Guest post by Amy Cooper, Owner and Artist Representative at Trove Artist Management

The current boom of female-first initiatives is transforming the creative industry, providing opportunities for women to find mentorship, addressing discrepancies in pay, and helping women rally together to drive new policies and practices. Actions such as the 3 Percent Movement50/50 Initiative and #TimesUpAdvertising have thrust these issues into the spotlight and gained significant attention and traction.

But we can do more.

Women photographers are still grossly underrepresented when it comes time to hire for big advertising campaigns and magazine covers, despite the fact that women account for:

·  roughly 50% of photographers and advertising industry workers

·  80% of art and photography school graduates

·  the majority of art buyers and photo editors

One report indicates that male photographers account for as high as 96% of advertising photographers. With a quick glance at the top photography representation agencies in the U.S., it’s clear that women comprise only about 10% of those agency rosters.

A Call to Action

“This movement is a specific request for advertising agencies to include at least one female photographer in each triple-bid.”

There is a huge population of highly talented, underutilized female photographers who are ready to put their unique vision to work. It’s time we create policies at both the brand and agency level to ensure they are given the opportunity to do so.

Introducing #DiversifyTheLens.

This movement is a specific request for agencies and other media to include at least one female photographer in each “triple-bid,” or make female (and non-white) options at least 50% of the consideration when selecting image-makers.

Doing so will not only help level the very uneven playing field for women photographers, but it will also benefit business across the board.

Female Photographers Click with Female Consumers

“…with the unprecedented rate at which women are amassing wealth and influence, it’s almost insane from a business perspective to misunderstand them.” – 3 Percent Movementmission

Women influence more than 80% of consumer spending, but more than 90% of women feel that advertisers do not understand them. To reach and influence the female consumer, advertising imagery has to portray them authentically, reflecting their motivations and needs. Female photographers have a unique ability to do this, and not including their perspective, especially in the age of #MeToo and #TimesUp, is not only a missed opportunity, but a massive business (and cultural) failure.

A Cultural Shift

Getting more women photographers working requires effort on the part of both the creative talent themselves, and those with the power to hire them. Typically, female photographers are less aggressive in marketing themselves and seeking representation than their male counterparts. This is something I am actively working to change through Trove Artist Management’s programs and my personal consulting practice, helping women learn to stand taller, pursue opportunity and promote themselves more confidently.

In the meantime, I encourage those of you with the hiring power to help facilitate this shift by searching harder to fill more of the gaps in the photo industry, advertising industry and the professional world at large with talented, hardworking women–and pay them what they’re worth.

“I want to further amplify this message by asking celebrities, fashion designers and influencers to specifically ask for diversity in photography when they are being featured or creating campaigns.”

My hope is that other photographers, creative directors, art buyers and editors will join this movement to ensure that more campaigns truly #DiversifyTheLens. I want to further amplify this message by asking celebrities, fashion designers and influencers to specifically ask for diversity in photography when they are being featured or creating campaigns.

My goal is that we all share this challenge widely so that more female photographers can be recognized and rewarded for their talent, which will benefit us all.

Together, we can make a difference.

Helpful Tools and Resources

To help you find the talent you need and spread the #DiverifyTheLens mission, I’ve compiled the below resources:

·     A list of my favorite female photographers

·     Alreadymade, a directory of established commercial photographers curated by Jill Greenberg

·    GirlGaze an organization dedicated to closing the gender gap, founded by Amanda de Cadenet.

·    Women Photograph a listing of female photojournalists

·    #DiversifyTheLens Ambassador materials, including a guide to disrupt the underrepresentation of women in photography and downloadable campaign photos.

This list will be continually updated as I find and develop additional resources for women in the creative field. Please bookmark this link and share to help us build our database.

Have a resource of your own? Let me know about it!

Join the Movement

Hiring more female photographers and having their perspective fairly represented will not only benefit photographers, but the entire creative industry, the global economy and women everywhere. To take it a step further, I believe that the creative vision of women in the marketplace will help us understand women, and each other, better and connect us in a way that is sorely lacking and needed today.

If we work together, it can happen.

By sharing this article, spreading the #DiversifyTheLens mission and seeking out more female talent for your own agency or projects, you can help shift the creative culture.

Thank you.

Sign on to join the mission to #DiversifyTheLens and we will send you an ambassador guide as well as occasional updates.

Written by Trove Artist Management founder Amy V. Cooper in collaboration with Mary MaguireErica Boynton, and Jennie Trower. Special thanks to Cindy Villanueva.

Recommended Posts


  1. Thank you for sharing our campaign to #DiversifyTheLens!

  2. Autumn De Wilde, Lauren Dukoff, Peggy Sirota, Olivia Bee, Emily Shur, Emily May, Monica May, Zoey Grossman, Ramona Rosales, Sarah Rhoads, Claire Weiss, Anna Wolf, Melanie Acevedo… Sorry, those are the only names that immediately come to mind. As a male photographer whose heroes are predominantly female, I feel this post actually under-represents the fact that the ladies are killing it right now. I’ll concede that most rosters runneth over with dudes, but if the mark of success is which of your photographers is putting camera in hand and foot to ass, the revolution is and has been underway for some time now.

  3. There are two things and is very seperate. Women are underrepresented, women are discriminated against. Looking only at numbers we have to understand of principle of numbers and social science behind it, which statistics of course are. Correlation doesn’t equal causation. When you look at the statistic of wealthy people and statistic of people having sex, the more people having sex the more rich they are, does that mean more sex you have more rich you become. Of course not, and psychologist know this because there is third variable and that is high on openes, so when you are high on openes you having more sex and you doing well in life. By this example we cant simplify the complex variables that influence the final pick of photographer to only gender. How about education, temperament, charisma, attractiveness, professionalism, rhetoric, geography, family background, life choice and luck. Further on this is called positive discrimination, and this is not new at all, in 70 psychologist already experimented with this method and it had some downvotes too, for example when person from underrepresented group is awere of his positive discrimination his succes in this case getting the job is not feel deserved but rather provided, that the individual wasnt chosen on his/her skills that he might work hard on but rather he/she is only filling up some quotas. That leads to less motivation and feeling of dont belonging. Dont get me wrong they are plenty of people man and women who will discriminate toward woman and discourige them, ok called them out, I will stand next to you, let’s make the game fair for everybody, but let’s not make the game equal and let’s the best win and dont get into this ideology that is really delusional and doesnt represent the complexity of the world we live in.

Comments are closed for this article!