Archive for the ‘Workshop’ 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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iPhone Wedding Photography 101

May 7th, 2012

“The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You.” – Chase Jarvis We, as photographers, knew it was coming. We knew it when we saw improvements being made in digital photo technology on a regular basis. We knew it when various online photo communities like Instagram began to emerge, which allowed people to share their images […]

 

“The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You.”Chase Jarvis

We, as photographers, knew it was coming. We knew it when we saw improvements being made in digital photo technology on a regular basis. We knew it when various online photo communities like Instagram began to emerge, which allowed people to share their images with the rest of the world and capture some pretty amazing photos from the palm of their hands. We knew it when we saw big companies like Apple shifting their business strategy/focus from personal computing to mobile technology. I began to realize it when I began to receive repeating comments from people when I shared my iPhone photos with them. Comments like: “Did you really take that with your iPhone?” or “How did you take such an amazing shot with just your phone?” We all have thought about it at one point or was a topic of our conversation with friends / colleagues. What am I talking about? Wedding iPhoneography.

I recently saw the movie “Letters to Juliet” (I know, I am a romantic sap. But it makes me become a better wedding photographer – at least that’s my excuse) and I loved this quote: ” ‘What’ and ‘if’ are two words as non-threatening as words can be, but put them together side by side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life.” So I began to ask myself, “What if, I photographed an entire wedding using only my iPhone?” Then all these questions and doubt began creeping in my mind. Questions like: “Is my iPhone good enough?” “Will my battery last long enough?” “What if I fail?” “How will my phone handle under low-light situations?” “Will I look like a fool?”, etc. But I told myself that I will never get an answer to my main question “What if?” if I didn’t follow up with another question: “Why not?” With this came my first project which I want to share everyone out there who might be interested in this topic.

My First iPhone Wedding Gear Checklist

I spend most of my time photographing weddings professionally (www.kennykim.com). It’s rare that I get to attend one as a guest. But this year, I had the privilege of attending two weddings as a guest – which meant that I could put my theory to test. First one, was little bit more difficult because I was actually one of the groomsmen. So I practiced snapping some photos here and there throughout the day using my iPhone. The results that I got from that day gave me enough encouragement to challenge myself to see if photographing an entire wedding (from getting ready until the reception) using only your iPhone can be done. Last weekend, I got to attend another wedding as a guest. Few weeks prior to this wedding, I shared my idea by with the couple and they were more than happy to allow me to test out my theory. With their blessing, I photographed my first wedding using just my iPhone 4 (not 4s), a mini tripod, 20″ light reflector disc and the Mophie Juice Pack Air for battery backup. (I also brought a video light and my canon lens mug because I had so much room left in my gear bag I felt like I had to fill it with something else :-).

In total, I captured approximately 1000 photos, of which, I narrowed down to about 250 being usable. Out of those, I selected about 75 to share with you because that is about the same amount of photos I will use to make an album book to tell the story of their wedding day. iPhone 4 definitely has its limitations right now. I wish I had the iPhone4s to test out but I am still holding out for the iPhone5 before I make my next upgrade – by then, I think I can offer iPhone wedding packages to clients that are interested in hiring me for this service.

 

Thanks to Katherine Salvatori, the lead photographer, for capturing me in action.

Here are some collection of photos I captured from Michele & Joseph’s wedding: (Just to be clear, I was not the lead photographer for this wedding. Anyone interested in having iPhone photography for your wedding day, should still hire a main professional first. This is a great addition/compliment to your wedding day experience, but should not replace the main photographer – at least for now).

iPhone Wedding Photography Gallery

iPhone Wedding Photography Gallery

iPhone Wedding Photography Gallery

iPhone Wedding Photography Gallery

iPhone Wedding Photography Gallery

iPhone Wedding Photography Gallery

iPhone Wedding Photography Gallery

iPhone Wedding Photography Gallery

iPhone Wedding Photography Gallery

iPhone Wedding Photography Gallery

iPhone Wedding Photography Gallery

iPhone Wedding Photography Gallery

iPhone Wedding Photography Gallery

iPhone Wedding Photography Gallery

iPhone Wedding Photography Gallery

iPhone Wedding Photography Gallery

iPhone Wedding Photography Gallery

iPhone Wedding Photography Gallery

iPhone Wedding Photography Gallery

I hope you enjoyed perusing through these photos. Feel free to share this post or ask any questions. I would also love to hear your thoughts. Finally, if anyone out there is interested in commissioning me as an iPhone wedding photographer, I will take them on a limited basis, at a special introductory rate until iPhone 5 is released.

