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Natalia Vasilchenko: Photography is my means of self-expression.

Natalia, can you please briefly introduce yourself. How your interest in the photography industry has sparked?

Hi! I am a Vancouver-based photographer specialing in a mix of fashion and lifestyle photography. I had my first photoshoot with my friends in 2014 on a cropped camera and a kit lens. Everybody loved the result and started telling me that I should become a photographer. I've considered photography a hobby until last year when I began to do a lot of commercial work.

How has photography influenced you as a person and what do you love most about being a photographer?

Photography is my means of self-expression. Before I started doing it, I didn't know I had so much to tell the world. And I realized the world was listening to me. Being in the constant creative flow, meeting new people and developing personal skills is what I like most about photography.

How do you balance your style with a client's vision?

The client's vision comes first. I listen to clients very carefully to have a very clear idea of their goals and expectations. If the client wants me to take some portraits in Annie Leibovitz's style - I'll do it as close as possible. But usually, my clients say that they trust my vision, and I am very grateful for that.

You are a creative mind with an exceptional eye for detail, are you able to talk us through your process when creating your art?

I like to say that the 3 "Ls" need to come together for a perfect image - look, location, and light. It gets very technical here. Photographers know how to combine specific colours, choose an ideal light for each person, and frame an image to get the viewer's attention where we want it to be. I like to take time to analyze other photographers' work and write down what I like about it and what I would do differently.

Has your vision and style evolved or changed over time?

Yes, a lot. I started with art photography which was very popular then. And I learned most of it on YouTube. As I developed my skills and took photography courses, I discovered many new styles, photographers, and techniques. My focus has shifted from creating magical pictures to revealing a person's true self and catching genuine emotions.

Photography can be a somewhat unforgiving industry with a lot of egos, how do you deal with it on set or behind the scenes?

You only work with people you are more comfortable with and have the same vibe over time. Finding your dream team is crucial. In my mind photographer is the glue that holds the team together. A bad photo is entirely a photographer's fault, but a good picture results from excellent teamwork. With each new photoshoot, I've learned how to communicate my vision and provide enough space for creativity for other team members.

Natalia, what are some of the struggles you have faced as a fashion photographer in a niche market?

One of my biggest challenges was finding people who would want to work with me before I had a significant portfolio. It took me a lot of courage to message models, stylists, makeup artists and modelling agents. It was quite disappointing not to hear back.

You are going about conducting a photoshoot, could you take us through the typical planning process for your images?

When an idea comes to mind, I like to "sleep with it." If I still want to do it the next day, I start putting together a moodboard. The more unique the idea is, the harder it is to find references. Then I contact the people I've worked with in the past to see if they are available and interested in participating. I like to write a scenario and list what shots I want to get. I also come up with some ideas directly on set. I like to go through the images on the day of the shoot and send the team the first ready pictures right away. I want to finish editing within a week when possible.

How do you manage to make your models feel comfortable in front of the camera?

Communication is key. I am very interested in the people I photograph, and I want to know their personalities. During the photoshoot, I am the biggest fan of my models. I am open about myself as well. I love to see how my models open up during the photoshoot. And the last pictures are usually the best.

What has been the highlight of your career so far and what are your hopes/dreams for the future?

I am thrilled when photographers I consider successful say they like my work. I hope to become a successful photography coach someday to help beginner photographers achieve their goals in the most "organic" and effective way.

Where can our readers keep up with your work and get connected with you?

My Instagram page would be the best way (@vasilchenko.natalie). I post behind the scenes of my creative and commercial work every week so you can see the entire process and hopefully find some inspiration.

Model: Stefa @stefa.miva

Makeup Artist: Victoria Mititel @victoria_mititel

Agency: Jager Management @jager_management

Photographer: Natalia Vasilchenko @vasilchenko.natalie


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