It’s hard not to look at Kenny Kim’s life and think: man, he’s doing something right. As one of the industry’s most respected destination wedding photographers, Kenny travels all over the world capturing the special moments of a couples’ most special day. He manages to seamlessly blend the intimate with the exotic, creating images that highlight both the beauty of the place and the people. And weddings aren’t the only time that Kenny is able to combine his love of travel and photography: he also leads photography tours through the heart of Italy (the next one is in October and still has a few spots available!). Until we figure out the secret to his success and set ourselves up with our camera on a beach somewhere, we’ll just be living vicariously through his incredible Instagram feed.
Kenny wears the Camps Bay Backpack in Field Tan.
ONA: How did you get into photography?
KK: I have always been fascinated by the visual arts so I studied graphic design in college and honed my skills as a graphic/web designer. During my spare time, I picked up photography as a hobby and began shooting sporting events at the University of Illinois for the tennis and basketball teams. At the same time, I also started photographing various events at my church. People eventually started asking me to photograph their weddings and shortly after, I realized this was what I wanted to do.
ONA: What camera do you shoot with? What is your “go to” lens of choice?
KK: When I am working, I use Canon 1D Mark IV’s with various L-series Canon lenses. My favorite one is the 24-70mm 2.8L because of its versatility. If I had to, I could probably shoot a entire wedding with just this one lens. When I am off duty, I shoot with my iPhone 5. Lately I have been experimenting with shooting film and have been loving it so far.
ONA: What sort of project drives your creativity? Follow Up: What is your dream project?
KK: Travel and experiencing different cultures drives my creativity. It is the best fuel and education an artist can get. Observing other people’s way of life helps me to re-evaluate my own life. My dream project is getting involved with non-profit organizations and traveling to remote places around the world donating my photography services. I would also love the opportunity to document an important public figure’s life as a “day-in-the-life-of…” project.
ONA: What is the hardest thing about being a photographer?
KK: Probably the discipline it takes to run your own business and managing your schedule. Passion is what got me in to this industry but I quickly learned that without a sound business model, you will not survive. So learning about this aspect of photography has been challenging but fun at the same time.
ONA: Describe your style of shooting.
KK: I am a lifestyle photographer. I am very hands-on with my clients and enjoy spending time getting to know them better. This is why destination weddings are ideal for me. Spending a whole weekend allows me to get to know them better and blend in as a guest and a friend during their wedding. This is important for me because it allows me to capture people in their natural candid moments, which my clients tend to appreciate more.
ONA: In one sentence, what advice would you give to a photographer/videographer just starting out?
KK: Surround yourselves with good people in the industry to learn from, and practice, practice & practice!
ONA: How did you hear about us?
Note: the fantastic photos of Kenny Kim were taken by Rob Ramirez.