Wilmer attended the School of Photography at Regent Street Polytechnic in London (1959-60).
Wilmer is as important a photographer as she is a writer, having worked with hundreds of singers, jazz musicians and writers, and she has taken noted photographs of artists such as Langston Hughes, Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane, and Duke Ellington. Her photographs were exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in the 1973 exhibition Jazz Seen: The Face of Black Music, and form part of the V&A's photographic collection. Her photographs are also held in the National Portrait Gallery collection. With Maggie Murray, Wilmer founded Format, the first all-women photographers' agency in Britain, in 1983.
A member of the National Union of Journalists.