Yulia Gorbachenko – Fashion and Beauty Photographer


(pulsing music) – Hello and welcome to
the i3 Lecture Series hosted by the Masters in
Digital Photography program at the School of Visual Arts. We are thrilled to have Yulia Gorbachenko as tonight’s guest speaker. Originally from Ukraine, Yulia is a fashion and beauty photographer based in New York City. We are particularly proud
that she’s a graduate of our program at SVA. In just a few short years she has built a really brilliant career
and that’s inspiring. Yulia’s editorials grace the
pages of magazines worldwide including international
editions of Harper’s Bazaar, Elle Magazine, Glamour, L’Officiel, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and InStyle. Her commercial clients include Clinique, Maybelline, Garnier, Guess, L’Oreal, Make Up For Ever, Il
Makiage and Sally Beauty. So please help me
welcome Yulia Gorbachenko to our lecture series. (audience clapping) – Thank you so much for coming. I’m very excited to be here because I’m graduate from SVA
Digital Photography program. And it’s been for me six
years since I graduated. It’s been a long way till now but I’m very proud I was
a part of the program and I’m very proud that I’m speaking now, that I wouldn’t imagine
me being here speaking in front of the audience. I started to doing photography, let’s see. I started doing photography
I would say eight years ago. Initially I’m from Ukraine, I did my year Bachelors in Marketing and Advertising and Linguistics, and came to the USA because I wanted to
stand out from the crowd, the other people who was doing
marketing and advertising. So I was thinking, okay,
I’ll come to the US, do my internship and then
come back to my own country, and I’ll have some advantages over those who just stayed in the Ukraine. I came to the US. I was working in American company and suddenly I was given a camera, it was a Canon Rebel XS I think. And because I was so bored,
I was living in Maryland, I just started taking pictures. First I took pictures of everything, of the people, nature
like literally everything. And I just got fascinated
by the photography. I would never believe anyone who would tell
me that I would become a fashion or beauty photographer or just photographer, I
would think is a joke. Because I never dreamt
to be a photographer. And then I started training myself, reading a lot during
the daytime, nighttime, editing just playing around. And I looked at other
photographer’s work that I admired. Those photographers were not
fashion photographers at all and I thought that photography
is such a great profession. I wish I could be one. And then suddenly I thought I was, I was advancing I would say in photography and I thought that it’s
really taking me somewhere. So, one day I told my parents, I think I was 20, 21 or 20. I don’t really remember. I want to become a photographer. And I’m very thankful to them that they didn’t say, “Hey, are you crazy?” Because I’m from Ukraine, I
think back then in Ukraine there wasn’t a profession
like photographer. They encouraged me, say, “Okay, if this is “what you really love to do, then do it.” I think it took me a
year to enhance my book, polish my style a little bit as I thought I had a style back then. And I figure out, okay, so photography. I love photography but what
kind of photography will I do? Finally decided I want to do
fashion and beauty photography. I applied, I built my book and I applied to SVA, and luckily I was accepted
and I moved to New York. I think this is when my journey
started with photography. And this is I think, this
image is very symbolic to me because this is what my
style looked like back then. I found out that there is this
continuous light and flash and I was experimenting a lot. And I thought back then that this is my style and that’s it. I’m doing continuous light
with all these crazy colors and this is going to be
my signature forever. It took me, I don’t know, maybe a year. I was doing this, some things
like this for a year at least while I was at school. And I loved it. I loved it but then after a year I think I got a little bit annoyed
already from all the movement. Maybe I grew up a little bit too, so my character evolved
and changed over time. Then this image I think
won competition at PDN and it was published, and one of their big
makeup artist contacted me and said, her agent contacted
me back then and said, “Hey Yulia, will you
be interested in doing “a beauty shoot with our makeup artist?” I looked up her work and her
work was just unbelievable and I was thinking okay,
why would this artist will want to shoot with me at all because she’s there and I’m here? So I thought of course,
I would love to do it. I came to the meeting and she asked me if I want to do beauty with her. So of course, I just jumped
on the boat opportunity and we did a few shoots together. I think this image brought
me to the beauty photography because before I was doing mostly fashion. I started doing beauty with her and we were doing lots of good stuff. This was done in the early
beginning of my beauty career and this image, and these
three images were just the beginning of my beauty journey. And then I realized when I
started doing beauty photography I realized that I’m so good in beauty because in fashion to do
good fashion photography, it takes so much, not
only the said design, it involves also good clothes. I didn’t have any
connections to any magazines so it was me, makeup artist. We’ll get a model, a makeup
artist, a hairstylist but I didn’t have a strong book. I couldn’t get a pull
letter for the magazine. So I decided, okay, I better if I can’t use high end clothing so let me do just beauty shots which will be on a good high level instead of doing fashion
shots that are just okay. Maybe my beauty work
will just bring me up. This is basically what we did all the time for another given a year. I don’t remember exactly
how much time it took me but I was getting good models, not as big as I can
get now but good models and concentrating on tight beauty stories, beauty shots even not
beauty stories I would say. And then I thought that
my work progressed a lot so it was makeup-oriented. I was experimenting with makeup. Then I got to clean beauty which was just taking beautiful girls and getting clean stuff. It’s not something crazy but I think that in simplicity because I couldn’t get any clothing simplicity, I could get with my work higher. Only when I started doing
