If you know me in real life, then you know that I basically live in jeans, t-shirts and converse trainers (or flip flops when it’s REALLY hot), have my hair in a ponytail and don’t wear make up.
But when I first started out as a photographer I felt like I had to dress up for a photography session. So I’d wear a nice blouse, put some mascara on, and even wear some accessories. I’d buy clothes to wear for a photoshoot or a client meeting that I would never wear otherwise. Rightly or wrongly, I felt the need to impress the clients, because our photoshoot would often be the first time they met me in person, and first impressions count, right?
Well, my eyes got itchy and I’d rub them and end up with dark mascara circles under my eyes. My accessories would get in a way and end up in a pocket of my photography bag 10 minutes into the shoot, and I’d get sweaty and uncomfortable in that nice blouse, chasing children around the park or lying on the grass to get that perfect shot. And above all else I’d not feel myself – and that’s not good for producing images that are true reflection of me as an artist.
So after a while (make that about 5 years into being a photographer) I stopped. Now, I even talk about not wearing any make up or nice clothes in my promo video. Because that’s who I am, and that’s what I’m most comfortable wearing – and above all else it allows me to do my job well because I don’t have to think about what I’m wearing, instead concentrating on creating beautiful images for my clients. Besides, there’s a reason why people like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg always wear what is essentially uniform – it really frees up the mind and makes it one less decision to make on a daily basis.
So what are my staples?
A pair of jeans that fit well and don’t reveal my behind when I’m crouching down matching a 1 year old’s eye level is a must. I don’t usually spend a ton on clothes, but I found investing in good jeans really pays off. My favourite brands are Gerry Weber and Betty Barclay (both made for actual female figure with hips and bum!). Another favourite of mine to wear for indoor shoots, are these comfy jersey trousers from Next – again combined with a simple t-shirt.
For tops, I go for simple cotton H&M ones and really stock up in various neutral colours (grey and white mostly) on them when the ones that flatter my figure are in season (that’s about once every 3 years). White tops are very useful when shooting indoors as you are acting as a kind of a walking reflector, and grey being the most neutral colour is not reflecting any colour casts into your client’s face.
My favourite thing to wear on my feet is nothing – but unfortunately that’s not really feasible living in England, so instead I opt for super comfortable trainers or pumps (and it takes me a while to find the ones that feel just right, so often I’d wear the same pair every day for a year and at the end of that year it starts looking a bit sorry for itself and then I panic and try to buy a pair just like that but of course they are now our of stock everywhere and I resolve that next time I find a pair of shoes that does not give me bloody blisters within 5 minutes of wearing them I’m freaking buying 10 pairs of it right away so it lasts me 10 years). Right now my sorry looking pair of Campers needs a replacement so I’m off on another round of this desperate search soon.
So yep. That’s what I wear. What about you? What are your wardrobe staples? Do you like to dress up for a photoshoot, or you like to keep it plain and simple? Does your personal style show up in your photographs? Share in the comments below!
I’m Antonina Mamzenko – a natural light newborn, baby and family photographer based between London and Surrey. I specialize in creating candid, natural family photographs with zero cheese and no posing. I work all over London and Surrey, including Cobham, Esher, Thames Ditton, Richmond upon Thames, St Margarets, Twickenham, Teddington, Hampton, Kingston upon Thames, Surbiton, Kew, Chiswick, Putney, Fulham, Wimbledon, Holland Park, Kensington, St John’s Wood and Hampstead. Find more information about my photography sessions or get in touch to check availability and book your family photoshoot.