In the world of fashion photography, Daria Valiguras stands out with her unique approach of capturing the essence of femininity through empowering and sensual imagery. With a background in music and a passion for the arts, Daria’s journey into photography began at an early age. In this interview, Daria shares her creative process, her sources of inspiration, and her vision for creating images that celebrate individuality, strength, and beauty. Check out a gallery of her work below and read on to learn more about this talented fashion photographer.
Hi Daria, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. To start off, could you share with our readers a bit more about your background and how you got started in photography?
I’ve always been interested in the arts, starting with drawing and music when I was 8 years old. Photography specifically caught my eye when I was in middle school, and I began taking pictures of my classmates with a cheap compact camera. At the same time, I started to explore photo editing as a hobby. Unfortunately, few years later I had to put my photography pursuits aside due to my focus on musical education.
However, after ten years, I realized that I wanted to return to photography. I invested in all the necessary equipment, took professional retouching courses, and decided to enroll in a fashion photography course at the best photo school in Russia. After graduating, I was fortunate enough to secure an assistant position with my teacher, who is a well-known fashion photographer, Alena Nikiforova. This experience gave me invaluable hands-on experience and allowed me to make a huge leap in building my own fashion portfolio.
How would you describe your style of photography and what do you believe sets it apart from other photographers in the industry?
In my photography, I strive to capture the essence of femininity by portraying my models in a way that is both sensual and empowering. I want my images to exude confidence, strength, and highlight the unique beauty of each individual model. To achieve this, I often feature serious, intense models who are unafraid to display their sensuality. By combining sensuous elements with a powerful, confident attitude, I create images that celebrate femininity in a unique way.
I believe that what sets my photography apart from that of other fashion photographers is my particular knack for bringing out a sense of strength and intensity in my models. My images are not just aesthetically pleasing and sensual, but also carry a powerful message of empowerment and inspiration for women.
What inspires you the most when you’re behind the lens? Are there any particular themes or subjects that you find yourself drawn to?
As a fashion photographer, my sources of inspiration are multifaceted and diverse. I find that one of my biggest inspirations is my models themselves. When I’m behind the lens, I give them the freedom to express themselves and capture their unique energy and personality. The way they move, the look in their eyes, and the confidence they exude are all sources of inspiration for me.
However, my inspiration doesn’t just come from my models. I can be captivated by many other elements on a shoot. I find beauty in the images that makeup artists and stylists prepare, and I enjoy collaborating with them to create stunning looks that complement my vision. Whether shooting in a beautiful natural setting or a studio with an unusual lighting setup, the location and set design always inspire me to create something unique.
In addition to this, I am greatly inspired by the works of other artists and photographers. By studying the techniques and styles of photography masters, I can further refine my own creative vision and challenge myself to think outside the box. I am always on the lookout for new sources of inspiration, whether it be through art, music, or even everyday life experiences.
Ultimately, my goal is to use my passion for fashion photography to capture the unique beauty and strength of every individual and inspire others to do the same. Through my lens, I hope to showcase the power of fashion to celebrate individuality and diversity, while also creating stunning images that stand the test of time.
In your opinion, what makes a great photograph? Are there any specific elements or techniques that you always try to incorporate into your work?
A great photograph is more than just a well-crafted image; it should be able to tell a story, evokes emotion, captures a moment, and leaves a lasting impression on the viewer. To create a great photograph, I believe it is essential to incorporate a variety of elements and techniques. Lighting, composition, and color all play a crucial role in creating a visually striking image that draws the viewer’s eye. However, the most important element in any photograph is the subject’s connection to the camera and the environment around them. It is this connection that allows the viewer to feel the emotions conveyed in the photograph. Ultimately, a great photograph speaks to the viewer, and my aim is to achieve this with every image I create.
Can you walk us through your creative process? How do you go about conceptualizing and planning a shoot, and what steps do you take to bring your ideas to life?
The first step in my creative process is usually to develop a concept for the shoot. This can be inspired by a variety of things, such as a specific location, a mood or emotion, a particular model or clothing item, or even a piece of artwork. Once I have a basic concept in mind, I start to flesh out the details, considering factors like the styling, hair and makeup, lighting, and props.
From there, I work on building a team. This typically includes a stylist, hair and makeup artist, and sometimes a set designer or other collaborators, depending on the shoot’s complexity. We all work together to ensure that our vision for the shoot is cohesive and aligned.
On the day of the shoot, we typically start with hair and makeup and wardrobe styling. During this time, I work closely with my team to make any final adjustments to the concept or styling. Once we are ready to start shooting, I work closely with the model to ensure that we capture the right poses, expressions, and movements to bring our vision to life.
Throughout the shoot, I make adjustments to the lighting and composition as needed to ensure that the final images meet my creative vision. After the shoot, I typically spend time selecting and editing the best images to deliver to the client or to include in my portfolio.
Overall, my creative process is a collaborative and iterative one, where I work closely with my team to refine and execute my creative vision.
You’ve worked with a variety of clients and on different types of projects throughout your career. How do you approach each new assignment, and how do you tailor your style to fit the client’s needs and vision?
