A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life With Street-Style Photographer, Liz Sunshine

Liz Sunshine was one of Australia’s first street-style photographers. When she started her photography career in 2012, the fashion and social media industry as we know it was just beginning: Instagram had only launched in 2010, and fashion bloggers (including the likes of now-editor-in-chief of Vogue China, Margaret Zhang) were beginning to take off.

It was just the right time for Liz to become obsessed with documenting the ‘intersection between real life and fashion’. More than a decade later, she’s as invested as ever in exploring everyday people and their clothes, be it at fashion weeks, or approaching people on Melbourne streets to document what our city is wearing.

See a peek behind the lens as she shares a day in her life, where no two days are the same!

Christina Karras

Liz documents street-style fashion all over Melbourne, from Flinders Street to Brunswick and beyond.

Her own personal style has evolved over time, with the photographer says she prioritises ‘hard working’ pieces, made from durable, versatile fabrics and classic, mostly unrecognisable shapes. But she always looks effortless and chic!

Her own social media has become the place for documenting street style, and she takes notes for her ‘Reading People’s Clothes Series’ while she’s out and about.

‘Professionally, I shoot a 5D Mark 4 Canon mirrorless, and my preferred lens is a 24-70,’ she says.

‘I am also obsessed with my new Fujifilm T3. I have a few phones, a new film camera and I also love a Profoto B10.’

Liz has been behind the lens capturing street-style and fashion for more than a decade!

Her imagery and visuals are often effortless and candid, but she always gets permission from her subjects on the street.

Liz street spotting outside the National Gallery of Victoria.

‘Looking at the clothes on those around us speaks to societal values, trends, climate, and the lifestyle in our current times’ – Liz Sunshine

Between school drop off and starting work, having a matcha is one of her morning rituals.

Her chic office occupies the bottom level of her family home.

‘I’ll only ever spend a whole day in the office if I’m working to a hard deadline.’

Her work is much like that of a documentarian, aiming to tell a story of a ‘a moment, as much as the fashion within them.’

‘The people of a city are defined by common ways of thinking, political, societal and world issues, economics… and these geographical and sociocultural elements are reflected in the clothes we wear.’

Liz sharing the work of iconic portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz with her daughter, Poppy (4).

Liz with Poppy and Harry at home.

‘I adore my kids and want to spend as much time with them as possible, so whenever I’m not working or on a project, I prioritise all the usual mum things.’

Christina Karras
8th of June 2023

Liz Sunshine says she got into street-style photography for the clothes, and stayed because of the people.

‘At the beginning of my career, street fashion was a new category of photography; this interesting intersection between real life and fashion that quickly became an everyday obsession,’ Liz adds.

The combination of the ‘adrenaline’ in finding someone to photograph, conversations with strangers, and growing her understanding of fashion was so alluring, she decided to abandon her dream of being an editorial and campaign photographer to focus on street style.

Since then, she’s started her blog-turned-agency Street Smith, has photographed ‘thousands of people’ and become one of Australia’s most prominent fashion and portrait photographers.

Liz’s decade-long resume spans fashion weeks, major events, and work for clients as big as Dior and Vogue Australia. But she still gets butterflies when she approaches someone whose outfit catches her eye on the streets across her travels, documenting them for her popular Instagram and TikTok platforms, capturing ‘what people are wearing in Melbourne’ or ‘what people are wearing in Copenhagen’.

In recent years, this career journey has also prompted Liz to dive a little bit deeper into her own closet and personal style, with a conscious lens. That’s why she’s currently undertaking a personal research project studying ‘our relationship with clothes’, sparking many conversations around sustainability amongst her online community, which has in turn prompted Liz to challenge herself to buy only 26 new pieces of clothing this year — which is around half that of the average Australian consumer, who purchases 56 items in a year.

‘For some people, that’s a lot, and for others, it’s a little,’ Liz says. ‘But for me, the goal is to keep moving in the direction of my values. Over the years, I’ve tried to distil what makes a person interesting to me, and I think it’s their head-to-toe commitment to whatever they are wearing,’ Liz says.