some simple things like this and then with cosmetics as well, I was able to get better girls, work with a better makeup
artist and a better hairstylist, and people started to reach out to me that they want to work with me. I thought that with my beauty works, I step up few steps above my fashion work and I loved it. I think I was… I’m a person who’s really detail-oriented, like little details, I care
about nails, about manicure, about just little wrinkles. I don’t know, like little
perfections or imperfections. My eyes see it more and I think over time you
just get trained so much because you look so much
into all these details. This is a start of my beauty journey just simple, beautiful images with a simple light and beautiful girls. And I’m obsessed with hands as well so my rule about the hands,
if they’re good hands I would use them for sure. And then also the macro shots. I was doing along with the simple beauty macro photography
as well which I liked. So my work evolved. Then I’ll talk about my creative process, how I got to this. What do I usually do in my everyday life. I follow industry news. I think Instagram is so fantastic and just all these fashion blogs, so cool because you can go online and everyday you have so many
editorials that are coming out and you can see who is doing what. And just get inspired, see
what other people are doing. And just the more you look,
the more you train your eyes. I follow other photographers,
good photographers but let’s not try to copy them because inspiration is one thing and I admire many photographers but I never copy because I
need to develop my own style. Everyday when I look through like blogs or like industry news, I
gather my inspirations. I have this folder in my computer which is called inspirations. I have, I don’t know how
many folders I have there. 50, 70, I don’t know. Every time I see an
image for example of red like a beautiful outfit, red lips or interesting red eyes on the girl, I pull out this image and
put in a folder called red. If there is a wet image, when
her, model’s face is shiny and she’s all wet, done in interesting way I’ll pull it out put in
the folder called wet. Then coming back when I need to pull, to get a mood board for the story that is full of reds or wet, I just go to the folder and I have already like 50 images there that I can just pull instead of just sitting there and going through all photographer’s work, and getting ideas together. I think it’s also very helpful to pull those inspirations everyday or not everyday, just once a week. Once you see something it
just doesn’t take you time just to get your ideas into the folders. This is what I do everyday, see it. Or now with Instagram on
the phone I do print screens and then go on them on my laptop and find where was it from so I can drag it to my
here, laptop and save. Because then over time you forget but if you have it, you will never forget. You’ll go back for it over time, Then I brainstorm ideas consistently because as it says, don’t wait for someone to reach
out to you, do it yourself. When I for example a folder of
this wet images of the girls and I think okay, this
is and then over time, the idea develops in my head
how I would like to do it. I get these mood boards together and I reach out to the
magazines with an idea, so I can send them three mood boards, I can send them five mood boards, I can send them seven
mood boards or even two. Depends on where my mind is but those ideas should be
really formed in your head what exactly you would like
to send out in your own style. It’s very difficult to
put what you have in mind into the mood board but you have to try to do your best just to translate your
ideas into mood board. And when you said mood board it’s not that you try to copy it but the editor, they need to see what story they will have in the end. Then I’m very open to criticism, it can be helpful but also
I’ve received quite a lot of critics from friends and colleagues and just people I know. But also you need to understand that you need to stick to your values, what you think is best for you. For example, I’m beauty photographer and many people were pushing
me to shoot for fashion and I’m telling them I love fashion but I’m not going, even if
it’s for good magazine now, I’m not going to do
it, I’m not feeling it. It’s not the thing that I’m obsessed with, that I’m willing to do right now. I’m just loving something else, something tighter, some little details. Maybe it will change over time, maybe it will change in months or maybe it will change in five years. I don’t know but I don’t
create something that I’m not obsessed with. I know my strengths, I know
that beauty is my thing so I’m very confident with that, so I don’t go anywhere else at the moment. I just polish, polish, polish my style. As I said, set yourself
projects to build your book and polish your own style. In before the images that
you’ve seen in clean images or the images with makeup, nobody came to me and said, “Hey Yulia, would you like to do it?” I set up the shoot, I brainstorm ideas, we got with a team together. We did the shoot, we did the retouching and only then I started to
submit it to the magazines. And that’s when I got published, started publishing in Marie
Claire or Elle Magazines or Harper’s Bazaar. They were in the full stories. First, there were some
pictures here and there and then only then I was
able to submit the stories. But this is how I started
by submitting the stories that I already have. And then when I had and those images were without the styling. They were just simple images but at least at my book I had already some consistent series. Then experiment. All my, I can’t say career, all my photography light
I try to experiment with my style, with my lighting, with models, with angles. So just don’t be afraid and
push yourself to the limits because in the end it’s you and your work and it needs to standout, it
needs to speak for itself. After I got the series of images that I could present to the magazine, I started sending the mood boards and I started shooting
these series of images which I think is very
important to understand when you have a clear concept in mind how to do the series that are cohesive and that read together. And I tried to come up for example, this series were shot for Harper’s Bazaar, for Harper’s Bazaar. And when I think of this series, for example, this is here
