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Daria Valiguras: Fashion Photographer and Retoucher From Russia.

How did you develop an interest in photography, and what motivated you to pursue it professionally?

Hi, 6X MEDIA! Thank you for having me. I'm Daria Valiguras, a fashion photographer and retoucher from Russia. I've been doing this professionally for about 3 years now. Since a young age, I've had a strong interest in photography. I was always drawn to artistic and creative pursuits like drawing, dancing, and playing music.

Looking at old family photos and capturing moments with our Kodak film camera brought me joy. In middle school, I had a Samsung digital camera and had a lot of fun organizing photo shoots with friends. However, I had to set aside my hobby to focus on studying professional music for ten years.

Female Model: Astakhova Liza , IG: astakhova.eliza

Wardrobe Stylist: Syremzha Ayushieva, IG: syremzha

Makeup Artist: Anastasia Veselova, IG: bourgoundski

Photographer: Daria Valiguras, IG: valiguras

After graduating in 2019, I realized my passion for photography was still alive. I invested in the necessary equipment and took photography and retouching courses to enhance my skills quickly. Over the past 3 years, I've built an impressive portfolio and collaborated with top modeling agencies and professionals in the industry. My work has been featured in magazines, exhibited in galleries, and I've even had the opportunity to participate in contests and serve as a judge. I've also worked with renowned photographers worldwide, and my retouching work can be seen on billboards, in stores, and on the websites of famous brands.

Moving to different countries has expanded my experiences and opened up new opportunities. I'm thrilled to see where my journey takes me next. Now I’m staying in Miami, Florida. I'm excited to continue exploring the world of fashion photography through my lens!

2. Can you tell us about your preferred photography style or genre?

Sure! When it comes to my preferred style of photography, I love capturing the beauty of both femininity and masculinity in a strong and sensual way. I focus on showcasing the unique beauty of each model and creating images that exude confidence and inner strength. My models embrace their sensuality without hesitation, resulting in captivating and intense photographs. Through my work, I celebrate the power and attractiveness that comes from embracing one's individuality and expressing themselves authentically. I aim to empower others to embrace their own unique qualities and show their inner beauty to the world.

3. What subjects do you enjoy capturing the most?

I love taking pictures of people the most, especially capturing their beauty and emotions. Whether it's fashion models or everyday individuals, I enjoy telling their stories through photography. I also like photographing nature and landscapes because it brings me peace and lets me show the beauty of the world around us.

4. Who or what are your biggest influences or sources of inspiration when it comes to your photography?

When it comes to my photography, I find inspiration from various sources. I'm greatly influenced by other talented photographers in the industry who have a unique and artistic vision. I also draw inspiration from nature, as its beauty inspire me to capture the world around me. Additionally, I find inspiration in fashion magazines, art exhibitions, and even everyday life experiences. Overall, my biggest influences are the people, places, and moments that flame up my creativity and push me to create captivating photographs.

5. What equipment and tools do you use for your photography, and why do you prefer them?

When it comes to my photography, I rely on the the Sony Alpha 7R Mark III, a mirrorless camera with with a 42.4MP full-frame sensor. I prefer this camera because it allows me to capture high-resolution images with sharp details. My preferred lens is the Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8, which is versatile and allows me to adapt to different shooting scenarios.

To enhance my editing process, I always have my MacBook Pro and a compact Wacom Pro tablet with me. They make editing more convenient and easy. Additionally, I carry an Ulanzi Phone holder for backstage shots, a tether tools cable for computer-based shooting, a portable hard drive, and a reflector if needed. As for lighting, I usually rent Profoto equipment based on the specific shoot requirements.

6. How do you approach a new project or assignment? Can you walk us through your creative process?

When I start a new project or assignment, the first thing I do is come up with an idea for the shoot. It can be inspired by different things, like the location, the mood I want to create, the models I'll be working with, or the clothes they'll be wearing. Once I have the idea, I focus on the details like how everything will look, including the styling, hair and makeup, lighting, and props.

Then, I gather a team to help me bring the idea to life. This usually includes a stylist, hair and makeup artist, depending on how complex the project is. We all work together to make sure our vision for the shoot is on the same page.

