Julia Sariy is a photographer who specializes in studio photography. She shoots weddings, portraits, glamour and nude genres and manages to capture true magnificence in everything she does. In this industry dominated by male photographers Julia is a clear example that a female photographer can compete and even outpace her male colleagues in our never ending quest to capture beauty. Julia mostly works with a full team, including a hair and makeup artists, and this shows in her images. Flawless execution, alluring beauty and attention to detail are just some of the key hallmarks of her work.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m from Ukraine originally. I moved to Brooklyn only about 3 month ago and now in the process of expanding my portfolio.
When did you become interested in photography?
I started from editing photos of my friends in Photoshop and then I decided to buy a camera and try to edit my own photos. It was about 5 years ago.
Did you have any formal training or are you a self-taught photographer?
I took 2-month basic class of studio photography. I have attended a lot of workshops throughout the years as well.
Where are you based from at the moment and do you travel for work?
I live in Brooklyn and I don’t travel for work, but I like traveling very much and it would be great to have travel assignments in the future.
How would you describe your current style?
I think my style is still developing.
You shoot wedding/love story, beauty/fashion, portraits, nude and travel; do you have one favorite genre or do you enjoy variety?
I like to photograph people in any genres, but men and women portraits are my favorite. I would also like to expand my portfolio with music bands.
You have an outstanding portfolio of female models in beauty/fashion and nude; do you feel that these models relate better to you then male photographers?
Some people think that a female photographer has a different vision, notices some details that a male photographer doesn’t. But professional female models usually don’t treat me differently from their male counterparts.
How do you find your models and how do your clients typically find you?
I used to find my models and clients on social networks, now I use ModelMahem in most cases.
What type of cameras do you shoot with?
I use Nikon D800 and I am happy with it.
Do you have your own studio, rent or shoot at home?
I rent a studio in Brooklyn (Lumina8Studios), but at the beginning I just used self-crafted softboxes and shot at home.
Besides your camera, what is a must-have at each session?
I work with lights of various brands, I don’t have my own studio gear now so when I rent a studio I use the lights they offer. I’m sure that an interesting idea is the most important thing on a shoot, everything else is not as necessary.
If you had to choose one lens which one would it be and why?
I shoot with my Nikon f/2.8 70-200mm lens about 90 percent of the time. It’s heavy but really sharp and works with my camera flawlessly.
Do you use Mac or PC?
I use Mac.
Can you describe your workflow when editing images?
I usually edit my own photos very carefully and it’s a really long and tedious process for me. I pick my favorites in Adobe Lightroom and do color and light correction there. Then I open them in Adobe Photoshop and do final retouching using frequency separation technique and add the final tone to the image.
Do you plan on buying any new equipment and if so what do you have your eyes on?
Yes, I’m thinking of Hensel Integra. It’s not very expensive. I used to work with these lights in Ukraine and I was pretty satisfied with the quality.
What inspires you to create such an exceptional work?
I just like beautiful people and they inspire me to take striking photos.
What has been your most memorable assignment and why?
I think shooting a music band for the first time was the most memorable assignment, because I had been working with lots of female models previously and this was a completely new experience for me. Besides, I didn’t have enough equipment those days and only had my camera flash with an umbrella and 2 video lights. The shoot started late and we were working in pitch black wood.
How often do you use Hair and Makeup Artists?
I work with a Makeup Artists during almost all of my sessions and 50 percent of them with a Hair Stylist, because the result of a full team is always better.
Do you ever work with stylists?
Only a couple of times, but I would like to work with stylists more.
Do you have an assistant/2nd shooter that accompanies you?
My husband is my assistant on some shoots, and I’ve worked with one of my friends as a second shooter during some photoshoots. I like working as a team, but I can work alone as well.
If you could do a shoot with anyone, who would it be and why?
Johnny Depp, he’s been my favorite actor since my childhood.
Have you ever had anything go wrong at a shoot and if so, how did you handle it?
It happened recently in Las Vegas. I’ve decided to do a TFP work there during my vacation, but I wasn’t aware that any professional shooting there is not allowed unless you have a permission. Thanks to my model’s brilliant idea, we decided to go on to a parking lot which was located on top of a building and we were able to do some decent shots there without guard’s disturbance.
What do you feel is the most challenging thing about your work?
Try to do my every shoot better than the previous one.
What do you think of the photography industry at the moment and where do you see it in 5 years from now?
The photography industry is continuously changing and developing, I see so many great photographers now and more people are becoming interested in photography, so I think it’s a good thing for the industry and in 5 years we will be surrounded by great imagery.
What is your dream position in the industry?
I would like to continue working as a freelance photographer, my dream is to do posters for movies or covers for books.
Who are some of the people in the industry that inspire you?
Joey L and Aaron Nace…I hope to have a chance to visit their workshops soon.
How do you market your business, and what works best?
I use many social networks like Instagram, Facebook, 500px.
How important is your website for your business?
A website is a face of a photographer, I try to update it all the time, deleting old work and replacing it with new.
If photography didn’t exist, what would you do for a living?
I would be a librarian, I love books.
What advice do you have for somebody who wants to pursue wedding, fashion or beauty photography?
A photographer should be very patient and hardworking, never stop learning, and never be completely satisfied.
Is there anything you would have done differently during your photographic career?
Maybe I should’ve concentrate on one or two genres, which I like the most. That’s what I’m trying to do now.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
Self-promotion plays a great part in a career of a photographer. One part is to create good shots and the second part is to promote it every way possible. I didn’t know that at the beginning.
If you had an unlimited budget, what kind of a shoot would you do?
My dream is to do a photoshoot with lots of different flowers. I often use natural flowers as a decoration on my shoots, but it’s usually quite expensive to buy and to create everything that I would like to do.
What superpower would you like to have?
To be immortal. I would have enough time to do all of my plans.
What are you still learning?
Everything, it’s impossible to be perfect in any kind of the skills.
You’ve mentioned that you frequently attend workshops, what was your last one?
I attended a lot of workshops and the last one was by a Russian photographer based in NY – Oleg Ti.
What do you love most about being a photographer?
I like it when people are happy with their photos.
Is there anything you don’t like as a photographer?
The equipment is really expensive.
What is your greatest fear related to your work?
A memory card breaking. It had happened with me only once, but I was completely desperate. I fixed it at the end, but it was the worst experience in my career. Since then I use only CF memory cards that are much more reliable than SD cards.
What is your favorite photo you have shot recently? Can you describe the process behind it (location, equipment and setting used), as well as your thoughts about creating the image and what it means to you?
My most recent favorite series of photos was shoot for the 2015 calendar of Ukrainian models in national cloths. This was my last shoot in Ukraine before moving to USA. The light was pretty simple. I used a soft box as the main source of light, one rim light and my assistant was holding a reflector in front of the model’s face. Also I used a background light with different color gels. I had a great team of a makeup artist and a hairstylist. My friend helped me to choose the accessories and we created the style together. This was not a commercial project, we wanted to support Ukrainian traditions this way.