the example of the series that are shot on the neutral background, more for portraiture style. Sometimes I like to zoom in, zoom out, play with different crops. But sometimes when I have
some concept I really like when they say like in a portraiture style. Here this is more for like geometric and like sleek hair, geometric and I stayed for example here cohesive and consistent with the hands. Once I saw that the model’s
hands are fantastic, she’s so good at having her hands, and I started to, the thing about the shoot
is think it’s the hands, how weirdly she can place them. I think they add so much. I think when I have
three images with hands or four that will be very strange not to have the fifth
image without the hands. The lesson here if you
started doing the hands and it reads well with the story, you just have to kind of continue with it, and allow how the crops,
it’s pretty much the same more for portraiture style here as well. Neutral background, I just
didn’t see in this series adding different background
or zooming in, zooming out. I love how images look the same in terms of proportions. For example, in this one I thought okay, having portraits all the time is boring, sometimes it’s cool to
zoom in and zoom out. For example, these were some close ups. Sometimes I love to zoom
out just to have them, to have some interest and
zoom in again into the image. Same here, like three images are close up and then zoom out just for the interest so the viewer can, so the page can read more
interesting in the magazines. But sometimes it works,
sometimes it doesn’t. You just need to think over
all these details before. When I get my mood board
together then I think of okay, when I go to the set I know exactly what light I’ll be using. And I know if I’m going
to do all the close ups so I want to zoom out. This is also very important
for the stylist to know how you’re going to shoot it because maybe this dress won’t look good if I cropped it in. It would look too simple. Or maybe if I zoom out on that dress it won’t be as interesting as well. The stylist you have to get
some idea to the stylist what are you doing. And then after that also now I tried, I’m trying to push myself
to shoot more on location because beauty is so studio and I love studio but when I started out I think I would shoot in a lot on location because I didn’t have
so many lights with me and I just loved all these, what unexpected moments
the location will bring. But then I locked myself in the studio, was doing quite a lot there. I was thinking, okay, that’s it, let’s and it were some, all the
stories were shot in fall, in the beginning of the fall. I was thinking okay, that’s it. I need to use locations
as much as possible. This one was shot on location. We just came out and this
one was shot also in location even though sometimes it’s, you can’t tell if this is location or not because it’s so close this image but these all was in a couch
in one of the location. And that’s so funny because
this one it was the last shot when the sun was going out. So okay, I need to get one
more shot just in case. We went out, I put the
light against the sky so this image I shot in one, I think it took me two
minutes just to get that shot. It was just so perfect and
I like how the background fits in into the story. It’s the same theme which is the lace but the backgrounds are
different which adds the elements and I like it a lot now
to just mix and match. For example, in fashion when
I see fashion photographers doing studio work and combining it with the fashion outside, I really, really like that. But for beauty, I don’t
have usually so many pages, I have like five to six pages and it’s not the 15-page story. Sometimes it’s tricky to combine both but for some stories it worked just to experiment with backgrounds. Then let’s talk about lighting, how I started with my lighting. First, I didn’t have any lights. I was using outside for my shoots a lot and then I got myself two lights which I was taking everywhere I went. It was a beauty dish and one will light I don’t know, for lean and just in case, I would
say one or two lights. I think that it’s very
important to understand those two lights first, and do your best with those two lights because once you know
how to use two lights, it will be so easy to add
one more and one more. But I think with two lights
I’ve shot for few years because this is all I had. I was traveling with those
few lights on subway, just everywhere I went. And I think it played a really big role that now I know those two lights and I can add now and I
know exactly what I’m doing. I also have a folder in my inspirations which is the lighting references. There are like projections. When I see some fashion,
beauty images with projections which I will do soon I think, so I put them there or
if there is a Picolite which I love as well using. I would put those inspirations with the interesting lighting to the folder. When I’m shooting some story, sometimes I would go to
them lighting references even though sometimes I
know already what I want, but I would go still to
the lighting references and look through like hundred images which has different interesting lighting just to see, just to see
if there is something I could add to the shoot. I would gather a lot
of lighting references that are available in the internet. Then watching tutorials
and behind the scenes, I think internet is so fantastic now because all these photographers, huge photographers are posing
behind the scenes videos of what they are doing, and sometimes it’s just one light or sometimes it’s just two lights. And even though the images
look just fantastic. Just watch what other people are doing just to have an idea, educate yourself. I still do, I still go into the internet and watch those tutorials,
behind the scenes. It’s very helpful
especially the photographers are so open with sharing. In almost every shoot myself, I have behind the scenes photographer who shoots behind the
scenes images for myself and then I post them. So you could see what I’m doing
and I’m very open to share because there are no
hidden secrets in lighting. It’s just a tool to translate your vision. And I think that one of, I think it’s the best advice I think that I can give to anyone
