Photography captures beyond the image; it is the manifestation of a moment — a creative expression of the person and the environment. It is, in its entirety, a full expression of how one connects the subject to the vision and perception of life. Photography, in essence, is the art of frozen time…the ability to instill emotions within a frame.
Natalie Lytvak is one such photographer that embodies the true art of photography. Her artistry is luminous, passionate and thought-provoking. Inspired by her international travels and upbringing, Lytvak’s rare combination of impeccable training, keen aesthetic sensibilities, technical skill, and precision in photography sets this Los Angeles photographer apart from the rest.
This week’s feature editorial highlights Lytvak’s photography business, LYT Productions, and her expertise, vision and professional insights on the industry’s trends and movements.
TFH: Thank you for taking the time amidst your travels to respond to these questions. For those unfamiliar with LYT Productions, can you tell us more about your background, inspiration and your brand?
NL: I am a Los Angeles-based international photographer. For the past 10 years I have lived and worked in Italy, Spain, France, UK, Jamaica, and Mexico. My global experience has influenced my art with an international flair and perspective. While I am based in Los Angeles, I continue to travel for my work.
My career in photography started when I worked as an art restorer, where I met a photographer who asked me to scout wedding photography locations. During this endeavor, I studied camera techniques and how to craft beauty from the ordinary. By working with different subjects, cultures and landscapes, I emerged into fashion with a different approach.
Fashion and runway photography came to be by chance when I attended a fashion meet and greet. I met a reporter, whom I collaborated with for various fashion photo shoots. She directed as the author, and I as the photographer. This opportunity opened doors to working one-on-one with designers and models on varying scales — and led the way to building LYT Productions.
Under LYT Productions, I specialize in fashion, editorial, couture, and portoflio photography and videography. I integrate a blend of art, couture and creativity in my work, delivering high-end, unique and personlized results. With a studio in downtown Los Angeles and beautiful landscapes, I collaborate with each of my clients to set up the environment and space needed to exceed their vision.
TFH: That’s amazing, Natalie! I learn something new about you each time we meet. Earlier, I described your photography as luminous, passionate and thought-provoking. How would you best describe your style in three words? And why?
NL: Three words to embody the essence of my photography? Originality. Illumination. Insightful.
Originality: I prefer not to simply shoot the same style over and over. I am constantly researching new techniques and ideas from fashion magazines, fashion editorial movies and print advertisements, which have to be original in order to stand out and sell. I challenge myself constantly to push to the next level of creative energy which essentially is the genesis and ongoing development of my unique approach and style.
Illumination: I have a great photographer friend whose mantra is “lighting is everything”. I have watched him work outside of fashion and capture the essence of the mood and the ideas he wishes to communicate so powerfully with lightning. Inspired by his words and actions, I have also adopted the value light holds in setting the tone, the mood, and most importantly, the story I wish to convey.
Insightful: I don’t simply shoot with a camera, I use my camera to communicate with and connect with my subjects. When I look through the viewfinder I look for a connection with my subject, not simply try to capture a moment in time. I have what I feel is a unique insight into people and how to best help them communicate their idea of what they want and the essence of who they are.
TFH: Beautifully said, especially on the note of lighting and connecting with your subjects. The best photographer and model bring forth a stunning photo, but what breathes life to the shot is in the connection and emotion evoked.
Moving forward, what are trends and movements in fashion photography that you’ve noticed? And what are your thoughts?
NL: Fashion reporting has traditionally been performed with still cameras and consumed by those reading magazines and music videos on television. Social media and the availability of many forms of digital communication have afforded designers a tremendous new showcase for their work. The problem that comes along with this expanded world of online communication is how to stand out in such a crowded environment. I have witnessed the growth of editorial story telling as a medium for showcasing new ideas in fashion. Much of my work is influenced by those artists who are moving fashion photography to a new realm.
In the past year I have added film to my repertoire as I have found this to be a more effective medium to communicate and visualize. Fashion is not something to simply look at on a page; it is something that should be part of a larger story of our lives. To be able to tell that story allows me to express more how the fashion affects me personally and the world and time around us.
TFH: I love how fashion photography is the art of frozen time — on runway or in the studio. But fashion is beyond a series of shots captured in movement; it is a thesis of grace and influence that transcends time. So I absolutely agree with you here.
You’re clearly passionate in what you do as a photographer and visionary in the fashion industry. Your growth never ceases to amaze me. From what you’ve learned through the years, what advice do you have for aspiring and emerging photographers?
NL: Study, study, study and learn to create what inspires you in photography. There are so many online tutorials, many of them free, that can teach you about lighting, camera settings, use of flash, positioning, rule of thirds, what makes a photo interesting and communicates emotion. I see some that believe that simply buying the most expensive equipment will make them great photographers. It’s like buying the world best camel hair brushes believing in doing so you will automatically be a great painter. I tell aspiring photographers to find a photo that inspires them; then find a tutorial that teaches them how to take (or to create with Photoshop) that image and practice that technique until it become part of their nature. Then find a new photo and do it all over again. Anyone can press a button with a camera on Auto and call himself or herself a photographer. If you really want to be able to convey a message in your photo, tell a story, then this requires for you to see your camera as simply one of the tools that enable you to create that vision.
TFH: Thank you for sharing your best practices with us, and it’s always a pleasure to work with you. If our readers would like to get in touch with you, what’s the best way to view your portfolio and contact you?
NL: Thank you for having me and it is always a pleasure to collaborate with you, too. For bookings and inquiries, I am available at firstname.lastname@example.org or (818) 858-0494. To view my portfolio, my website is www.lytphotography.com. Thanks again!
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