When I approach a new assignment, my first step is always to have a thorough discussion with the client about their needs and vision for the project. I ask questions to better understand their goals, target audience, and the specific message they want to convey through the photographs. Based on this information, I then start to develop a concept and plan for the shoot. I consider factors such as location, lighting, wardrobe, and props.
In terms of tailoring my style, I am always mindful of the client’s brand and aesthetic. I aim to create images that align with their existing visual identity and communicate their message effectively. However, I also bring my own unique perspective and style to each project, which can help to elevate the final product and make it stand out.
In addition, during the shoot, I use tethering to connect my camera to a laptop, allowing the client to closely monitor the process and see the results in real-time. I maintain constant communication with the client to ensure that their vision is fully realized and that any necessary adjustments are made on the spot. Ultimately, my goal is to create a final product that not only meets but exceeds the client’s expectations.
What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing photographers today, and how do you stay relevant in a constantly evolving industry?
In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges facing photographers today is the rapid advancement of technology and the increasing accessibility of photography equipment. With the rapid increase of smartphones and affordable cameras, it can be difficult for professional photographers to stand out and distinguish their work from the masses. Additionally, the photography industry is constantly evolving, with new trends, styles, and techniques emerging all the time.
Furthermore, the emergence of artificial intelligence and neural networks is starting to have a significant influence on the industry, and photographers must be aware of these developments and how they can use them to their advantage.
To stay relevant, I make it a priority to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and trends. I always invest in continuing education to enhance my skills and expand my knowledge. I also make a conscious effort to network and collaborate with other professionals in the industry, which helps me stay informed about new opportunities and developments.
Another way that I stay relevant is by maintaining a strong online presence through social media and my website. By sharing my work and engaging with my followers, I am able to reach a wider audience and showcase my unique style and approach to photography.
Ultimately, I believe that staying relevant as a photographer requires a combination of technical skill, creativity, and adaptability. By continuously learning and evolving, I am able to keep my work fresh and exciting and maintain my relevance in an ever-changing industry.
Can you talk a bit about the role of post-processing in your work? How much time do you typically spend editing and retouching your images, and what tools and techniques do you use to achieve the desired results?
As a professional retoucher, post-processing is a crucial part of my workflow. It allows me to refine and enhance my images to better achieve my creative vision. The amount of time I spend on post-processing depends on the project and the specific image, but I aim to keep it minimal while still achieving the desired results.
My primary post-processing tools are Capture Pro and Adobe Photoshop. In Capture Pro, I start with basic adjustments such as exposure, contrast, and color balance, then move on to more targeted adjustments using curves and levels to achieve the desired look. I also use Capture Pro to make more targeted adjustments such as selective color.
In Photoshop, I use a variety of tools and techniques to further refine and retouch my images. Initially, I clean the image to remove minor flaws using tools such as a stamp, spot healing brush, and patch. I use Liquify tool to align clothes, figure flaws. Then I work on the techniques of frequency separation and dodging and burning for skin retouching or localized exposure adjustments.
Throughout the post-processing process, my main goal is to enhance the image while preserving its authenticity and integrity. By utilizing my skills in post-processing, I can deliver stunning and visually striking images that truly capture the essence of my vision.
Looking back on your career so far, is there a particular shoot or project that stands out as a favorite or a particularly memorable experience?
Absolutely! One of my favorite creative shootings was actually inspired by the TV series “Euphoria”. I was so enamored with the photography and color work of the show that I decided to embody the image of the three main characters: Ru, Jules, and Maddy.
To bring this vision to life, I decided to try using cinematic lighting for the first time. I enlisted the help of a professional gaffer and an assistant to set up the lighting, and we discussed everything beforehand, including the main color schemes I wanted to implement for each character.
I also collaborated with my regular makeup artist, and we came up with beautiful make-up for each of the heroines. However, finding the right stylist was more difficult, as there were only a couple of days left before the photoshoot and many refused due to the short notice. Fortunately, on the last day, we found the perfect stylist to bring our vision to life. I also brought on a photographer and a videographer to capture behind-the-scenes footage of the shooting.
While there were some difficulties along the way, especially due to the tight timeline and the extra time required for cinematic lighting, I was extremely pleased with the final result.
This project allowed me to gain valuable experience in working with cinematic lighting and organizing a large-scale shoot with a team of talented professionals. Overall, it was an incredibly memorable and rewarding experience that has influenced my work ever since.
Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring photographers who are just starting out in the industry? What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned along the way?
To aspiring photographers just starting out in the industry, my advice would be to stay passionate and persistent, always keep learning, and don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things. It’s also important to network and build relationships with others in the industry, as this can lead to new opportunities and collaborations.
Some of the most important lessons I’ve learned along the way include the importance of developing a strong personal style and vision, and being true to yourself and your artistic vision. It’s also important to be adaptable and able to work in a variety of situations and with different clients, as well as being open to constructive criticism and feedback.
Finally, remember that success in the photography industry takes time and hard work, and that it’s important to enjoy the process and the journey, not just the end result. Stay curious, keep exploring, and always strive to improve and grow as a photographer.