who wants to do photography. And I think it worked for me very well, it’s just practice. Just shoot a lot. I think, well, looking back
even like two years ago I wasn’t as good as I’m now or four years ago I’m not, I
wasn’t as good as two years because I just think
practicing consistently just you polish your style so much. You train yourself, you
think with the practice, your style is polished. Not just sit and look in image
or like this or like that, just with real life situations. You learn from the people, you
learn from situations on set of what can happen. I think practice is the best advice if you want to get better. The more you shoot, the better you become. Besides of course, the talent but for me like practicing
and shooting so much helped tremendously. Okay. With the lighting, what do we have? These images for example were
shot with just one light. I just want to show you that what kind of stuff
you can do with one light and most of my work is just
one, two, three lights. It’s not a lot even
though I can have more out but this is just one light, this is like one light
against the sunset, micro, just simple portrait. It’s very easy. And in these ones I was
using the Para from Broncolor which is my go-to tool
for this kind of shots. This is two lights. Also looks a little
like gels and (mumbles) but it’s just two light. You move them around,
you see how they look, if you put them in front it’s softer. On top it’s hotter and just move, I just move it around and see what works best for the shot. And this is I think my go-to
lighting is three lights. They’re all the same,
pretty much similar set up. What’s the difference now that
I put two lights on the back to control the intensity
of the background. This is on the harder, this is the less light on
the back in the middle. It’s the same pretty much setup, just different intensity
on the background. Now I really love to control it, before I was playing with the background by placing the beauty
dish how it will fall. If you’re closer to the
background so it will be lighter, if you’re further away so its darker. Now since I have the lights, it’s so much easier to control it and that’s what I do
or just in no lighting, these images were shot with no lighting, just reflectors and nothing else. Very, very easy. No lighting at all. Once I think, when I just, I didn’t even move to New York back then. I wanted to assist one of
the fashion photographers and I showed up to him
with my electronic book, with my book and showed him, there was one model, I
can’t even say it’s a model. Okay, it’s one model and
she’s in 10 different poses same everything, same outfit, kind of different expression. And he looked at my book,
I tried to get internship. He thought, “Yulia, I’ll
give you one advice. “Just get better models. “You’re good in photography
but get better models.” For me, I thought okay, I understood him and I took that advice seriously but it’s very hard to get
good girls in the beginning because you don’t have your book. Nobody knows you. With time, I think I took the
girls that were good looking, they were not top girls and I tried to get the best of them. For example, if their
chin was heavy for example I would shoot really tight but my main result, my main goal was to, for them to look beautiful in my book. And over time I think just getting, getting better, better girls because no matter how good I am, makeup artist, hairstylist,
the whole team, if you don’t have a good model, you don’t have a strong shoot. But to get to those girls, you need to, well, I had to. I don’t know, maybe
someone has bad examples when they were able to jump
into good girls faster, but for me it was just a
long growth of building up and getting better and
better casting for my shoots. Well, this is the best. Practice I think the best advice and I think the models. Just try to get better models because no model, no shoot. Yes, for me now even if I know I don’t have a girl for the
shoot, I better cancel now because I now already
have so much in my book, so if the model is not
going to add to my book, I’m not doing it. Then I, in many of my stories, I try to add unexpected
moments to the shoot, just something that is
these beautiful poses and then something that just breaks, breaks the story in a good way. This just looks like unexpected moments but at least these two they were expected. I told them to smile but very, but in a very believable way. It took some time, not
long but they did it. Doesn’t look staged but
it was pretty much staged but they were so good
and we made them laugh so they laughed. I love doing this like
smiling, smiling images, just love, love, love that. Then playing with your crop. Having a little bit of
background on the top, cropping half of the face off. Just playing with all these cool crops. Sometimes it works and it looks cool, sometimes it doesn’t. And for me, I know that I need to get that crop in the camera. If I didn’t get in the camera, I’m just so bad in cropping
when it’s already done. I just don’t see it as
much, I don’t like to crop. Like shooting the whole
image then cropping, no, I need to get it in the camera. Most of my images I think, I would say 95% of the crops that I have were done in the camera. Because then when you look
through all these images when you pick the shot, I don’t see, immediately you see the final. I don’t see it being cropped after. I need the final in my camera. And if you know me a little bit, you know that I’m crazy about hands. Now when casting I’m just okay, can we get a good girl with good hands and if I have good hands, I can do so much with hands. Around the face, around her body, just I’m obsessed with hands, with manicure, with different hand poses. I just love to play with it and I think hands add so much
to the beauty photography. Then being creative. I think some of my images
are very clean which I love. I love clean, I like
timeless, I like clean. I like just timeless images but sometimes I feel like
expressing myself more and it’s by doing the things
you think are cool for you. A curtain of the hair and putting on her, just even that it was itchy for her but that’s okay, she suffered
a little bit, we got the shot. And then this project that
I have the whole series with the manicure where we colored the fruits in different colors. This was a personal project that makeup artists and I had in our mind. We got together in the studio. Well, actually my house,
