Business, Personal

My beginner mistake, and secret to success

October 3, 2017

He looked at me with a smile and said in his reassuring voice “It’s ok, you’re only a beginner!” I wanted to shrink back from the screeching sound my viola made as the bow slid across the strings, but my teacher was right. It’s wonderful to expect great results, but I am just a beginner, with beginner sounds and habits that will need to be improved on after hours and hours of practice. Driving away from the lesson, I couldn’t help but think, that’s it’s not just music lessons, there are many areas in our lives, where we want to skip the beginner stage.

If there was one big mistake I made in the beginning of my business, it’s just that! Not admitting, or more like not even realizing that I’m a beginner. With beginner mentality. Beginner business knowledge and so on. Perhaps it’s a shortfall of our adulthood, to think we got it. To think that growth applies to other people, but not us. Perhaps it’s also pride to think we can figure this out, boy I wish I met my mentors sooner. And even with my mentors at hand, I still remember times over coffee, where I thought I already know my way around in this business world.

One of the quotes I’ll never forget from a mentor Sylvie Gil, has to do with just that! “If it takes ten years to become a doctor, why shouldn’t it take ten years to become a successful photographer?” Crazy enough, it’s the beginner questions that led me to my success as a photographer today. Don’t shy away from it, only good things come from embracing the early stages!
Stay rich (in heart) and inspired!!!

And since posts are better with a photo, here are two images I can’t get over. Canon 5D mark IV blew me away with its quality!

Bubble Exit after church ceremony

Engagement, Weddings

I’d rather be . . . here

September 7, 2017

“I’d rather be lost in a place I want to be, than know my way in a place I don’t want to be . . .”

Wherever you find yourself today, I hope you want to be there. I believe life is too short to deal with pursuits that don’t truly take us anywhere. Of course we all have responsibilities of a friend, family member and so on, but all of us have repeated pursuits that maybe should be replaced by something a tad bit more meaningful to us.

I wrote the quote above when I was lost on the streets of Chicago. Lost not in the sense of direction, but letting myself wander the streets, stumble upon hidden coffee shops, and spend time in the tranquil city corners with a bench to people watch. I never would have imagined that I’d be running a successful, by my definition, business. I just stumbled around trying my way in a creative world, because I had a deep longing to be an artist. Was it easy? Not at all. Was my path charted out by other successful entrepreneurs? I so wish. But how wonderful it is to look back and not have regrets about the direction of my path towards creativity.

There is a wonderful feeling of trying to figure out a way in a city you’ve always wanted to visit. And equally, there is a satisfying feeling of being just a tad bit lost and scared in a place you want to be!

This year I celebrated seven years of my wedding photography business. I’m so incredibly thankful for people I’ve met and all the bottles of champagne we popped with the golden California sun setting on us magically. Here is to dreaming! Here is to being lost right where you want to be! Stay rich and inspired, Yuliya

Sutro Baths Engagement Shoot

Red dress, Champagne engagement shoot, beach engagement shoot in California

And finally, see more of my latest California sunset shoots on my Website

Personal, Portraits

Shooting film, is it worth it?

August 16, 2017

“I do like a road, because you can be always wondering what is at the end of it.” L.M. Montgomery.

Today I shipped out a box of film to my film processing company. It was just a white box. A ziploc bag with medium format film inside. No big deal. Just my usual after the wedding. I stopped and thought to myself just how normal it felt. A few years ago this would be a dream. Last year this white box meant the world to me. Do I still dream of buttery film images, yes. Is it all I dreamt it to be, not quite yet. Am I grateful I started the journey, not a doubt in my mind.

Today reminded me of just how important it is to follow your curiosity, to excel in your art, and to try what feels scary to you. One day, it will become the norm, but first you have to start. As an entrepreneur, shooting film and swallowing the expensive scanning fees does not make sense. But as an artist, there is nothing more satisfying than trying new paint brushes, and painting strokes on a different texture canvas. I’d love to share more of how I started shooting film. But for now, I’m beyond grateful for the journey.

Here is Kodak Porta from Stephanie and Will’s maternity shoot. Can’t believe we’ve known each other for over seven years and I’ve been photographing every milestone in their lives! Just love these people and their support!

Fine Art Film Images, Shooting film

How to shoot film. Switching from film to digital

Film processing by Richard Photo Lab

Business, Personal

Career choices and talks on being truly rich.

June 16, 2017

Imagine a world with no artists, no plumbers, no mechanics, no clothing designers, no piano teachers . . . I hope it doesn’t look too happy for you. I chose this category because I’m an artist. My dad works in the plumbing industry. Also, I love my car mechanic. I hate boring clothes and so thankful for clothes designers. And finally, a piano teacher for that one year after many years of struggling at the piano, inspired me like no others to keep pursuing music.

This morning I read a quote about work, how many people choose work they are not suited for at all? Work that doesn’t match their gifts. But instead chase a higher paycheck and prestige in society. I grew up in a communist country, so I love the freedom of living in the capitalist world and making all the money you can, but shouldn’t that freedom also allow us to pursue work fitted for ours gifts? The work that matches our personality? The work that fuels our creativity?

I meet so many people who do a career switch after years of pursuing something they weren’t fit for to start with. I meet so many college students pursuing majors they have no interest in, but that hopefully will lend them a job. Why not just start pursuing something that matches your gifts and passion off the bet? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Work is a means to enrich someone else’s life. Mine is through capturing beautiful moments that should not be forgotten. When you see your work as a way to enrich another’s life, I believe you yourself grow rich and I don’t mean large numbers in bank account. Stay inspired and rich!

And because posts are better with a photo, how about one of my recent favorite portraits from my time in France!

San Francisco Wedding Photographer


Thank you to the lovely Jessie for the photo!


A month in Europe

May 31, 2017

Tuscany Wedding
If you would have told me that in 2017 I would live a month in Europe, I would have never believed you! 2017 started off in Europe and I wanted to show a few behind the scenes of all the amazing shoots I got to do while abroad. What you don’t see in this video is all the amazing people I was surrounded with. But I do hope this gives you a tad bit of idea of how blessed I feel. I inserted the last wedding I shot in San Francisco before taking off to my trip, so much elegance and class! Hope you and enjoy and let me know which part of the globe you liked most in the comments field!

See more on my Website.