Mexico City photographer Olga Koroleva on creativity and art.
I met Olga two years ago in Mexico City, where I went to do a creative flying dress photoshoot and my first personal branding session. Olga lives and works in Mexico City, so it was easy to schedule a photoshoot. She knows much about the big city, and I trusted her professional opinion when choosing the right location. Being a photographer, I felt overwhelmed while looking for a Mexico City photographer. Although there are many good ones, I needed someone who had a refined artistic vision and an elegant approach to portraiture. It took me a while to find Olga, but the moment I saw her gallery, I instantly knew she was the one I would trust with my photoshoot.
We have stayed in touch since the photoshoot in Mexico City and often discussed creative flow, photography challenges, and funny life moments. So, when I offered her to give an interview for my “Fine Art Lifestyle” project, she gladly agreed, and here it is.
Mexico City photographer Olga Koroleva
How did you become a photographer?
It all started 15 years ago when I accidentally found an old, dusty Zenit TTL film camera in my dad’s closet. I remember this feeling when I was holding a legendary vintage camera, which was in great demand at that time.
Dad said that, at one time, the camera was quite expensive, and not everyone could afford to buy it, these words inspired great respect and curiosity, and I immediately started asking how I could take pictures with this camera.
After studying the aperture, shutter speed, and exposure, I rushed to the store to buy a film pack. I remember it clearly; this was a kind of magic. Since then, I have not stopped taking pictures, and photography has turned from a teenage hobby into a business.
What is the main theme of your photography?
I tell nostalgic, vintage, and natural stories about people and objects through my photography. I make each series of photographs like a small movie so that my viewer can experience and feel the emotions and the story behind it. The philosophy of my photo series, the concept, and the transmission of feelings is essential to me. I like to tell stories through photos.
What do you enjoy most about being a photographer?
Taking pictures is not only my job; it’s a way of living. I enjoy every minute of it and always look at things differently. I like to notice details and create interesting shots from everyday life. I love observing how people react to it, what emotions each series of photos gives them, and how they see the story behind it.
I want my audience to see who I am as a photographer and what I want to tell. This reaction is priceless, and I always learn from the feedback of people that follows me and people who trust my vision and work with me because the memories and experiences I provide will remain forever. And as a Mexico City photographer I enjoy showing the beauty of this big city.
What inspires you?
Traveling and meeting new people are my favorite sources of inspiration. Also, I am a big fan of good cinematography and art. So I always look for inspiration and fresh new ideas in movies, art, and culture that helps me to come up with new ideas for my photography.
How do you overcome creative blocks?
I always try something new because you never know where to find something special. Sometimes it seems hard, but a new beginning is the best way to learn about yourself. I like to watch videos and take courses in different specialties, not only photography. It helps me to be creative and understand myself better; learning new skills always helps to expand the boundaries.
When I feel stuck, I open a book of my favorite photographers and analyze what I like about this shot and how I can create something interesting and impactful.
How do you maintain a balance between the creative side of photography and businesses?
My approach in photography is based on being a people person, which helps me to communicate with my clients as if they would be a friend, understanding their needs and providing a unique creative experience.
Describe your photography style in 3 words.
What is your dream photo project?
I want to collaborate with my favorite photographers, such as Annie Leibovitz, Ellen Von Unwerth, and some nonfamous photographers, take pictures together, create portraits, and share experiences.
Also, I would like to work with some brands and artists that have the same values and vision as I am. I love natural beauty, eco-style, animals, and traveling, and I believe we could create something valuable, or perhaps we could draw people’s attention to global issues.
What advice can you give to beginners in photography?
If you feel like you want to dedicate all of your time to photography, you need to be active. So always bring your camera when you go outside, practice during different times of the day, and be bold and ask people to model for you and analyze photos of other photographers.
Keep watching good cinematic movies. It helps to come up with new ideas.
Before a photoshoot, create a moodboard, and think about what you want to show through your photography and your idea. People love to view pictures that uncovers some ideas rather than random shots.
Don’t be afraid to take different courses. You will learn new things and meet new people; new contacts are always helpful.
