Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Going Back To The Basics & A New York City Wedding

May 9th, 2012

Part One: Going back to the basics – Why I chose to shoot an iPhone-only Wedding (*Disclaimer – This blog post is actually two combined into one. So it’s going to be long. But there’s a reason behind it. If you choose to go all the way until the end, it will be well worth […]

 

Part One: Going back to the basics – Why I chose to shoot an iPhone-only Wedding

(*Disclaimer – This blog post is actually two combined into one. So it’s going to be long. But there’s a reason behind it. If you choose to go all the way until the end, it will be well worth it.)

As a wedding photographer, I often get asked this one common question: “Kenny, do you ever get tired of shooting weddings?” My immediate response to that is “NO WAY!” It is a legitimate question to ask as an observer to someone like me, who has been fortunate to photograph about 200 weddings in the six years I have been in this business. But I want to share with you that every wedding is different. For a wedding to take place, many different elements need to come together harmoniously: people, culture, story, location, time, size, theme, purpose, style, etc. A good illustration is like looking at fingerprints. From just quickly glancing at them, they may all look the same. But when you have the time to observe them carefully, you’ll notice not one of them is ever alike. And I LOVE every single one of them because they give me the opportunity to capture the essence of what weddings are all about. As a photographer, the excitement is renewed with each wedding I photograph because it challenges me to tell a story and find details & moments that my couples will cherish for the rest of their lives.

Part of the reason why I decided to take on the project of capturing a wedding with only my iPhone last week was because it allowed me to strip away all the elements as a wedding photographer. Things such as: Latest technology & gear which forced a theory in my head that every single image has to be absolutely perfect and technically sound. Or a “business-only” mentality clouding my vision to see my clients only as a means to make a living for myself instead of two beautiful souls committing together to love each other for the rest of their lives. While all these elements are essential and necessary to run a successful wedding photography business, sometimes we need to pull back and retune our thoughts to remind us of what is most important. Shooting an iPhone wedding allowed me to do just that. Take a look at this image I captured with the iPhone at my friend Kenny Nakai’s wedding (not last week’s wedding but the first wedding of this year which I stood as one of the groomsmen):

iPhone-only wedding photography by Kenny Kim

What is the first impression that comes to your mind when you look at this image? For me, it was a nice moment of genuine love and happiness shared between a bride and groom who just finished their ceremony. It was a moment many people probably did not notice. I doubt even the subjects knew that this moment was being captured. Joe Buissink a highly sought after celebrity photographer whom I respect and can call as a friend said it best:

“There is no such thing as a perfect image, only a perfect moment.”

If you are looking at the image above and the first thought that comes to your mind is full of skepticism (bad exposure, poor lighting, too much grain, ‘why shoot with iPhone!?!’ mentality), then perhaps you might want to ask yourself if you have deviated from the passion for this craft. While there were many other reasons I photographed a wedding last week using just my iPhone, one main reason was because doing so brought me back to the basics – the heart of it all which made me fall in love with this profession in the first place six years ago. The timing was perfect for me because I have a busy wedding season ahead this year and I needed the reminder (shooting 25 weddings – going to places like Bermuda, Mexico, England, New York, California, Houston, Chicago and traveling to France & Italy). It restored in me the joy of photography and going back to the basics was what led me to this discovery.

Part Two: When Alex met Thalita – A New York City wedding
This wedding I am about to share with you is a special one because everything I talked about as a photographer above is exactly what my clients did as bride and groom. Meet Alex and Thalita. He’s a successful opthamologist (aka eye surgeon – I had no idea what that meant when I first heard it) in New York and she’s a highly sought after international fashion model. I do not want to toot their horns, but while they certainly had the means to have a big extravagant wedding, they also chose to go back to the basics and have a very small intimate wedding to commit their love to each other. So on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon in New York City, the five of us (bride, groom, best man, maid of honor and myself) took a quick trip to the City Hall where they had a short but beautiful ceremony followed by a photo shoot around the city where I had the freedom to exercise my creativity with them. When the night rolled around, they invited their closest family members & friends and had an intimate dinner together celebrating their wedding.

I LOVED this idea. Just to be clear, I am not saying that having a big extravagant wedding is not a good idea. As I mentioned before, every wedding is different and beautiful in their own way. The main thing is to decide, as a couple, how you want to celebrate it. Big or small, extravagant or not, the most important thing is that you celebrate your love in a way that is special to you. I loved their wedding because it reinforced what I was trying to share above. It is about going back to the basics to remind you what is important. So thank you Alex and Thalita for the reminder. You guys are beautiful people inside and out and your wedding was truly an unforgettable one filled with stories which I am sure we’ll talk about for a long time. Thank you for the privilege of allowing me to capture your wedding and to now call you friends.

