From High School To Career: How Zusha Goldin Became an Entertainment & Portrait Photographer
Meet celebrity photographer Zusha Goldin.
Zusha was born the youngest of ten siblings to an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York. In March of 2020, Zusha moved out to Los Angeles, California, to pursue his dreams of creating winning images with celebrities and business executives.
Zusha shares his art of photography and what keeps him inspired.
What brought you into photography?
What a great question! Sometimes you don’t get into a craft, the craft gets into you. Ever since I touched my first camera, the art of photography and I, have been inseparable. Cameras and I go back years and years to when I was 7 years old and photographing my oldest brother’s wedding in Montreal, Canada.
It was my first time ever taking photos on a point-and-shoot camera and I was so excited to run around the wedding snapping away. I spent the whole day taking photo after photo only to check my gallery in the evening to discover that I had forgotten to insert my SD card! All those photos: were lost.
I never made that mistake again, but it was my introduction to the photography sphere and it’s an experience that’ll live with me every day. At the risk of sounding cheesy, I’ll say that I love photography and it loves me.
Did you go to school to study photography?
I am completely self-taught. The only schooling I’ve ever had were YouTube videos and practice.
I believe that art is subjective and school is great, but you can express your creativity without having gone the conventional route.
Which camera do you use?
I currently own a Sony A6000, Sony A7II, and Sony A7III. I love all things Sony, especially because of how compact they are when it comes to travel.
How would you describe your photography style?
I’d describe my style as a premium lifestyle. I really enjoy telling stories with my portraiture and that includes even when shooting editorial spreads. I very much want to capture the essence of the person I’m photographing and so I believe in making the photoshoot set the most comfortable experience possible.
What time of day do your prefer to shoot, night or day?
My peak hour to shoot would have to be the hour after sunrise in the morning or the hour before sunset in the evening. I tend to be nocturnal and I work at night, so for natural light shots, the golden hour before sunset is where it’s at. I thrive at night.
What subject or person have you yet to photograph that you have always wanted to photograph?
Oh my, this list is LONG! But I’ll mention a few names currently on my vision board just to get it out into the universe: Lana Del Rey, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johansson, and Robert Downey Jr.
Do you have a favorite subject or person you have photographed? If so, who?
I have been blessed to work with so many amazing talents, and believe me when I say that everyone has been so extremely courteous and kind, so its hard for me to narrow it down but a few stood out among them:
- Actor Josh Brolin, we had such a great conversation during our shooting time.
- Charli, Dixie, Marc, and Heidi D’Amelio, I have yet to encounter kinder people in this industry. I truly love them.
- Alexandria Daddario, went out of her way to make me comfortable.
- Selena Gomez straight up deserves it all. Extremely kind and humble with everyone.
The Fox Magazine is all about inspiration, what/who inspires you the most?
Photography-wise: Luke Fontana, Greg Williams, Richard Avedon, Annie Lebovitz and Sid Avery.
- My amazing parents.
- My sisters: Sarah M, Chaya M, Chana M, Rivka, Devorah L.
- My brothers: Michoel, Shlomo, Menachem, and Schneur.
- My amazing cousins: Miriam, Pinny, Zevi, Moshe, Tova, and Faigy.
- My amazing network of friends in LA who are too many to name, but know that I appreciate them so!
I truly wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing without the phenomenal people supporting me!
How does social media impact the quality of work for a photographer?
Well… Instagram crop certainly influences how some of my portraits come out because I’m thinking of the crop during shoots. Sometimes, I need to train my brain to forgo the Instagram addiction.
Is there something you are looking to achieve when you photograph something?
To make every part of the image pop. To tell a story. To truly capture the person I’m photographing.
What are some photography secrets that you can share with our readers?
- Always be in the center of the photo when taking a photo on a phone. The corners get distorted and make you look weird.
- The reason you like how you look in the mirror but not on a phone photo is that you see yourself in the mirror-inverted, whereas, on a phone photo you see yourself how everyone else sees you. You look the same, but for your brain, it doesn’t look right and so you think you’re ugly. You’re not ugly, you just don’t perceive yourself the same way others do.
- Being photogenic is a skill. It’s not something innate. Learn your angles, and learn lighting that flatters your contours. Follow the light. Lighting is the most integral thing in photography. It makes all the difference in how you come out in photos.
What’s your best advice for aspiring photographers?
YouTube is your best friend when it comes to learning new material. Study, and then apply. You’ll grow so much! And yes, you should perfect your craft…but don’t underestimate just how important networking is to grow your business. Word of mouth marketing is where it’s at. Under-promise and over-deliver.
Oh and the last thing, you CAN NOT be afraid to charge your worth.
We creatives have zero business sense, and so we end up being starving artists and cannot survive. You’re allowed to charge for your time, your expertise, your results, and ultimately the experience of working with you. Work on your relationship with money. It’ll help you in every area of your life.
What photography or art-related motto, quote or words to live by helps keep you inspired?
My favorite quote isn’t really photography-related:
“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done, than regret the things I haven’t done.”
…and I live by that.