Petlakh turns passion for photography into business venture

Kali Croke, Staff Reporter

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At an early age, it was clear for senior Vika Petlakh that photography was her passion. Although taking pictures started as a personal craft, it soon became a legitimate business. After receiving many compliments on her work and requests for paid photo shoots, she was inspired to create her own photography company, Vika Petlakhgraphy, in September 2012.

“I got into photography at the age of 12,” Petlakh said. “[I was] frustrated with other forms of art, and I never really got good at dance, drawing, painting, music or sculpture.”

With this frustration came a new interest and profession. By September, Petlakh established her own freelance photography company. According to Petlakh, running her own business is tough, but she has managed to make it work.

“It’s a lot of work,” Petlakh said. “It’s basically a 24/7 job between planning, finding models, working out the logistics of the shoot, on top of actually shooting, editing, posting and promoting.”

Although time consuming, Petlakh enjoys being a self-employed photographer.

According to Petlakh, her experience as a model has also made her more knowledgeable about the business and helped her with her work.

“[Modeling] gives me a better idea of the best angles at which to shoot the models and how to make them look and feel comfortable on camera,” Petlakh said.

On the set of her first photo shoot, junior Céline Waterschoot explained that Petlakh helped her overcome her nerves and ultimately produced great work.

“It was actually very fun,” Waterschoot said. “I was kind of nervous at first, but after it was fine. [Petlakh] was really nice and told me to just have fun with it.”

According to Petlakh, her favorite part about photography is being able to bring her ideas to life.

“[My inspiration comes from] some of the ideas I think of on my own,” Petlakh said. “Other photographers’ work also inspires me.”

Senior Annika Synnestvedt, model feautred in Petlakh’s work, also admires Petlakh’s ability to take ideas from other photographers and make them her own original and creative concepts.

“[Petlakh] has amazing ideas for every shoot,” Synnestvedt said. “She is really good at seeing an idea she likes and changing it just enough to make it her own. […] If something doesn‘t go the way we planned, [Petlakh] is always able to think of something to make up for [any time or work] lost.”

In addition to her own concepts and influences from other photographers, Petlakh is open to conducting photo shoots inspired by the ideas of her peers.

“I love to hear about people’s ideas for shoots,” Petlakh said. “I’m always open to new and creative projects.”

As a close friend of Petlakh’s, Synnestvedt appreciates being able to have a voice before, during and after photo shoots.

“After [taking pictures], [Petlakh and I will] look through them and narrow down, edit and post our favorites,” Synnestvedt said. “I’m really lucky to have a good relationship with [Petlakh] because she always lets me have a say about which pictures I like and which I don’t.”

Much of Petlakh’s work can be seen on her Facebook page, Vika Petlakhgraphy. She explained that using Facebook has acted as a very helpful medium in posting her pictures online and sharing her work with the public.

“It’s basically free advertising and helps me get my photography out for the rest of the world to see,” Petlakh said.

In addition to the Facebook page, Petlakh plans on finishing a more formal website for her business in the near future. She also sees her photography continuing down its current path and progressing with time.

“[I plan] to keep freelancing and taking on new projects, as well as personally learning, growing and creating more beautiful work,” Petlakh said.

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