not even the studio but it’s a big house I had back then. Got the nail, the
manicurist, the nail model and got the whole series that I just love those series when
we colored all the fruits. This one is for, was for
models that come as well. We wanted the flowers around the face and I have the whole series of the flowers on her body, on the face, everywhere. Just breaking in. Because I think when you
look at somebody’s work and it’s all these clean images, I think it can get
pretty boring over time. Sometimes it’s good to just cut it and have something
unexpected in your book. Even when I take my book to see, for the clients to see. First, I have very relevant images if I’m going for the meeting
with a cosmetic company, I would always have like
relevant cosmetic images that will be very relevant in terms of style for the client to see. But in the very end, I will
have something that will say who I am, what I like to do and clients like to see that, that you can express
yourself in different ways. I put this kind of stuff
in the very end of the book and not a lot, just few images so they could see that
what you have in mind besides all these commercial work. And not the last, but which is extremely, extremely, extremely
important is retouching. I don’t retouch myself. I did but I didn’t do a
good job, I didn’t like it. I didn’t do a good job. I was spending hours
doing it and I hated it– – [Audience Member] Didn’t
like it as student either. – Yes, yes. That’s when I retouched, tried to. I will sit in the computer
and just trying to do it. And in the end, it didn’t look good. I wasn’t just good at it
and I think you get better. You have to have the taste and you have to do it all the
time to become good at it. I didn’t want to waste my time because it’s not what I love to do. First, I used some retouches, now I have few retouches
consistently that I use because with retouching, I
think this is your style also because if you have
this whole amazing story and then retouching doesn’t do a good job, it’s a bummer for everyone including makeup, hairstylist and now all the people in the industry, they know what the good retouching is. If we have all these amazing results and I then deliver bad images nobody will want to work with me. So it’s my job to make sure that retouching looks at its best and everyone expects from
photographer to do it. If you can do it, do it. Practice, love it, experiment with the
retouching, get better. If you don’t do a good job and you don’t love it, don’t do it. So I don’t do it because I did a bad job. But I know, but I know what I want exactly so I know, it’s not that
I send out to retouch, to do whatever I want. No, I stay, I make little comments. Make the nose smaller, make
the nails a little longer, make her neck slimmer. I make all those different comments and I spend hours like commenting, doing through rounds of retouching. And it’s good to have your one retouch or two retouches that you like so they know your kind
of style that you like. So, you have to just mention, now I just mention few little things that my retoucher won’t think of. But usually now it’s very easy because she knows exactly what I like. So very, very, very important and I think especially
in beauty like coloring and for example, how
we desaturated the skin so the makeup and her
eyes could pop up more. Just all these little details, I think also retoucher got
better over time with me as well. Then we are going to talk
about the editing the story, how I do it, how I produce it and what do I do on set. We shoot, we started shooting, for example, I know I have to deliver five or six final images to
the magazine or to the client. We start shooting and I’m
a pretty fast shooter. I think I’m fast. We’re shooting and then I stop, I’m shooting then I stop. I look through the images. I see what we got. If I see that I got the shot that I want, so I flick for example
two images that I love or three images that I love. I tag them and then I pick the best shots. I try to pick the best shot in the end of the look that I’m shooting, that I know exactly what I got. If I didn’t get it, I shoot again but I pick the shot in the spot so, I could take an opinion
of the makeup artist, hairstylist, stylist because it’s a collaboration. Everyone needs to like the image and sometimes makeup artist or stylist see something that I don’t see, for example, there are
wrinkles on the clothing that I won’t be able to remove and post, so this doesn’t work. And then I see that wrinkle,
of course it doesn’t work. Or there is just hair sticking out. Someway you won’t be able
to fix it so we shoot more and sometimes it’s the perfect
shot but something is off, so we can stage the
same kind of pose again. Sometimes we’re able to do the same, sometimes you shoot,
you try to get the same but it’s not the same. Just trying to get the best shot in the end of each session. Then we were talking about the crop. When I plan the story, I plan okay, they’re like portraiture style so everything is going to
be the same kind of crop or is there going to
be like three quarters and then close ups. All of these I try to,
I plan, I don’t try. I just plan it before. Of course I can modify
something along the way, how it goes when I see okay, this clothing just doesn’t
work for full body, let’s do something closer. But plan as much as you can before but don’t get stuck if
something doesn’t work. For example, if I was thinking okay, I’m going to do this contrast lighting, this harsh lighting, I get on the set. I set up everything and
it works on the assistant, the assistant looks good in that lighting but the model comes in, and she just doesn’t look
good in that lighting. Be very flexible to modify the lighting based on the clothing, on
the model, on her mood. Just the whole vibe onset. I plan as much as I can but I’m very much open minded on set, on how I can change it depending on how the story flows. Then if I see that I
have all these closeups and the one three quarters and it’s kind of, so sometimes I try to
get two, three quarters so there is not just one shot that is or just plan accordingly. I’m listening to my team, of course I trust my instinct in the end what to pick, which image to pick but I select the people
that I love to work with. I select them based on the