On the day of the shoot, we start by getting the models ready, doing their hair and makeup, and choosing their outfits. I work closely with my team to make any final adjustments to the idea or the overall look. Once everything is set, I focus on working with the models to capture the perfect poses, expressions, and movements that will make the photos shine.

During the shoot, I make any necessary changes to the lighting and how everything is arranged to match the creative vision I have in mind. After the shoot, I go through all the photos and carefully select the best ones. Then I spend time editing them to make them even better before delivering them to the client or using them in my portfolio.

Overall, the way I work is all about collaboration. I really value the input and expertise of my team as we work together to make our creative vision come to life for each project.

7. Are there any specific techniques or strategies you employ to capture unique and compelling images?

Absolutely! When it comes to capturing unique and compelling images, I rely on a few techniques:

Composition: I carefully arrange the elements within the frame using the rule of thirds and framing techniques. This helps create visually pleasing and balanced compositions.

Lighting: I experiment with various lighting sources, such as natural light or artificial lights, to set the desired mood and atmosphere in my photographs.

Perspective: I explore different angles and viewpoints to bring a fresh and interesting perspective to my photos. This adds depth and visual intrigue to the images.

Timing: I patiently wait for the perfect moment to capture a shot that conveys the desired emotion or tells a story. Additionally, I utilize high-speed shooting to ensure I don't miss any crucial moments.

Experimentation: I'm always open to trying new techniques and styles to push the boundaries of my photography. This helps me discover innovative approaches and capture images that stand out.

By employing these strategies, I can consistently create images that are distinctive, engaging, and leave a lasting impact on viewers.

8. What is your favorite memory or experience from your photography career so far, and why is it memorable to you?

One of my favorite memories from my photography career is when I had the opportunity to collaborate with the French model agency "Enjoy Models" earlier this year. I was in France for a limited time, just a few months, and my goal was to do as many photo shoots as possible. In that short period, I was able to complete over 25 shoots and work with incredible new face models who were experiencing their first professional photo shoot with me, as well as some experienced professionals.

We had some incredible moments during those shoots. We captured the essence of the French style, shooting near the sea and even with a retro car. It was so much fun! I also had the chance to collaborate with talented makeup artists who created stunning makeup looks that added to our portfolio. Additionally, we were able to do a lot of model tests.

Overall, it was an amazing and unforgettable experience for me. I felt really proud to accomplish so much in a short time and create awesome photos with the team. It's a memory that means a lot to me because it was a period of creativity, working together, and personal growth in my photography career.

9. How do you establish a connection or rapport with your subjects to capture authentic and emotive photographs?

To capture real and emotional photos, I focus on building a bond with the models. I create a relaxed atmosphere during the shoot, playing music and having friendly conversations. I aim to make them feel comfortable and uplifted by giving compliments and creating a positive vibe.

I also share my ideas for the shoot and encourage their input. I want them to feel like an important part of the creative process. Throughout the session, I offer encouragement and support to boost their confidence.

Establishing a connection is all about treating people with kindness and respect. I want them to feel at ease and valued in front of the camera. By doing this, I can capture their genuine emotions and create meaningful photographs.

10. Can you share some tips or advice for aspiring photographers who are looking to improve their skills?

Sure! Here are some simple tips for aspiring photographers looking to improve their skills:

Practice regularly: Take photos often to get better.

Learn composition: Study how to arrange elements in your photos.

Study from others: Look at other photographers' work to get ideas.

Try different genres: Experiment with different types of photography.

Know your gear: Understand how to use your camera and equipment.

Edit your photos: Use Capture one/ Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop to improve your images.

Get feedback: Ask others for advice on your photos.

Develop your style: Find your own unique way of taking photos.

Keep learning: Always seek new ideas and techniques.

Have fun: Enjoy the process and passion of photography.

By following these simple tips, you can improve your photography skills and enjoy capturing great photos.

11. Are there any challenges or obstacles you've faced in your photography journey? How did you overcome them?

On my photography journey, I've encountered my fair share of challenges. One major obstacle was establishing myself in a tough industry. To tackle it, I focused on improving my portfolio and the quality of my work. I made sure to share my photos on different platforms, like Instagram, my personal website and others, and actively pursued opportunities, such as submitting to magazines, collaborating with other professionals, and entering contests.

Money was tight at times, too. To make ends meet, I carefully managed my budget and took on extra gigs as a retoucher to bring in more income.