Here are some images from their wedding day. In case you were wondering, no I did not use my iPhone for this wedding. 🙂 I did keep this shoot very simple though. Just my one body (Mark 1DIV) and two lenses (16-35mm f2.8 & 70-200mm f2.8). I felt like it was an appropriate thing to do for this occasion.

Thalita & Alex - A New York City Wedding by Kenny Kim Photography


Thalita & Alex - A New York City Wedding by Kenny Kim Photography


Thalita & Alex - A New York City Wedding by Kenny Kim Photography


Thalita & Alex - A New York City Wedding by Kenny Kim Photography


Thalita & Alex - A New York City Wedding by Kenny Kim Photography


Thalita & Alex - A New York City Wedding by Kenny Kim Photography


Thalita & Alex - A New York City Wedding by Kenny Kim Photography


Thalita & Alex - A New York City Wedding by Kenny Kim Photography


Thalita & Alex - A New York City Wedding by Kenny Kim Photography


Thalita & Alex - A New York City Wedding by Kenny Kim Photography


Thalita & Alex - A New York City Wedding by Kenny Kim Photography


Thalita & Alex - A New York City Wedding by Kenny Kim Photography

Thalita & Alex - A New York City Wedding by Kenny Kim Photography


Thalita & Alex - A New York City Wedding by Kenny Kim Photography


Thalita & Alex - A New York City Wedding by Kenny Kim Photography


Thalita & Alex - A New York City Wedding by Kenny Kim Photography


Thalita & Alex - A New York City Wedding by Kenny Kim Photography


Thalita & Alex - A New York City Wedding by Kenny Kim Photography


Thalita & Alex - A New York City Wedding by Kenny Kim Photography


Thalita & Alex - A New York City Wedding by Kenny Kim Photography

By the way, I am having a PhotoVenture Tour to Italy this Fall from November 6-12, 2012. If you have never been to Italy, you owe it to yourself to go. This trip will help you get back to the basics and fall in love with photography all over again. While many workshops out there will teach you “how” to become a photographer, this “unworkshop” will teach you to discover yourself by asking “why” and before you know it, you’ll be transformed into one. Interested? Visit the website and contact me for more information.

PhotoVenture Tour to Italy - Next stop: Tuscany & Umbria

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PhotoVenture IV Preview – Venice & Veneto Region

September 13th, 2011

When people talk about traveling the world, the city of Venice often gets mentioned. I have been engaged in numerous conversations regarding this city and have heard different opinions about it. Some think it’s too dirty and crowded. Some will come and go on a short day trip and treat it like it’s another pit […]

 

When people talk about traveling the world, the city of Venice often gets mentioned. I have been engaged in numerous conversations regarding this city and have heard different opinions about it. Some think it’s too dirty and crowded. Some will come and go on a short day trip and treat it like it’s another pit stop for typical tourists traveling to Italy. Some even thought it’s a city in front of the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas (no joke). Then there are people that absolutely LOVE Venice. The most romantic city in the world. The ones that never been daydream of going there one day while those that have cannot wait to go back again. Regardless of one’s opinion, you cannot help but to ignore Venice. It is one of the most unique city in the world and I hope everyone will get a chance to visit her at least once in their lifetime.

The minute you walk outside the Santa Lucia train station in Venice, you get immersed into the venetian culture. It can be visually overwhelming but take a moment to enjoy the surroundings. It’s beautiful. It truly is a unique city and there’s none like it. Then imagine that you are standing on a city built on water more than 1500 years ago by people that dared to defy sea and build themselves a magnificent dwelling place on top of mud banks in a swampy and treacherous lagoon. Venice has triumphed over all these years commercially, economically, and artistically as one of the most dominant society in perhaps all of western europe. Breath-taking venetian gothic, byzantine as well as other form of architecture will visually thrill you as you ride a boat across their water canal. For most people, Venice will be a short visit as most tourists will flood in the morning and dry out by late afternoon. But to truly experience Venice, you need to stay for several days and get lost in the streets were the locals live. There are approximately 270,000 Venetians dwelling in the island and it’s surroundings and to see them in their day to day life will help you understand and appreciate Venice. Smell the fresh catch at the daily morning fish market. Sip some porsecco during their happy hour as you chat with the locals. Take a coffee break as you enjoy the sunset and music playing in the streets. Sit back, slow down and let Venice soak you in.

I have had the privilege of visiting this city over 3 times in the past couple of years and even had the privilege of photographing a celebrity wedding with Bob Davis in April of 2009. Each time I go back, I fall in love with her more and more. There is something about this city that is magical and it will grab you and not let you go. I cannot wait to go back this November – this time with a group of my photographer friends. I’m privileged to have Bob Davis accompanying me on this adventure as a special guest/speaker. Whether you are a novice or a professional photographer, you will walk away from this trip a different person. Do yourself a favor and visit Venice. She may not be around much longer. Meet her before she is gone. This will be a trip of a life time and I hope you can join us in the fall. A presto!

