What’s it like being a woman in the photographic industry?

This International Women’s Day, the fight for equality is being highlighted. The #EachforEqual campaign aims to focus on the inequalities found in various countries and industries around the world.

Once considered a male-dominated industry, photography has grown over the last few decades to become incredibly inclusive of women. We chatted with our women Ambassadors to find out how they all found the photographic industry when they first started out.

Faye Yerbury

Having worked in the photographic industry for 30 years, fine art and portrait photographer Faye Yerbury believes it was really a man’s world when she started out. Married to fellow photographer Trevor Yerbury, she found it tough to make her own name in the industry initially:

“Being the wife of a professional photographer made it even more difficult because I was always referred to as the wife of Trevor E R Yerbury. It seemed to take a long, long time to make a name for myself and prove in the eyes of the photographic community that I was worth being called a photographer in my own right.”

Before starting out, her background was in hairdressing and makeup artistry, which she taught in Edinburgh College. Her skills in these areas helped when she began to venture into photography. Already having a creative eye and having learned alongside her husband, she soon found the confidence to work independently and get her work recognised:

“I became very competitive and wanted more, that was when I started to enter competitions which I enjoyed very much, getting some credit was good for the soul. But I needed qualifications to prove that I was getting there and set myself a task to prepare for that next step. After many Kodak Highly Commended certificates, I was delighted to gain a coveted Kodak Gold Award, this was the first but not last accolade in 1996.”

Her career took off from there, and since she has gained an Honorary Fellowship from The Royal Photographic Society, been MPA President in 2014 and 2015 and is now the MPA Overseas Director.

Both Faye and her husband have used Loxley Colour for decades and have been Ambassadors for a number of years now, consistently supporting us and providing their wealth of knowledge to the next generation of photographers.

Faye’s life achievements are incredibly impressive, and she’s glad she has managed to make it in this tough industry:

“I count myself as very lucky for having had such a happy and successful life in photography and I look forward to more happy days in the future.”

Natalie Martin

We are absolutely thrilled to announce on International Women’s Day that our newest Ambassador is borders-based wedding photographer Natalie Martin! Now both a second-generation Loxley Ambassador and photographer, we chatted with Natalie about her upbringing around photography and what her perceptions of equality are within the wedding photography industry now with her successful Story of Love wedding photography business.

“I have been in and around photography all of my life and my childhood memories are filled with photographs, equipment and a non-stop stream of happy families trooping through my mum and dad’s studio, which took up the bottom floor of our family home.”

Being brought up by two talented photographers meant she was always surrounded by inspiration and she believes she has learned to adopt traits from both parents in her own work:

“I think my creative side has definitely come from my dad, but I am proud to have taken my mum’s more organisational and sales side as I believe you need all these qualities to be successful in this field.”

Natalie believes her parents have taught her so much, including what should be most important when capturing images:

“I decided that I wanted to branch out on my own to become a wedding photographer around seven years ago. I admit, I have been lucky as my dad has taught me how to understand light and, like him, I truly believe that light comes first, and the other components will then follow after.”

In terms of looking at the photographic industry as a whole, Natalie acknowledges that she’s been very lucky to have been brought up within it:

“When I hear about the women’s movement and the inequality of women in the workplace I feel pretty blessed. In the wedding industry, I think, and I may be proved wrong, that there are more women than men in photography these days and I can’t really think of many instances of prejudice against me, so there are no barriers to success as far as I can see.”

Natalie believes one part of her success is the ability to empathise with brides, being able to be excited and celebrate the joyous occasion with them, rather than treating her work as a job in front of them:

“I think a woman can empathise with a bride in a real and genuine way, relate to them and is better placed to understand what is in the bride’s head on the wedding day. I am not a technical photographer, I shoot from the heart. Most of my male and some female photographer friends are way more advanced on techniques and technology than I will ever be. To me, wedding photography is all about love, emotion and creativity.”

Despite only starting seven years ago, Natalie has gone from strength to strength in her wedding photography career, picking up several awards along the way:

“Over the past seven years I have had a whirlwind of successes, Confetti Wedding Photographer of the Year two years running, BIPP Scottish Wedding Photographer of the Year, MPA Scottish Wedding Photographer of the Year, Bronze medal in the UK BIPP Wedding Photographer Awards, the first Loxley Colour and Photography News Wedding Photographer of the Year 2018, two Fearless Photographers Awards and U have written for trade mags and conducted seminars on both wedding photography and selling. I am a very lucky girl and simply love my job and all my couples.”

Annie Armitage

Family portrait photographer and Loxley Colour Ambassador Annie Armitage has worked in photography for 14 years. In that time, she has built a successful business based just outside of London. Annie has gained several accolades throughout her career, but she has most recently just been announced as one of f:Entrepreneur’s #ialso Top 100 for 2020 as part of International Women’s Day. F:Entrepreneur recognises the dynamic and inspirational businesses led by women in the UK. Annie has been recognised this year for her endeavors in the photographic industry, establishing her business in 2007 and becoming one of the UK’s most influential family portrait photographers.

In the years since Annie set up her business, she has noticed a surge in female photographers in her field:

“I set up my business 14 years ago and at that time there weren’t that many family lifestyle photographers and it is encouraging to see many women have taken the leap to run their own photography businesses.”

Annie believes that women need to have more confidence in themselves in order to succeed, having found that her own lack of self-confidence held her back at points:

“The only thing that held me back at times was me! Something as women we do quite often is to not believe in ourselves, that we should be charging what we are worth.”

It can be tough for any business owner to increase prices as they become more skilled in their work. Annie has been teaching photographers for years to encourage them to change their prices to better reflect their skills and services, but she acknowledges this can be tough for many women:

“Moving from having a photography hobby to a business can be tricky and one’s mindset has to change to be a business person first and a photographer second in order to be profitable and successful. Self-worth and being profitable go hand-in-hand.”

Annie frequently hosts seminars on in-person sales. She finds this practice to be vital for success in her business and believes women can lack the confidence to get out there and do this:

“Going out and selling isn’t easy. As women, at times, we can be more cautious about taking up the opportunities and putting ourselves out there, but we have to and all it takes is practice. The more you do, the easier it becomes.”

Gain the skills you need in 2020

We’re focusing on education here at Loxley Colour in 2020. We’ll be hosting an event for women photographers later in the year, so keep an eye on the Loxley Colour blog to make sure you don’t miss out on this! We’ll also be attending the first ever Phlock Live event at the end of the month, which is specifically for female photographers.