Creator Spotlight: Daryna Barykina

When Photography and Beauty Collide

October 6, 2021

As a little girl, Daryna Barykina remembers secretly tearing out advertisements from fashion magazines in the waiting room of the beauty salon while her mom got her hair done. And while, over the years, she’s amassed quite the collection of inspo, she never thought her dream would become a reality—that she’d be the one creating the spectacularly vivid images that adorn those very pages.

But she is. Daryna is a beauty and advertising photographer that specializes in stylized, conceptual imagery. She creates over-the-top, moody photos—as well as clean and beautifully polished ones—for her clients. 

Want some photography inspo and tips? Daryna uses her Instagram, YouTube and TikTok to  inspire and teach fellow creators how to pick up their cameras and give their own dreams a shot.

Originally from the Ukraine, Daryna relocated to Florida with her family in the 2010s—and this is when she officially began pursuing her dream job in the beauty industry. Armed with a background in photography and business (a photography degree and an MBA), she set her sights on creating photo magic.

From trade publications like Salon Today, American Salon and Hair’s how-to fashion mags like, and Elle, her imaginative photographs are popping up just about everywhere. And her competitive nature is keeping her busy, making her one of the go-to hair competition photographers. And she doesn’t just photograph competitions, she wins them herself. Her awards include the 2020 Grand Prize in the Lady Gaga x Adobe Chromatica Tour competition; the 2018 North Florida Rising Star Award in Photography; and the 2015 Advertising Photographer of the Year award by Neutral Density Magazine.

We caught up with the creative photographer to talk dreams, upcoming projects and advice she has for fellow creators.

Tell us about yourself: Who are you? Where do you work and live?

My Name is Daryna Barykina. I am a beauty photographer and content creator. I live in the largest city (by area) in the United States: Jacksonville, Florida.

Why did you originally create your account and how did it evolve into what it is today?

Originally, I created an Instagram account to share my hair-color-focused self-portraits (I changed 32 different hair colors in three years) and beauty work. My self-portraits went viral. I became known in the hairstyling community and started getting jobs from hair care and color brands as a photographer and model. Then I fell in love with cosmetics, and currently, I create marketing assets and content for cosmetics brands.

Tell us about a post you created that makes you feel proud (and why).

This is probably not so much of a post, but rather a project. I created a series of covers for a trilogy by a New York Times best-selling author, Suzanne Young. All three covers are self-portraits. It was my most challenging work to create. While I am just a one-person production team, every step of my process was evaluated and adjusted by a team of editors, marketing experts, and the author herself. The toughest part was to produce very particular facial expressions to convey the author's vision for the cover.

Currently, I am working on a course that teaches makeup artists and beauty content creators how to be great at photography.

Do you have a general workflow? Where do you find inspiration? How do you plan posts?

Usually, the task itself (client's brief) inspires me enough to get creative and start looking for unique approaches and solutions. I am lucky enough to have clients who trust my creative vision and allow a lot of freedom.

My workflow absolutely must begin with an organized and clean studio. A messy studio does not motivate me to create. Once the studio is ready, I look at the product (if it is cosmetics) and analyze color and texture. I imagine possible lighting scenarios and angles that will show off the product at its best. So basically, it is a lot of staring at the product :D. Once I have a clear vision and a game plan, I just shoot away.

My posts are all organic. I do not plan; I go with my intention for the day and what I want to talk about with my audience at that particular time. For sponsored posts, there is definitely more structure, but I always aim to have the posts feel and sound authentic, like my own voice.

What's your dream project?

I would love to create and photograph some amazing avant-garde look on a celebrity—showcase the celebrity in a new and unexpected way. I’d like to work with Anya Taylor-Joy, Jessica Chastain, Angelina Jolie—their beauty is so inspirational to me!

What's the best advice/tip you can give creators around the world?

Have your mentality grow into the artist that you are. Embrace your own path. Acknowledge that it is different and nothing like other's paths to success. Stop repeating other people's blueprint—make your own. Drop comparisons—mind your own business.

Any recommended creator(s) you're following?

@philippjelenska is an absolutely stunning beauty and fashion photographer.

Which emoji best describes you?

🙌 - I use this emoji a lot. To me, it is a sign of friendly support, like a double-hand high five, or it can also be praise, admiration. It depends on how you read the emoji.

Don't forget to follow Daryna on social media:

Daryna's Instagram

Daryna's YouTube

Daryna's TikTok

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