A self-taught photographer, Newsha began working professionally in the Iranian press at age of 16, at women's daily newspaper 'Zan'. At the age of 18, she was the youngest photographer to cover the 1999 student uprising, which was a turning point for the country's blossoming reformist movement and for Newsha personally as a photojournalist; a year later she joined New York based agency Polaris Images.
In 2002 she started working internationally, covering the war in Iraq. She has since covered regional conflicts, natural disasters and made social documentary stories. Her work is published in international magazines and newspapers such
as Time Magazine, Newsweek, Stern, Le Figaro, Colors, The New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, NRC Handelsblad, The New York Times Magazine and National Geographic.
In 2009 Newsha covered the Presidential elections in Iran, which ended up in chaos and forced her to temporary halt her photojournalistic work. Instead she started working on projects that experts describe as a mix of social documentary photography and art.
Her work has been displayed in dozens of international art exhibitions and has been on show in museums such as the Victoria & Albert, LACMA in and the British Museum, and the Boston Museum of Fine Art.
In 2014 Newsha was chosen as the fifth laureate of the Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award. In 2015 she was chosen as the principle laureate of the Prince Claus Award.
Newsha became a Magnum nominee in 2015, an associate in 2017, and full member in 2019.