images they have in their book and they have them because of their taste. I trust their taste. I would listen to makeup
or hair or manicurist on what they have to add to the process of for example, sending inspirations. When I send inspirations
to the makeup artist say, okay, this is the mood board. This is the direction
but don’t do the same. This is just idea. I want you to come up
with something unique that will be you and us, not just don’t copy the thing. I trust them in selecting the images. If hairstylist says, “Oh, okay
just I don’t love this image, “I’m not going to use it in my book.” Try to reach the compromise
of the images that you’d like to see in the end. And I think you pick
the team that you like so your tastes are a little bit I think they are similar taste to you. For me I think in the end, we come up with the same
kind of image that we like for example, from 50
images we like two images. Those two images are
the same that they like. I think it’s not the coincidence, it’s just a matter of taste and how you pick your team. I don’t usually, we don’t usually argue. When we see the shot,
everyone sees the shot. It’s the shot, let’s move on. Let’s not waste our time on the shot. And don’t show anything
that you don’t like. I know sometimes you,
there are five beautiful or three beautiful shots, you don’t know what to pick, and sometimes thinking okay, I’m going to show this to
the editor and let them pick. But if I do that I don’t send something that I would not like to see in the end because they’re going to pick that shot and you’ll hate them. Because I think anything, if
something goes wrong on the set it’s photographer’s responsibility. If makeup artist is bad
or hairstylist is bad or something happened on the set, even if it’s not photographer’s fault, in the end it’s my fault. This is how it goes always. Same if I pick, if someone picks the shot, edits or picks the shot
that the crew doesn’t like, they’ll think this is in the end my work, it’s my name is going to be there. I just don’t send anything
that I don’t like. And if we shot something
and the results is just, sometimes it happens,
it doesn’t happen often but it does happen that
you are not satisfied. At this stage of my career, I just don’t run it. I just say sorry, this is their situation. This is how it went, I don’t want to put just work out there. If we are going to do
it, it needs to be on the higher level or the same
level that we are now. I just don’t retouches,
I don’t put it out there. We just kill the story and that’s okay and we move on, we make
new beautiful images. Just try with your work to
be very, very consistent and try to push yourself every time. Now what’s my favorite
story if you would ask me, it’s my last stories because I put so much
effort on the last stories like thinking about it all the time. Waking up in the middle
of the night thinking, like thinking in the morning,
in the shower, everywhere. The stories that are in
the past I like them but I just got tired of them. So now in my mind something new, my favorite stories are always
the last stories that I did because they’re fresh and
I want to share with them, I just got inspired by them. Yes and thank you so much. (audience clapping) So, you’re welcome to
ask me any questions. I try to explain my way to who I am because now it’s easy to say what I do. But I think it’s very important to understand how I
came to where I am now. I think there is still
so much more work to do in the future and I’m so excited to see what the future holds. But I don’t believe in luck at all, well, there is some luck but I believe in hard work
and training yourself, in polishing your style,
in meeting new people and just developing yourself as a person because I’m not the same person I was six years ago when I was here. Just develop yourself, build yourself. Just get inspired and just
move forward all the time. – [Man] We have time for a short Q&A, I’ll pass around the mic, please use it, it’s for the video. (snickers) – [Audience Member] Hi,
thank you for sharing with us all of your great work, you know? A lot of us are in the program now and I just want to ask you a question. What was your transition like? When you graduated from the program you said, all right, I’m going to do this, I need to make this work.
– Yes. – [Audience Member] What
was that like for you? What was the process? How’d you feel going
through those moments? – The process I developed,
I shot a lot for myself, just doing simple beauty work. Submitting this beauty
work to the magazines even though it wasn’t full beauty story. Just submitting. You would go to my
website and you see okay, she got published in Elle or she got published in Marie Claire or she published anywhere. It didn’t matter the country. I just wanted to be a
published photographer. And then when I was published photographer and I reached out to the magazines, they were able to give me the pull letter and I was able to pull clothing that you can see now
in a lot of my shoots. But I think what I did,
I just kept on shooting. Kept on generating ideas, kept
on brainstorming those ideas, kept on reaching out to the hairstylist, to the manicurist and
doing my own body of work that will read me, will be classy. And sometimes if I didn’t a good model I always think, okay, I
don’t have a good face, I would shoot just hands. Because in the end, your work needs to be just the high level and I think in high level beauty, I was very lucky to love beauty, but I think in beauty to
reach the great image, good quality, even clean
image is much easier than to do this fantastic (sneezes)
high end, bless you, photo shoot, a fashion shoot. For me, it was the most important, even if it’s simple but
it needs to be high end. It needs to be classy,
it needs to be beautiful. It needs to stay to the standards. I didn’t want to do
something with the clothes of a known brands that
didn’t look like anything but just to have them. I will shoot girls with
no clothing, cut them off but have a just high standard image. And only when I was able
to get pull letters, and get Prada, MioMio,
whatever, all these brands, I would shoot fashion,
include fashion as well. I just kept on shooting, kept
on brainstorming consistently and pushing myself to new ideas, coming up with ideas to
makeup artists, to anyone. Yes. – [Audience Member] Hi there. – Hello.
