Our top contributor is Anastasia Kazakova. Her story is one more of a long and difficult journey from an office job to becoming a freelance photographer. Her background in advertising led to a focused and clean collection of photos. She was able to set her own rules and travel the globe to pursue her new career as a stock photographer.

Anastasia is focused on the beauty and grace of her models. She shares some tips and tricks for beginners, including relaxing during photo shoots and working with stock agencies.

Tell us about your professional life, how you got to stock photography and what it was like.

When working as a secretary at a Moscow magazine, I began taking photographs. Back then, I was a secretary. The atmosphere was so unpleasant that I decided to do something more creative. This realization was around 12 or 13 years back. I began working full-time as a photographer.

My first year was spent as a photographer for the magazine. I then decided to freelance and have not looked back. It was an integral part of my professional life when doing photoshoots and advertising. It was a highlight of my professional career.

Later on, I decided to move to another country. I also wanted to live in another country. Stock photography seemed like the perfect career path. I started my career as a beauty photographer three years ago when I moved to Barcelona.

Your photos are candid, and you photograph lots of people. Do you have any tips for making models feel comfortable during a photoshoot?

It isn’t easy to explain. It’s important to understand your model. You must be able to see the best of them. My personal goal is to find the best aspects of the models. My models aren’t professional, and they tend to be shy. Although they may be hesitant to admit their imperfections, I insist they show me the best part of themselves. I praise them, help them find their posture and chat with them.

Your subjects are mostly female models. What would you say about the changing beauty standards?

I love the way beauty standards are evolving. A more natural appearance makes women feel more at ease. While we still care about our “social faces”, it now looks more like a real face and not a mask. This is why I use natural makeup on my models. They don’t want to remove it after the shoot.

What lessons have you taken from your experiences working with stock agencies?

It is important to be patient and diligent in the beginning year.

What interests you outside of photography?

Cooking is something I love. It’s a magical process for me. I could spend hours making dishes and seeing the smiles on my family’s faces when they ate them.

Why are images so important and relevant in today’s world?

People don’t have the time to read, so it is important to communicate quickly. Images are their language.

Who are your favorite photographers?

Many classic and famous photographers, such as Annie Leibovitz and Helmut Newton.

There are some trends and themes that will never go out of fashion.

The topics include women, food and people in general. It’s no surprise that other popular subjects like success and business are still in the spotlight.

Any advice you can give to aspiring stock photographers just starting in stock photography?

Keep your cool and be patient. It doesn’t matter how popular it is on the platform. Create work you love. It is important to be true to yourself and create work you believe in.

What is your vision for the future?

I am taking up a video right now. While it seems very similar to photography, it is also vastly different. It’s a great way to learn new things, as I don’t think I’m learning much in photography right now.

Which is more important: experimentation or specialization?

It is more important to me that my work is something I love. You could always try something different or take up the sports theme (as an illustration). However, this is not my area of expertise. It’s not worth my time to try something new.