Which Camera is Best for Beginner Photographer

October 17, 2016

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is which camera is best for beginner photographer? With digital cameras being so widespread, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of options, but there are a few suggestions I have to make the journey less daunting. My tips are:

1. Start taking pictures with what you already have.
Fancy camera does not guarantee good photos, just like buying the most expensive paint brush does not guarantee a Da Vince waiting. My favorite camera is of course the iPhone (Check out these lenses specially for mobile photography). Make your photos best you can with your phone camera, and truly try to understand why you want to take pictures and what outcome you want to produce (take good pictures is too broad). Figure out what you want to photograph first, people, landscape, your pet, or your latte art (my all time favorite photo subject), and then do some research.

2. Do some research.
When I started I emailed a portrait photographer that really got me curious about doing people photography. He told me what camera he uses and what lenses he has. That was very nice of him! Find photos that inspire you first and research what tools are needed to produce the results in that photo. Make a list of what cameras keep coming up on different online articles and then try them out.

3. Try gear first, then purchase.
I was one of those people who bought a fancy camera first, realized I didn’t like it, and still have it collecting dust somewhere. There are rental website like and local photos stores that will let you try out equipment. Do that before you make big purchases, and also look into getting equipment from eBay or Craigslist. Most of my photos on my website are from my Craigslist purchase of Canon 5D mark 1 for $1200. That’s a third of what the new models were selling at that time. Used gear is great when you’re starting out, because it will help you figure out whether or not you’re committed to doing photography seriously. By that time you’ll be reading photography blogs and catching enough info to point you to the right camera for you!

Last weekend, my friend commented to me, when is it that you’re finally going to buy a Nikon? I laughed, but in all seriousness, it can be true that I haven’t found my camera yet, but for the moment I do pretty good with the one I have ;). If you have questions or comments, reply in the comments below!

Sutro Baths Engagement Session

Sutro Baths Engagement Session


What to Wear For Engagement Photos

September 5, 2016

So frequently brides ask what to wear for engagement photos, so I’d love to offer some advice based on the feedback from my clients. If you all the sudden realize you have nothing to wear while looking at a closet full of clothes, you are not alone. I’m all about being a saver, but life’s special occasions call for unique pieces of clothing, so I treat engagement session with almost as much care as the wedding.

For one reason or another we feel in a different way when wearing a new piece of clothing, jewelry or accessory. Something new, brings a fresh kind of beauty, style, and confidence, and I too, always shop before a photo shoot for new headshots, or my annual family photos. If you’re wondering what to shop for, I suggest reading this article

Besides shopping, you can also rent! So many of my clients thanked me after the shoot for recommending Rent the Runway to them. I believe engagement shoot should be glamorous and something special, showing a different side of you. If you too love dressing up in something a bit extra, Rent the Runway is for you! They’ll give you dresses in two different sizes and even a first user discount. Love them!

If you have more tips, great articles or anything else, please share in the comments field! Happy Friday and have a glamours weekend! Yours truly, Yuliya

Sutro Baths Engagement

Sutro Baths Engagement

Business, Inspiration, Personal

Navigation, New Cities and Business Map

September 1, 2016

Did you ever navigate in a new city without a map? One of my favorite things to do in any place is to try to get there without Siri’s help. I love maps and I’ll study it for a few minutes and will take off to where it is I want to go without navigation. In the last two weeks I’ve explored San Diego, St. Petersburg, and Tampa and it was always an adventure to find places on my own.
There’s one thing that’s worse than getting lost though, is having a map of the wrong place and following navigation to a completely different destination. Siri frequently takes me to Dublin, Ireland, by the way, whenever I ask her for Dublin in the bay area.

As much as I am good at using maps, having been self employed for almost eight years now, there’s one thing that I keep discovering about myself and that is, I frequently follow a wrong map in my business. I frequently deviate from a route when I know where I want to go, other times I’m just simply going without getting anywhere specific, and worse off, I think I’m going to one place and I’m using a map of a completely different city.

Sitting on my flight back from Tampa, I had a blank moleskin page in front of me with 2017 written on it. I didn’t make much progress on it, because I don’t know where it is I want next year to go. Do I want all my Saturdays booked with weddings? Do I want to make it to my nephew’s baseball games on those same weekends? Do I want to just shoot a few larger weddings and take the rest of the time off to travel around Europe and photograph in exotic places?

While those questions still remain unanswered, I’m happy that I started asking now, in August, and I don’t want to allow myself to follow a map that leads me to a wrong city! It’s ok if I don’t get the amount of work I want, but if I have a goal and do everything I can in my ability to achieve it, getting to the outskirts of NYC (my favorite city), is better than arriving in Denver (no hard feelings here, I’ve never been) and wondering where I steered off wrong. I’ll be sharing my progress here, but I’d love to hear what your goals are and if you can relate. Yours truly, Yuliya.

And because posts are better with a photo, can it get any better than a bridesmaid champagne toast before the wedding?
Marines memorial club wedding bridesmaids champagne toast


Ruby Hill Golf Club Wedding

May 19, 2016

Ruby Hill has never seen a wedding like Trisha and Sasha’s! Not only because a lively Indian wedding always wins the contest for best music and dancing, but Trisha and Sasha’s stands out because of its amazing love story and the kind souls presents all around on their wedding day. After many years of courting, the tall Canadian doctor finally came to marry his bride from sunny California. I had the honor of shooting their engagement session in San Francisco and felt incredibly honored to be a part of their three day wedding celebration at Ruby Hill Golf Club. Here’s a sneak peek of some of my favorite moments from their day. Can’t wait to see you both in Canada one of these days. Lots of love, Yuliya.

Ruby Hill Wedding_01

Ruby Hill Wedding_02

Ruby Hill Wedding_03

Ruby Hill Wedding_04

Ruby Hill Wedding_06

Ruby Hill Wedding_07

Ruby Hill Wedding_08

Ruby Hill Wedding_09

Ruby Hill Wedding_10

Ruby Hill Wedding_11

Ruby Hill Wedding_12

Ruby Hill Wedding_13

Ruby Hill Wedding_14

Ruby Hill Wedding_15

Ruby Hill Wedding_16

Ruby Hill Wedding_17

Ruby Hill Wedding_18

Ruby Hill Wedding_19

Ruby Hill Wedding_20


There’ll never be a perfect day . . .

May 3, 2016

I’m guilty of waiting for the perfect day when I feel well enough, a day when going to the gym is a habit, when everything is aligned to pursue a new business venture, that day when writing comes naturally, the day when I have extra time to read, the day with extra energy and so on… The truth is, that day will never come. It’s an art to take unpromising days and push through, make time, and stop waiting.

Mark Twain says it best, “Give everyday the chance to become the most beautiful day of your life!” If we stop waiting and move forward, great things will happen! Join me.

And because posts are better with a photo, here is a gorgeous Holman Ranch, Carmel wedding I shot with Blake Weber.

holman ranch wedding

Holman Ranch Wedding a