– Hello. I’m curious, (mumbles). It’s awesome you really
made the point of shooting a lot of personal work
especially starting out and putting that and
building that book up. At this stage of where you are right now, what’s the percentage do you think of jobs that you’re getting that are commissioned from publications versus still projects that you’re doing with other people in your team, and then you’re submitting those stories around where you think they might fit? – Yeah. Now, I think all my work
is based on the magazines. So magazines, I send them out ideas so they come up to me, some magazines do come up to me finally. It took many years but some
really write to me sometimes. But still I’m pushing myself
to them as well all the time. Now it’s mostly all
commissioned by the publications because with publications,
I can get good girls. I can get big girls. Because if I go to the, and I can get clothing that
even to the beauty shoot they add so much, the styling add so much. Because I can’t have styling
without the pull letter and pull letter I can have
only with the magazine. Now mostly it’s the work for the magazines but still, all those ideas are my ideas. I submit to the magazine and there they pick one of my idea,
so it’s still personal because with the magazines
you can get so much creative, it’s still you. You just have access to big models, great makeup artists and hairstylists. For example, makeup
artist she has a choice to shoot for Harper’s
Bazaar or just nothing so she would go for Harper’s Bazaar. Because I have with the magazines, you have so much more access
to the things that you can do. Mostly but for example right
now was following one model, she’s super young, she just
signed with Yves Saint Laurent and she’s from Israel but
now she’s in New York. She doesn’t have, she has
just few images in her book but she’s just fantastic. She’s new, nobody shoots her so I saw in her Instagram
that she’s in New York so I messaged to the stylist that I know and then to the makeup,
would you be interested just to shoot her? Even if we don’t have the publication will you be interested
because she’ll be in a year because she’s so young,
she’s maybe 16 or 15. But maybe in two years she’ll be big, it’s one of the most beautiful
girls I’ve ever seen. I’ll do it. If I see that face, like I’ll do it, I’m doing it that next week because she’ll be big, I just see it. I’ve been following her,
I want her, I’ll do it. – Hi.
– Hello. – [Audience Member] A question I think could be interesting for us
that are not from New York, how did you start your connection? Like networking, how, I
think that’s my question. (snickers) Thank you. – That’s with people or with
magazines or with anyone? Anyone?
– Mostly, yeah. People, magazine. – I think now Instagram
is such a fantastic tool. Now everyone follows, like
people follow each other. They follow, we see
each other’s work a lot so I can write a message
in Instagram to someone. Even not email, sometimes
I would use email but I think if it’s just not the agency, if it’s just a creative person, I would just write a message
in Instagram approach and say, “Hey, I love your work.” Or I can just comment, hey,
your work is fantastic, I would love to collaborate. Or just shoot in the end message. And even with some magazine when I have an email which is an email but it happened to me
that with few magazines when I couldn’t find the
content in the internet, I just looked and looked, I
couldn’t find the beauty ad or editor-in-chief, I just couldn’t find. And so, I was okay, I’m going to write. It was I think Instagram. Yes, I wrote to a few people and out of 10 for example that I wrote, maybe one responded but they respond. Some people respond
only from the internet. But with now I try to find the contact in the internet of some people. There are so many emails
there that you will, would never, you just need to look for it. In Harper’s Bazaar something then you go, you see the name of the editor and sometimes there is even an email. Or if there is no email but
email of the other person, you can kind of guess how you can form the email of the beauty. So they put first name and
last name add blah, blah, blah. I write and there is beauty
editor or someone else that there is just a name. You form the same and it works. Just research, see it in, see it in, look for contacts because
they are not for everyone but you can find so much
just for researching. And building your team,
just meet with people. Sometimes I go for coffee with people and someone is reaching out to me and say, “Hey, I would love to work with you. “Let’s go, let’s meet for coffee.” I would go for coffee sometimes but I feel when I see the work, I don’t even need to go for
coffee with that person. I feel that if this work, I see already the people
they are by their work. I think even before going to coffee, you know you will want
to work with that person because this is their work or you will not want to
work with that person. I still go for coffee but I know, I know. I know before the coffee happens if it’s going to happen or no. – [Audience Member] Hi. – Hello. – [Man] No, no, no. It’s good to hear. – [Audience Member] Hi,
thanks for showing your work and like, for the photos, how do you shoot exterior photos and as well the, how do you
arrange your photo shoots? – How do I arrange? – [Audience Member] Yeah,
yeah, photo shoot and yeah. – Logistically? – [Audience Member] Like
when you shoot exterior. – Outside? – [Audience Member] Yeah
with lights of course. – One of the shoots I’ve
shot in the New Jersey there were two buildings. One is called Hamilton House and another one The Oakman. So I contacted, they’re
brand new luxury buildings so I contact the management and say, “Hey, I’m beauty and fashion photographer “shooting this fantastic model “that is just going to blow your mind. “And it’s going to be a social
media, it’s so strong now. “You have to have your reputation up “so please allow me to use the space. “It will be nice, we’ll will be quiet. “I’ll give you credit everywhere.” And just contact them. Same for the motel that I had
connection with the stylist and she got connection with the motel. We got in contact with the motel and just asked them if
we could shoot there. Just reach out to the
managers and ask them if and sometimes there is a no. They say no, sorry guys. Or sometimes, hey, you have to pay $3,000 and you say okay, no.