‘Documentary street fashion holds the same ideals as other documentary photography,’ Liz says. ‘It’s a historical record of a particular time, place, or thing — the street style element adds a fashion focus.’

Fashion (and the industry as a whole) often gets dismissed as superficial, consumerist, and vain. And it can be all of those things. But Liz’s work isn’t just about showing what’s trending, or about getting people to buy things. She’s exploring ‘the fabric of a city’ in the fabric of what we wear and why, because our clothes have plenty of stories to tell.

Below, take a look at a day in her life, juggling work and her two kids, with the help of her husband Dean — who she calls a ‘superhero dad’ reminiscent of Bandit from Bluey!

First Thing

I normally wake up between 6:30 and 7.00am. Honestly, the first thing I do in the morning is check my phone, a habit I’m working on breaking. I’m a bit of a morning person, but it purely depends on sleep. With eight hours, I’m up and happy to start my day. On anything less (six is more typical at the moment) I snooze and roll over before dragging myself out of bed and washing my face.

My morning ritual is to make a matcha and eat homemade seed toast. Then I try to get to pilates a few times a week and kid drop-offs, unless I’m on a photographic work schedule, and then I’m at the mercy of the job requirements.


I’m always working by 9.00am, our office is on the bottom level of our home, so I’ll often go for a walk before I start, allowing for the physiological switch. I’ll only ever spend a whole day in the office though if I’m working to a hard deadline and my assistants need me.

The first few tasks of the day are really varied, but usually it’s getting through some emails or journaling. I typically prefer to finish any image editing on the same day, and I will often stay up late if I need to.


Lunch isn’t really my favourite meal of the day, so I normally eat a very basic, healthy lunch. Think avocado tacos with sauerkraut or soft-boiled eggs with salad, or Greek salad — a very uninspired lineup.


My afternoon schedule really depends on the day. If we’re shooting, it might be that, or packing equipment for a night event, reviewing or retouching images from the morning, working towards bigger research projects, meetings with clients, meetings internally, and sometimes posting on social, the list goes on.

I also have many different kits depending on the outcome I want for the job. Professionally, I shoot a 5D Mark 4 Canon mirrorless, and my preferred lens is a 24-70. I am also obsessed with my new Fujifilm T3. I have a few phones, a new film camera and I also love a Profoto B10.

I often get my energy from other people or particular projects, so I’m usually energetic in the afternoon, but also can be at any time of day, which is a little concerning at midnight or 1 am!


I tend to finish work anytime between 5.00pm and 2.00am. Last night it was 11 pm, tonight it will be 5.00pm.

We sit to eat for dinner as a family. Poppy (who is four) is our biggest limitation when it comes to food, so we are constantly trying to make things more interesting for us and keep her happy. Our dinners are mostly vegetarian, and we love to aim for thirty different vegetables a week with kids – but it rarely happens.

Then to unwind, I’ll read, write, drink orange wine with friends or crochet – a newfound hobby this winter! But to really switch off, I love going camping or to my parent’s home which is a farm in the middle of nowhere.

Last Thing:

Ideally I aim to get to sleep about 10.00 pm, but its more likely midnight. If I were asleep at my bedtime and woke up at 6.00 am every day, I’d be a happy, focused person!

Right now I’m listening to, watching, and reading…

Reading: Indistractable’ by Nir Eyal. I’m a notorious task switcher.

Watching: ‘Coronation Tailors: Fit For A King.’ I didn’t watch the coronation but I loved seeing the people behind the uniforms worn.

‘Cradle to Cradle’ by Michael Braggart and William McDonough. It’s about the cradle-to-grave product model and an alternative way of thinking.

I get my best work done when… I think about my intentions in advance.

My productivity tool/tip is… flight mode.

A philosophy I live and work by is… follow your curiosity.

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