What makes photography an art?
Photography can leave us speechless, make us cry or laugh and evoke the deepest feelings. It has a significant impact on the world. For decades, photography ideas have been based on art, paintings, sculptures, etc. The most artistic thing, in my opinion, is that a photographer can show something very simple in a different way, with different angles and light. A small detail can create something artistic and a unique vision.
What’s is the most inspiring about Mexico City?
Mexico City offers various activities, from cultural and culinary to exotic and exclusive experiences. The city is ideal for those interested in authentic culture, delicious food, amazing people, and art.
Each area is unique and diverse, and it feels like many small towns have merged within one city. I love this city, where every day there is some entertainment and events organized by people who are passionate about their work.
Everyone will find something special in Mexico City, a megapolis saturated with a rich history and culture.
As a Mexico City photographer, what photo session experience do you offer?
I do editorials, portraits, boudoir, and personal branding photo sessions. I am open-minded, and I work with people who already had photoshoot experience and who didn’t.
What is your favorite photoshoot location in Mexico City?
Mexico City has a variety of historical and authentic places. What I like most about Mexico City is that it is so diverse and has different districts that each look completely different, like small towns inside one big city. From the historic Center with beautiful antique architecture to the colorful Frida Kahlo area.
My favorite places to shoot are:
- The Coyoacan area; I love it for its authentic look
- Cobblestones, the oldest cathedrals, and colorful houses
- Historical Center for the unique architecture and European influence, for the oldest parks and jacaranda trees blooming.
- Chapultepec Park for the greenery and unique gems that scattered around the park, such as a botanical garden and ex residency of the president
- Roma/Condesa for Art Deco buildings, street food, and cute local coffee places.
- Casa Azulejos is a building with blue tiles. In the morning, it is not crowded, and in the evening, the balconies of the building are coolly illuminated.
How would you like to inspire with your photography?
I want my photos to be like a teaser to the movie, telling a story about people, nature, objects, etc. I want my audience to feel the moment through my work and to be present while they watch my pictures.
How can photography elevate self-confidence?
Being in front of a camera isn’t as easy as it sounds, and it’s perfectly normal to feel a little weird at first. But, as a Mexico City photographer, my main job is to ensure you feel calm and confident while taking photos.
Photography helps you get to know yourself better; an exciting result is the result of a significant process that allows you to see yourself from the other side.
You learn to trust your instincts, be real, and be a little emotional while taking photos. It’s an adventure and a great experience of gaining self-confidence and learning yourself from a new perspective.
I often hear from models that it is very difficult for them to relax and open up at the beginning of the photoshoot. Still, in the end, they forget that they are being photographed, and seeing the result, they are pleasantly surprised at how bold and different they can be.
What advice would you give people looking to book a photoshoot in Mexico City?
The most important thing is to find a photographer who works in a style that reflects your vision. Send a photographer a few references for the photos you want, and make sure you understand each other.
Discuss a location for the photo shoot and the weather conditions if you are taking photos outdoors. Tell your photographer what you like to do and what inspires you. It will help to be on the same level and develop ideas for the future shoot. While taking photos, enjoy the moment and trust your photographer.
For the most Instagrammable view, go up to the eighth floor of the Sears store – in the Don Porfirio cafe. The view from the palace is stunning, and this is one of my favorite spots for taking photos while sipping traditional Mexican chocolate.
What is your favorite quote?
“Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” Madam C.J Walker
What is your version of happiness?
Happiness for me is to be in harmony with myself and my surroundings.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself as a happy and independent creative doing what I love. It could be big photography or videography projects, or I could do something different it doesn’t matter as long as I am doing something that brings me joy and gives me great feedback.
How can people find you online?
I am very active on Instagram. My account is olga.k_photography I love sharing photo tips, educational videos, backstage, and stories behind the process. When I share stories and posts, I like to bring my vision to life. I also have a website OK Photography where I share my work and articles about Mexico: where to go in Mexico, the best places for the photoshoot in Mexico City, where to spend a weekend in Mexico, helpful advice for a photoshoot, and many more.
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