(audience laughs) But I think in this kind of business, you just have to push yourself and there are so many no’s. With time you get insulted first but then you care but
you don’t care as much. Okay, I’ll try more. So same with the editors. I send the messages to so many people and I don’t hear back. So what do you do? You don’t get upset, you
just continue on trying. Write again a follow up in six months. Okay, this is my new
work, please take a look. So just explore or if you’ve seen that some photographer that you know, someone chat there so ask them. Don’t hesitate to ask because
I think it’s very important when we are photographers just
to be friends to each other. Just give advices, give
contacts, just share information because we’re in the same boat. I don’t believe in competition that much. It’s you and your work, if you’re good, you’re going to be paid. You’re going to progress and I think it’s so fantastic
if we progress together, we become great
photographers all the time. – [Audience Member] How about
like permits and your research like when you planned,
before you plan to shoot? Your outside photography or whatever.
– How I trained before? – [Audience Member] Like
research development or like think of getting a permit. – I didn’t shoot that
much in public spaces, it was more for buildings or the motels. I didn’t get any permits
for that, I have insurance just in case if something happens, if some light falls on someone. I think it’s not that much money, I think it’s maybe $50
a month or something. But in this country I think
it’s better safe than sorry and I’ve been paying it for many years and I feel okay, maybe
even it’s 100 a month, I don’t remember but I feel you don’t mess up with insurance, you don’t and taxes, so don’t. Get yourself insurance but permits, I didn’t get any because I had
the yes from the management. Yes. – [Audience Member] I’m
curious about the retouching. – Yes. – [Audience Member] Are
you working with people here in the United States
or is it like international? – I have this retoucher
for four or five years that I’ve been working a lot. It’s 100Berlin Retouching, I love her and I think we started talking together but I think her work was even
better than mine was before, and still it’s pretty good. We started out together,
we worked together so much so she helps me out on editorials. I give her my commercial clients and then I have a few
more retouches as well which I love, which I use sometimes but I have this main core retoucher that I would use for most of my work. Just building the book
together and growing together. – [Audience Member] I actually
did, thank you (mumbles). I did have a question. – [Audience Member] There you go. – Oh and she’s in Berlin. She’s Berlin, she expanded
into France so she’s overseas. – [Audience Member] You
know, to the international aspect of this, I was really impressed when I was reading through your bio and you shoot for Harper’s Bazaar but it’s Harper’s Bazaar
Ukraine or Harper’s Germany and you know, five other
international versions of Bazaar and the same with Elle Magazine and the same with Marie Claire. It can’t be a coincidence. I mean, how do you orchestrate
this international? – I write emails, I reach out. They didn’t come to me, I
wrote an email, an introduction and say hey, I would
love to shoot with you. I’m this, look at my work. Look what I can do for you. This is the mood boards, this is my team, I can get this team. And sometimes if I have
a (mumbles) to cast I can get you this girl. So I approach them, I write to them. To Ukraine, I’m originally from Ukraine so I wrote to but this wasn’t
my first Harper’s Bazaar. I think Harper’s Bazaar Kazakhstan was my first Harper’s Bazaar and they helped me tremendously
to build my book up, to get my book together, to allow me to use their name, to bring great models on set, and to create great stories for them. So, I reached out to them
and say hey, I would love to and they gave me a chance. They love the outcome and I
still continue shooting for them because this is the way
I can express myself through all those beauty
stories that I do to them. But now some people reach out to me, some but I still do my
whole work all the time. Every few weeks I just
reach out with mood boards and mood boards take a lot of time just to brainstorm ideas, to put them in, and you need to make sure and I’m still learning how to do it, how to impress with your mood boards. Because something can be in my head but it needs to read
well in the mood board. Because before I underestimated, okay, I would just put images together, okay, here you are, look. No, now you need to
really make it look nice so people would get exactly
what you want to shoot. – [Man] Anybody else? Thank you, Yulia. – Thank you. (audience clapping)

9 Replies to “Yulia Gorbachenko – Fashion and Beauty Photographer”

  1. How many pictures on your book? I love your art. You do inspires me. I was given up on my photography after 20+ for doing the same images.😎

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