Ukrainian fashion and commercial photographer Jaroslav Monchak specialises in tightly composed, superbly lit and stylish portraits infused with nuanced storytelling. His clients include international brands and top fashion magazines and, in order to deliver the high-end shots they demand, he needs to be on top of his game technically, particularly when it comes to lighting.
Based in Lviv, Ukraine, the Canon Ambassador started taking photographs in 2005, shooting mostly landscapes and macro images. "When I eventually tried portraits, I discovered they always offered me something new – new emotions, new people, new energy," he says. "I enjoyed it so much, I decided to take it to the next level and bought my first DSLR and a 50mm lens. After a while, I was able to turn pro and open my studio, where I taught myself how to work with light. Once you've mastered how to work with light, as well as how to handle the camera, everything else falls into place."
When it comes to capturing the essence of high fashion today, the Canon EOS R5 is the only camera for Jaroslav. "The overall fantastic image quality makes it possible to give the photos to the client immediately after the photo session, without even processing them!" he says. Jaroslav switches between the Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM lens, which allows him to shoot with a wide aperture – ideal for scenes cloaked in low light – and the Canon RF 28-70mm F2L USM, which affords him the quality of a prime with the versatility of a zoom.
Jaroslav's photography school, Lighthouse, has helped thousands of students, so he knows a thing or two about getting the best out of both models and photographers. "I tell my students to start with a close-up, and encourage them to gradually pull out to include hands, shoulders, hips and legs in the frame. But always gradually; there's never a need to rush," he says. "Do not regret a single click! This method helps to gradually encourage a person's natural behaviour, behind, as well as in front of the camera."
Here, Jaroslav explains his techniques for fashion photography and shares 10 tips for capturing pro-level beauty and fashion shots.