Yulia Gorbachenko is the Ukrainian portrait photographer known for her gorgeous close-ups and fashion sense, yet she wanted to be a businesswoman. How did she make this dramatic career switch seemingly overnight? She won Broncolor Gen NEXT, a competition designed to launch the careers of the most talented and promising young photographers. In a recent interview, Resource got the chance to hear how this competition has changed her life.

After studying marketing and linguistics as an undergraduate in Ukraine, Gorbachenko moved to the US to get some international business experience. She never expected this move would lead to a dramatic career change, “If someone had told me that I would become a fashion and beauty photographer in the near future, I would not have believed them. I’m not sure that fashion photography even existed as a real profession in Ukraine when I was growing up.” When she got a semi-pro camera for her 21st birthday, everything just clicked, “I’ve never been without my camera since then. The only difference is that my cameras have become more and more professional with time. At first I experimented with continuous lights and movement, I still do sometimes, and then over time I polished my style. Photography has given me lifelong goals and an identity.”

Yulia Gorbachenko Broncolor Gen NEXT 1

Gorbachenko refined her photography skills further through studying at the School of Visual Arts in New York, where she received her Masters in digital photography. After she graduated, she was certain that photography was her true calling and dove into her practice, “I was shooting a lot and never stopped… When I started out I tried everything but nothing fascinated me more than the beauty of humans faces. I’m very much into little details that make a dramatic difference in every photograph and close-up portraits allow that.” Her big break came when she entered the 2015 Broncolor Gen NEXT competition, “Support is exactly what every young talent needs. Broncolor makes it easy to enter the competition – all you have to do is to present your top work and hope for the best. So I did. If you win, Broncolor makes sure to help you out on your way up in the best way they can. The rest is up to you!”

Yulia Gorbachenko Broncolor Gen NEXT 2

Gorbachenko certainly made the most of both the professional connections Broncolor has to offer, as well as the $24,000 worth of Broncolor gear that goes the Gen NEXT winners, “It’s fascinating to see how top quality lighting equipment enhanced my work. I can see a huge progress in the last year. I’m beyond thankful for this opportunity.” Her photographs clearly deserve the attention they’ve been getting within the fashion photography industry as her style is becoming instantly recognizable. Work like the image above blurs the line between fashion and art both literally and metaphorically.

To get a better idea of how Gorbachenko’s work has developed with the addition of her new Broncolor gear and connections, we asked her to tell us about one of her best pieces yet, pictured below. She explains, “Right before Halloween, I was offered to shoot an exclusive Halloween beauty story for Models.com. This site is my go-to place for all fashion news updates, so it was a no brainer. I was immediately excited about this collaboration. The theme was flowers applied in an extraordinary way that fits with Halloween.” After finding the perfect model for her vision, something that is extremely important for this style of photography, Gorbachenko set up the shoot with her Broncolor gear, “Broncolor gives me the best lighting quality available in the market and it’s super easy to use. The Broncolor Para 88 and 133 are my go-to products for every shoot that I produce.”

Yulia Gorbachenko Broncolor Gen NEXT 3

The setup that Gorbachenko used for the above image is shown in the lighting diagram below. She says, “For the background I used a simple canvas, which was quite a challenge to light. I repositioned it differently for each look, using Broncolor Strip Softboxes (30x120cm) on each side of the canvas. By playing around with the intensity of the Siros I was able to achieve the desired darkness. For the main light I used a Para 88 with a diffuser located on the model’s left side.” This image clearly shows why Broncolor saw so much promise in Gorbachenko.

Yulia Gorbechenko Broncolor Gen NEXT lighting diagram

The 2016 Broncolor Gen NEXT competition is now open for submissions. Gorbachenko says, “The competition is open to the young and furious. There is nothing to lose – go for it!” As this competition has been responsible for launching the careers of numerous, talented young photographers, we definitely recommend you throw your hat in the ring as well.