10-Week Push Challenge: Beauty, Portrait & Fashion Photography.


The last couple of years were great and very busy for me. I founded Retouching Academy, Retouched Magazine, wrote for Fstoppers, taught at CreativeLive, and met so many great people around the world while traveling with my workshops.

It was an amazing experience, and I loved every trip… until later in 2014 my immune system gradually gave up and I started getting ill. I just couldn’t handle all the stress, physical and mental. And that’s when I was forced to stop and look at the insane whirlpool I was putting myself through… completely forgetting why I chose to become a photographer in the first place.

Teaching is great. Teaching truly deepens your own understanding of any topic you attempt to teach. And I always enjoyed it.

But, unfortunately, I could never master getting caught up with work between the trips, or take it easy and relax during those trips. I felt rushed and overwhelmed non-stop for many months in a row. Every upcoming trip was an additional stressor. I could only start enjoying it after all of the events had passed… well, too bad, ’cause it’s time to go home, catch up on piles of work and get ready for the next trip.

When I looked at my archives. I realized that I shot for myself more in 2012 alone, than I did in 2014 and 2015 combined together. I taught many photographers, but my own progress as an artist came to a complete stop because I didn’t have time for my own art.

No, that’s not what I wanted to become.

It’s time for a new chapter.

I have been saying “no” to every workshop invitation since the beginning of 2015. I still had a few trips in the first half of this year, including CreativeLive and Fstoppers Workshops, only because I committed to those in 2014. But now my schedule it business travel-free.

This summer I signed an agreement with a studio in Los Angeles, and now I have 3 days each month to plan and execute a shoot for myself. I have set myself up for an upward movement as an artist now, and I invite you to join me in my artistic journey.




I still truly enjoy teaching, sharing my knowledge, but I am much happier and healthier when I can do it from my home in Los Angeles.

So, I created this website as my new “online home” where I can share what I know as well as what I learn as I continue to educate myself and experiment in the studio.

And now that I am almost starting it all over I need a real push. I am creating this 10-week challenge for myself first and foremost, so I can evaluate where I stand, where I want to be and define my action plan. Our skill level might be different, but if you want to take your artistic destiny in your own hands, I am sure you will benefit from it too.

I am planning to carefully research and put together a challenge for every of the 10 weeks, and since I am only starting to build it, the gaps between each letter will be longer than just a week. But if you are joining me later in 2015 – oh cool, I am talking to my future friends right now! 😀 – then most likely the first few weeks will already be coming out each week.

I want to leave a lot of freedom for myself as to what I will share in this series of letters, but some of the points that I want to cover in the 10-week Push Challenge are:

  • I want us to really get it together and make plans for ourselves as creative professionals, so we will analyze what we have now and where we want to be
  • I want us to define our goals and make action plans
  • I will share my knowledge and tips that I have learned over the years through my own practice and from the talented people I got to work with
  • I will talk both photography and retouching, as my image creation starts in the studio, but retouching is what allows me to bring them to my personal degree of perfection.

Feel free to sign up to my 10-week Push Challenge on the front page of this website.



I also want to keep you accountable, so I created yet another Facebook Group where we all can share our progress, support and encourage each other.

Feel free to join it: Master Beauty Photography.


My best Birthday party ever! 🇬🇧🎉💝#London #England #londonartists #thankful ❤️ A photo posted by Julia Kuzmenko McKim (@juliakuzmenko) on

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Showing 8 comments
  • Nilcelio Rodrigues

    It is very nice to have that moment of privacy, I hope the best is yet to come, the future sometimes escapes cotrole.

    “Group Link does not work”

    • Julia McKim

      Thank you Nilcelio! I’ve fixed the link, try now 🙂

  • Richi

    The FB Group is content is currently unavailable.

    • Julia McKim

      Richi, thanks for letting me know – I set it to be a “Secret group”, but it looks like it isn’t visible even through a direct link. I’ve changed it to “Closed group”, so it should allow everyone to join now.

  • Ari Labadi

    Just signed up. Looking forward to this new journey. Cheers.

    • Julia McKim

      Thank you Ari! Everything is possible, no matter where you are 🙂
      I came from Russia and at the time that I was starting it wasn’t easy there either.

  • SHiBiN

    Hi Julia, I am a newbie here, but wish to work with your steps from now ownwards

    • Julia McKim

      Thank you 🙂 I am about to finish up the challenge steps 🙂

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