Have you ever experienced that impactful moment that immediately draws you in?

That initial moment can set the stage for an enduring partnership founded on mutual trust.

This was the beginning of our relationship with our chief beauty photographer.

It all started with a single, striking close-up photograph — so unique that it remains vivid even after years. It instantly impressed us and drew us to her artistic skills.

Since the establishment of Phaedra Botanicals, dedication, passion, and reliability have been the qualities that consistently attract us, and Liubov Hyrenko effortlessly embodies them.

Our collaboration with Liubov began years ago during a more peaceful time when Kyiv was not under threat from power-hungry forces and it continues until today.

Interview with Liubov Hyrenko Phaedra Botanicals' chief beauty photographer

Phaedra Botanicals: Liubov, your work showcases remarkable artistry. Can you walk us through the moment you first felt drawn to photography?

Liubov Hyrenko: Thank you so much! I fell in love with photography in high school. Back then, I was into art house movies and reading, so I had pretty unusual views on life for a 16-year-old (I bet every 16-year-old thinks so).

Photography in general was a popular hobby among my friends, and one day I decided to give it a try. Just for fun, not thinking about any future perspectives.

What dazzled me most was the ability to create something that aligns with my vision and to express my sensation of the world. Since then, I have had numerous cameras, but I’ll never forget my tiny pink 4-megapixel camera that helped me to create surrealistic scenes.

Phaedra Botanicals: What specifically attracted you to the realm of beauty photography? And could you share the journey of how you ventured into this industry?

Liubov Hyrenko: Well, I was trying to fit into commercial photography but didn’t know how to do that, so I started testing with models, offering simple headshots.

What I knew about beauty photography back then was that this genre was something unapproachable, high-end, and not even worth trying. But somehow, the model agent saw my potential (because all the photoshoots ended with close-up portraits) and offered me the chance to try shooting beauty.

I was shocked because I believed only famous magazine photographers could do that. She offered to organize everything, from creating the concept to finding a team eager to work together. It was a dream come true, and everything went fabulously. To this day, I’m endlessly thankful for this opportunity.


Phaedra Botanicals: Reflecting on your career, could you recount a memorable experience or anecdote from one of your photoshoots that profoundly impacted you?

Liubov Hyrenko: Sure. But it won’t be an exciting story, more of an edifying one. One day, I came to a photoshoot and realized I didn’t want to shoot and didn’t see any sense in doing that. It scared me because photography has always been my passion.

Guess what? It was the first sign of depression, and by telling this story, I want to remind every creative to keep an eye on their mental health. Working until 4 AM every day is fun when you’re 20, but a bit later, your body and mind get back at you. Try finding a life balance and a good psychotherapist.

Phaedra Botanicals: What, in your view, sets apart exceptional beauty photography from the ordinary?

Liubov Hyrenko: It has to evoke emotions. Any kind – good or bad. If photography does that, then it’s exceptional.

Interviewer: As a beauty photographer, what obstacles have you encountered, and what strategies have you employed to surmount them?

Liubov Hyrenko: Hm. Probably people stealing my photos to advertise something is one of the unpleasant obstacles. Thankfully, I have a team who helps me deal with unauthorized use of my images.

Phaedra Botanicals: Considering the dynamic landscape of technology and evolving beauty standards, how do you see the future of beauty photography unfolding?

Liubov Hyrenko: I think that beauty photography might become more diverse and interesting, with a huge focus on uniqueness, self-acceptance, and self-expression.

Phaedra Botanicals: Transitioning to a more personal note, we admire your resilience amidst the challenges in Ukraine. How does this backdrop influence your art, and how do you navigate it?

Liubov Hyrenko: Thank you. This question is the hardest one to answer. And I think people who don’t share a similar experience are not going to fully understand my answer.

It’s hard to be an artist during the war because art is not a priority need; you should think of surviving. But once you get used to it (I know it sounds surreal), you can feel the need to create something again.

I personally can say that war changed me and my art. As much as I love commercial beauty photography, I started to look for something different that ignites me.

I’m still in the process, but currently, I feel more drawn to conceptual beauty photography where I can express my perception of beauty.

I can see my photos have become a bit darker, moodier, but I’m not afraid of photographing what resonates with me. After many years of devoting myself to shooting beautiful smiling models, it’s a relief to accept a different side of my art.

Phaedra Botanicals: Finally, where do you see yourself five years from now?

Liubov Hyrenko: Living in a peaceful Ukraine, working with Ukrainian and international brands, owning a beautiful comfy home, traveling a lot, and having kids.

Interview with Liubov Hyrenko, Phaedra Botanicals' chief photographer
Interview with Liubov Hyrenko, Phaedra Botanicals' chief photographer
Interview with Liubov Hyrenko, Phaedra Botanicals' chief photographer