Niedringhaus was born in Hoxter, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany. She worked for the Associated Press (AP). She was the only woman on a team of 11 AP photographers that won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for coverage of the Iraq War. That same year she was awarded the International Women's Media Foundation's Courage in Journalism Award.
Niedringhaus had covered Afghanistan for several years before she was killed on 4 April 2014. She was shot while covering the presidential election, when an Afghan policeman opened fire at the car she was waiting in at a checkpoint, part of an election convoy. He was arrested.
- "The 2005 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Breaking News Photography". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 31 October 2013.