10 inspiring female underwater photographers

Romina Bayer
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There are so many fantastic inspiring female underwater photographers out there! To celebrate inspirational women in ocean photography, the Oceanographic Award has launched a new category this year called “The Female Fifty Fathoms Award”. They noticed that last year, only 20% of all entries to the award were from women. Anybody can nominate their favorite inspiring female underwater photographer (or all of them) through the Awards website

Inspired by this category, I wanted to share some of my favorites with you.

The following photographers do not only inspire me with their breathtaking photos but also their support and advocacy for ocean conservation.

Christina Mittermeier 

Christina is a photographer, adventurer, and conservationist. She is the Co-Founder and President of Sea Legacy and Only One, a photographer for National Geographic, and Ambassador for UN SDG 14: “Life Below Water”.

Christina’s images are the perfect example of storytelling: what impresses me the most about her style is how she manages to capture the viewer’s attention and create an instant connection with the subject.

Find out more about Christina Mittermeier on her website and Instagram account.

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Renee Grinnell Capozzola

Renee is an international award-winning underwater photographer. You can often find her images among the winners and finalists of global underwater photo competitions. Renee has just recently become the Underwater Photographer of the Year 2021.

She is especially known for her wide-angle and split-level images. Renee has a striking eye for composition and what I admire the most about her style is the vividness of her images.

Find out more about Renee on her website and Instagram account.

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Tanya Houppermans

Tanya is an award-winning photographer and shark conservationist. 

When I think of Tanya one thing comes to mind: Sand Tiger Sharks! Tanya creates impactful, dynamic images that make you feel like you are right in the action.

Find out more about Tanya on her website and Instagram account.

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Ellen Cuylaerts

Ellen is a traveler, explorer, adventurer, and award-winning photographer from Belgium, now living in Grand Cayman. What I love most about Ellen’s images is her distinctive style. There is a certain softness to the tone of her images that brings out the most natural side in them. 

Find out more about Ellen on her website and Instagram account.

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Lilian Koh

Lilian is an exceptional photographer based in Singapore, with a specialty in macro photography. What makes her images stand out are the intense colors and the playfulness in her shots. Looking at her images often reminds me of entering a candy store!

Find out more about Lilian on her Instagram account.

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Kate Jonker

Kate is a writer, photographer, speaker, underwater photography coach based in South Africa. She is a regular contributor to international diving magazines and has been the judge of many underwater photo competitions.

Kate’s attention to detail and use of creative light is what I admire the most about her work.

Find out more about Kate on her website and Instagram account.

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Nurul Yazid

Nurul gave up the corporate world to become a dive instructor and fall in love with underwater photography. She has been featured in diving magazines and won several awards with her magnificent imagery.

From macro to wide-angle, Nurul does it all! Her images are a great example of the bandwidth of beauty the ocean has to offer.

Find out more about Nurul on her website and Instagram account.

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Cassie Jensen

Cassie is an ocean advocate and self-taught underwater photographer, inspiring others to protect our oceans.

With Cassie, it’s all about dolphins (although she shoots other subjects, too). Her imagery feels very light-hearted and cheerful.

Find out more about Cassie on her website and Instagram account.

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Katherine Lu

Katherine is an award-winning photographer, based in Singapore. She has developed a specialty for underwater macro photography. Some of her images are incredibly playful, others are characterized by simplicity. (Although I’m sure there is nothing simple in creating those images, Katherine makes it seem easy.)

Find out more about Katherine on her website and Instagram account.

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Jill Heinert

Jill is an underwater explorer, polar explorer, cave diver, underwater photographer, documentary maker, speaker, film maker, and climate advocate. She’s the author of the best-selling book “INTO THE PLANET – My Life as a Cave Diver” and has been inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame in 2020.

Her cave photographs make you feel like you are discovering another world! They convey this pure sense of adventure that we feel when we enter the underwater world.

Find out more about Jill on her website and Instagram account.

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Rina Yumol Jones

Rina is a spectacular underwater photographer based in Anilao, Philippines.

What makes her style special are incredibly intimate macro portraits of all the tiny critters you can find out there, and impressive blackwater photography.

Find out more about Rina on her Instagram account.

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This list is by no means complete, and I constantly have to add new names to my inspiration list of female underwater photographers because I keep discovering more and more. 

What do all these fantastic women have in common, apart from the fact that they are incredibly talented photographers? They all use their pictures to raise awareness for our oceans, they are real advocates for our oceans.

Now I would love to hear from you:

Who else do I need to add to that list? Tag your favorite female underwater photographer in the comments and let’s grow that list together!

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