Ksenia Rybka: “A nice present from a destiny,”I thought and began using it to create my first photos
Ksenia, could you please briefly introduce yourself, and tell us about your first encounter with photography?
My name is Ksenia Rybka, I’m a fashion and beauty photographer. My grandfather was the first in our family who be into photography. He had an old film camera from the middle of the last century, jars with reagents, and a red lamp to work with negatives. I still use some of his lenses to create a retro effect on my photos.
However, my passion for photography started in adulthood and by pure chance. I was 28 when my husband found a box with a brand-new Nikon DSLR camera in our country house. Nobody knew where it came from or who it belonged to. “A nice present from a destiny,” I thought and began using it to create my first photos and started my way to the world of professional photography.
What has been your most successful moment to date in your career so far?
Actually, I had a lot of exciting events in my career, such as photo contest wins, magazine covers, my first publication on PhotoVogue, fashion shows, my debut as a lecturer at a photo festival, shoots for known brands, and so on. All these events were without any doubt very pleasant and inspiring milestones in my life, but I believe that even more great moments in my career are is still ahead.
How do you manage to make your models feel comfortable in front of the camera?
I always try to get to know a model in advance, we chat on social media, I send her/him a mood board and other information regarding an upcoming shoot, and introduce other team members. Talking about important commercial shoots, we can have a pre-shoot to get used to each other. On smaller shoots, I ask a model to come 30 minutes earlier just to have time to relax and talk on abstract topics over a cup of coffee or tea.
During the shooting, I continue to communicate with the model, encourage her/him or correct if necessary. I also show her/him pictures on the go through a computer or on the camera display. And my main secret is music - I always turn on background music to create a proper mood.
Describe please a day at a shoot, what happens and what is the trick to capturing a great shot?
Though it may seem strange, a fashion or beauty project does not start on the day of shooting. It actually starts much in advance. I believe that the main part of any project is preproduction rather than shooting itself. It includes thinking through the concept, location, lighting, choosing models and other team members, and all other things that may seem boring at a first glance but in fact, provide 90% of success. So on the day of a shoot, you just follow your plan and enjoy the result!
What do you look for in a creative team? What key skills are you looking for to ensure you are picking the best artists to work with?
First of all, I pay attention to a professional portfolio. Secondly - recommendations from others. I prefer specialists who stay for the entire shoot and can fix clothing or make-up on the go. I also appreciate soft skills such as sociability, punctuality, and politeness.
Every specialist should be focused on an overall good result, instead of pulling the blanket over himself and trying to demonstrate what a good specialist he or she is. The key of success is teamwork.
What would be some tips you would give to a beginning photographer?
Your best investment is not an expensive camera or lighting equipment. Invest in yourself - take a basic photography course and choose a specific genre you want to work in. Believe in yourself and practice more. Make photography your passion, not just your everyday routine. Keep experimenting and never give up!
What would be your tips/advice to models looking to expand their portfolio?
In the early times of the fashion industry, some people thought that models were just mannequins for garments and accessories. That was never true of course, but I can still hear this opinion from people out of the industry from time to time.
Nowadays, the most successful models are extremely charismatic and full of personality - they are not just pretty good-looking girls. It’s important to express a fashion brand philosophy through a model’s emotions and mood in the photo.
Don’t be shy, even if you are a beginning model, just relax and enjoy. And remember - to be the best you need to work with the
In addition to being sharp and well-lit, your photos are beautifully edited. What is your retouching/production philosophy?
Retouching is an essential part of any fashion or beauty shoot, but it is my belief that retouching should be natural and relevant. A retoucher is like a good chef who adds some spices to make а dish tastes better. After his work every photo gains a finished look and the dignity of the model is emphasized. But one should be very careful with retouching, as like a chef you can add too much salt or pepper and the dish will be spoiled.
If you couldn't be a photographer, what would be your other career choice?
Hm, difficult question. I can not imagine myself being someone else, not a photographer. But it would probably be some related creative profession such as a 3D artist which I’m actually also interested in.
What are your future plans/goals for the next couple of years?
I’d like to travel more and shoot campaigns for fashion brands in different countries. It would be great to visit all five continents and to realize my ultimate dream which is to have a photoshoot in Moon and Mars valleys in the Atacama Desert in Chile.
Where can our readers keep up with your work and get connected with you?
Please feel free to connect with me in Instagram (@ksenia.rybka) and on my personal website (kseniarybka.com). And I’m always glad to talk in person over a cup of tea or coffee :)
Model: Cherry Kendall @_cherrykendall_
Model: Utebaeva Aliya @solnyshkoo_alikaa
Makeup Artist: Marina Bobina @bobina.mua
Photographer/Retoucher: Ksenia Rybka @ksenia.rybka
Wardrobe Stylist: Ekaterina Salivonik@kate.salivonik.style Hair Stylist: Svetlana Karpikova @svetlanakarpikova_muah
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