras and sporting fashionable 70s-inspired clothing. Lexi's use of cool tones is something that resonates with my particular aesthetic as well. Check her out and book a shoot if you're local :)
Chorale Miles is a Boston-based wedding and portrait photographer. I love her use of bokeh and lighting to create engaging and dreamy portraits. While a lot of people are out there trying to be Brandon-Woelfel-with-da-fairy-lights, Chorale is forging her own style and running circles around those fools. Check out her stunning work on Instagram.
Amy is a NYC-based portrait photographer with a fresh/clean style. Her portrait photos have a pleasing warmth and smoothness to them. She seems to bring out the best in her subjects and it makes for really engaging portraits. Check out her awesome work :D
Annegien Schilling's insane level of creativity never ceases to amaze me. Her work has a kind of fantastical-Alice-in-Wonderland-meets-modern-social-media kind of vibe to it. Now I don't think social media followers is a good marker for success, but in her case, I'm not surprised that she's amassed nearly 1 million Instagram followers at the time of this writing. It's well deserved too. She's just so damn good at what she does. If you want to see more of her work follow her on Instagram or even better - check out her new book Imagine, Shoot, Create.
As a side note, I do a massive facepalm anytime I see anyone comment on her photo with "What camera do you use?"
Another Boston portrait photographer? YUP. Sydney Claire produces portraits that beautifully weave together edginess, raw energy, sexiness and power. She shoots with a collection of interesting-looking characters and her work blurs the lines of art and pop culture. Mad respect.
This list was originally going to include "13 Badass Women" but I discovered Marilyn's work a few days ago and I HAD to include her as well. Marilyn Nguyen is a portrait photographer based in the Bay Area and her work is absolutely dreamy (I mean, just look at the above image!) She is the perfect photographer to round out this list :)
Who are your favorite female portrait photographers? Let me know in the comments below :)
About the Author
Dan Bullman is a portrait photographer and YouTuber based in Boston. He produces educational videos, gear reviews and other content to make you a better photographer faster. His videos have been viewed over 1 million times. His portrait work has been featured on accounts like @moodyports @followingboston and @portraitmeet.