For more photos from my past trips to Venice, visit my Facebook Gallery: http://on.fb.me/mYELEX

For more information, visit: http://photoventure.kennykim.com/
Dates: November 14-20, 2011
Registration deadline: September 30, 2011

Purchase any Roller Bag and Receive a Free Gift

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…Going to the Castle of Love – Castello Di Amorosa

August 18th, 2011

There are several hundreds of wineries in Napa Valley and I am pretty sure most of them, if not all of them, make great wines. But just like in any business, In order to stand out from the rest, you have to market yourself to be different – and Castello Di Amorosa did just that. […]


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There are several hundreds of wineries in Napa Valley and I am pretty sure most of them, if not all of them, make great wines. But just like in any business, In order to stand out from the rest, you have to market yourself to be different – and Castello Di Amorosa did just that.

I first heard about the castle from my friend Kim Geis who is a resident in Napa. When she found out that I was visiting there last year, she insisted on bring me to this winery that was designed like an Italian tuscan castle. In 2010, I spent over 2 months in Italy and got to see some pretty authentic medieval castles there so it was going to take a lot to impress me. So my initial reaction to her was “a real italian castle in Napa? Come on Kim, it’s going to take a lot to impress me…” Boy was I in for a big surprise!

Driving along highway 29, we passed by Napa, Oakville, St. Helena and the famous “Welcome to Napa” sign. As soon as we entered the town of Calistoga, I turned left into the winery. As I drove long their long winding path that lead to their parking lot, my reaction took a complete different turn. “Oh wow, there really IS an Italian castle in Napa.” The owner Dario Sattui, who also owns V. Sattui winery just down the road built this castle using materials all imported from Italy – brick by brick. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

I got to tour the castle with one of their tour guide Cynthia (I’m not sure what her official title is), who gave us a detailed description about the castle. I was so impressed with what she had to share. Her passion for the castle infused with little bit of humor & sarcasm made the tour very enjoyable. I have been back to the castle total of three times now and every time, I brought back a different group of people to share this experience with. I also made sure that Cynthia was the one that gave us our tour. On my most recent visit, I became their member even though I live in Chicago. I wanted to be part of what they were doing.

Next time you visit Napa, be sure to stop by this castle and request Cynthia to give you the tour. You will thoroughly enjoy your visit, not to mention their great wine. Dario took his dream and made it reality simply by doing it. Castello Di Amorosa (or Castle of Love) will inspire you to be different and teach you to follow your passion!

Castello Di Amorosa

Castello Di Amorosa

Castello Di Amorosa

Castello Di Amorosa

Castello Di Amorosa

Castello Di Amorosa

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Kenny Kim PhotoVenture III – A Quick Wrap Up

March 25th, 2011

We just finished our PhotoVenture last week in Italy. What an unforgettable time with some amazing people. It’s hard to describe all that has happened in just few photos and a blog post – nor will I attempt to. For now, I want to share an image of our group and a video that Rob […]

 

We just finished our PhotoVenture last week in Italy. What an unforgettable time with some amazing people. It’s hard to describe all that has happened in just few photos and a blog post – nor will I attempt to. For now, I want to share an image of our group and a video that Rob Adams Films has made from this trip. It’s just a teaser of what’s to come. Meet our handsome group:

Meet our amazing group

Here’s a short video showing a glimpse of what we experienced (with more to come):

We cannot say enough about these group ragamuffin bunch and the fun we had learning, growing, experiencing & rediscovering our passion for photography together. Big thanks to all the attendees that made this journey possible. You all played an integral part in this experience! Until next time… PhotoVenture IV???

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Kenny Kim Promotional Video Version 2

March 4th, 2011

Many times, I am commissioned for weddings outside of my town which makes it impossible for me to meet the potential clients. Videos are a great way for your clients to get to know you as a person and a photographer without meeting physically in person. While meeting people face to face is still the […]

 

Many times, I am commissioned for weddings outside of my town which makes it impossible for me to meet the potential clients. Videos are a great way for your clients to get to know you as a person and a photographer without meeting physically in person. While meeting people face to face is still the best, video is another great way to make an introduction. I recently had a chance to work with Chris & Oliver Cinema to put together a video that showcased some of the places I have been to this past year and compiled a video/interview. This was debuted at my WPPI platform presentation: “Confessions of a Wedding Photographer”. Here is a promo poster for my talk:

And here is the video that was played at the presentation:

Kenny Kim Promotional Video Version 2 from Kenny Kim on Vimeo.

Hope you guys enjoyed it!