There were moments when I felt stuck and doubted my creative abilities. To push through, I sought inspiration from various sources, tried out different photography styles, and took on personal projects to reignite my passion.

Another challenge was meeting clients' expectations and working within tight deadlines. I tackled this by maintaining clear communication with clients, setting realistic expectations, and staying organized in my workflow.

All in all, overcoming challenges as a photographer takes perseverance, adaptability, and a positive outlook. It's important to keep learning and seek support from others. By facing these obstacles head-on, I've grown and achieved success in my photography journey.

12. Do you have any favorite locations or settings for your photography? What draws you to those places?

When shooting indoors, I really enjoy working with a white cyclorama wall. It gives me the flexibility to experiment with different lighting setups and create unique effects.

Outdoors, my preference depends on the location. I like to embrace the local style and capture the essence of the surroundings. But one thing that always draws me is water. Shooting by the sea or ocean brings me immense joy. The serene beauty and dynamic nature of water add depth and tranquility to my photographs. It’s a captivating backdrop that never fails to inspire me.

When it comes to settings, I don't have specific preferences. It all depends on the creative idea and desired outcome. To capture sharp images, I choose a narrower aperture for a greater depth of field. For softer or blurred effects, I go for a wider aperture, creating beautiful bokeh. Adjusting the shutter speed also plays a role, whether to create motion blur or freeze the action. It's about experimenting and finding the right combination to bring the creative vision to life.

13. How do you stay motivated and continually evolve as a photographer? Are there any ongoing projects you're working on?

Are there any specific photographers, past or present, that you admire or look up to? Why?

As a photographer, staying motivated and evolving is essential to my craft. I find inspiration in various ways and constantly seek new challenges and opportunities for growth.

One way I stay motivated is by exploring the works of great photographers from the past and present. Icons like Peter Lindbergh, Bruce Weber, Helmut Newton, Mario Testino, and Patrick Demarchelier and others have left a lasting impact on the industry. Their artistry and unique styles inspire me to push my own boundaries and aim for excellence. Additionally, I follow a diverse range of contemporary photographers, such as Chris Colls, Greg Swales, Yulia Gorbachenko, Lachlan Bailey, Mert Alas and others. Exploring their incredible creations and unique perspectives fuels my motivation to continuously learn and improve my skills.

While I don't currently have any ongoing projects, I actively seek out new challenges and opportunities to expand my abilities. Whether it's collaborating with other creatives, exploring new styles, or experimenting with different techniques, I believe that the process of continually evolving is key to staying motivated and growing as a photographer.

14. Can you share a behind-the-scenes story or interesting anecdote from one of your photography assignments?

Certainly! Let me share a fascinating behind-the-scenes story from one of my photography assignments. It was during a shoot called "OCEAN Waves" that I had a truly memorable experience. To create stunning highlights on the wall, we got creative and used glass mosaic tiles that we found at a local hardware store. It added a beautiful touch to the background.

For another shot with a smeared colored fabric background, we went the extra mile. We had two people on each side actively waving the cloth to create a dynamic and captivating effect. It was a team effort that required coordination and enthusiasm.

In another instance, we wanted to capture beautiful water highlights on the model's face for a beauty shot. To achieve this, we placed the model on the floor and carefully held a glass container of water over her. We then used six flashes from phones to shine light through the container, resulting in stunning water reflections on her face.

This behind-the-scenes story showcases the power of creativity and the dedication of a team willing to go above and beyond to capture amazing shots. It's moments like these that remind me of the magic that can be created when imagination meets collaboration in the world of photography.

15. How do you handle criticism or feedback on your work? How does it impact your growth as a photographer?

I value criticism and feedback on my work as a photographer. It helps me grow and improve. When I receive criticism, I stay open-minded and use it as a learning opportunity. I evaluate the feedback and consider how it aligns with my artistic vision. If it resonates, I incorporate it into my future work. Criticism plays a vital role in my development, pushing me to evolve and explore new ideas.

Female Model: Astakhova Liza

IG: astakhova.eliza

Wardrobe Stylist: Syremzha Ayushieva

IG: syremzha

Makeup Artist: Anastasia Veselova

IG: bourgoundski

Photographer: Daria Valiguras

IG: valiguras

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