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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

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Getting To Know You – Featuring Photo Editor Diane Rice

July 6th, 2011

Many wedding photographers want to get their work featured in a magazine or an online editorial website without really knowing what steps to go about making this happen. I got my first editorial feature on the Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazine through a help of a friend/fellow photographer back in 2007. It was then that […]

 

Many wedding photographers want to get their work featured in a magazine or an online editorial website without really knowing what steps to go about making this happen. I got my first editorial feature on the Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazine through a help of a friend/fellow photographer back in 2007. It was then that I got to develop a relationship with their photo editor Diane Rice. Since then I have had the privilege of getting couple more weddings and some images from other events featured on there. Rather than giving you tips on how to go about submitting work, I thought it might be best to hear the advice from the main source. I recently had a chance to interview Diane and wanted to share that interview with everyone out there that might be interested in finding out more about what the photo editors are actually looking for in a photo submission.

Kenny Kim: Tell us a little about yourself. How did you end up being the photo editor for Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazine?

Diane Rice: I’ve wanted to be a photo editor ever since I was a kid and I worked on my grade-school yearbook. I loved the feeling of collaborating with a team and creating a tangible product people can enjoy. I still thumb though my eighth-grade yearbook from time to time, and it’s interesting to compare it to what I’m doing now. I guess I’ve come a long way …

I went on to study graphic design and photography in college and later landed my first job as an assistant photo editor for a local newspaper group on Long Island, New York. When I wasn’t working the photo desk or covering local events, I freelanced as an assistant wedding photographer for a friend. I loved how intimate and unique each wedding was and how important the role of the photographer was in memorializing the event. So when I moved to Florida and started working for DWH, it was a natural fit! It was a perfect combination of two of my passions — being part of an amazing team and weddings!

KK: I’m sure you guys get lot of submissions for your magazine. Can you tell us about the process you guys go through for selecting images for the featured wedding section?

DR: First and foremost it’s about great photography! After we close an issue, I’ll go though all the submissions that came in over the past month and flag my favorites. I look for solid submissions where the collection of images tells a cohesive story about the couple, from great portraits to lots of details. The real weddings we feature are about both informing and inspiring our readers. Also, It’s important for us to make sure a good range of locations are represented, so I usually break submissions down into groups according to region. Once I’ve narrowed down the selection and made my top picks, I sit down with the art director and editor. We look though the selects and determine which ones tell the best stories and give us the most visual variety between the pages.

KK: What are some common mistakes photographers make when they are submitting their work?
DR: The biggest frustration for me is an incomplete submission, such as if I don’t have the proper information about a wedding (location, date, bride and groom’s home state) or if there are only couple shots and no details. This puts extra work on me to call in the missing elements. Often I’ll disregard the wedding entirely and defer to a submission where the photographer followed our guidelines. You have to appreciate a photographer who puts the effort into making things easier on us.

Another frustration is when photographers neglect to ask the couple’s permission in advance to not only use their photography editorially, but also to share their personal details. It’s always disappointing when you fall in love with an event only to find out the couple isn’t interested in sharing their story.

KK: What should the photographers be shooting during the wedding that you guys are looking for in a wedding?

DR: All of our real weddings are anchored by one main image, which sets the tone of the story. For this we ask our contributors to shoot an artistic, candid, environmental portrait of the couple, usually a horizontal or easily cropped vertical. We like the place to shine as much as the people! The mood/style/essence is what we’re trying to capture. Our tagline is “the travel magazine for brides and grooms,” so for us it’s important to capture the vibe and unique nature of each destination, especially since many of our bides have never been to their destinations of choice prior to their weddings. Also, we love the unique details! The shoes, the bouquet, the rings, the cake, the food, the decor and very pulled-back images of the ceremony so the setting shines!

KK: Are there any specific destination locations you guys have not covered that you would love to feature?

DR: Wow, that’s a tough one. We’ve covered a pretty wide range of locations in the three-plus years I’ve been with the brand, including Easter Island, a mountaintop in New Zealand only accessible by helicopter, remote atolls in the South Pacific, and African safaris. However, I have yet to receive a submission from Greenland or Iceland. I’d love to run one … especially if they had dog sleds!

KK: What do you think is the ratio between local vs. destination weddings? Are there pros and cons to planning a destination wedding?

DR: In 2000, destination weddings made up 5 percent of the bridal market; today, they comprise 20 percent of the market — and with 2.2 million weddings each year in the U.S., that’s a substantial number.

A wedding away is surprisingly cost-effective. Many destination venues offer free planning help. Plus, you save on decor because with a destination wedding, your location supplies the theme — when you choose an amazing backdrop, it doesn’t take much to dress it up. Also, destination weddings tend to have smaller guest lists and often span a few days, which means — now that you’ve gotten your nearest and dearest together, you can actually spend quality time with them!

There are admittedly some additional logistics to consider. Planning over the phone can be tricky — it’s not like you can just run over to the florist after work to tweak your order. The trick is finding trusted vendors you can rely on to interpret your vision. Planners can be a huge help.

KK: Can you tell us a proper step for publication submission for Destination Weddings & Honeymoons?

DR: The first thing I ask is that photographers obtain permission from each couple before submitting their photography, and that they confirm the wedding qualifies as a destination wedding. By DWH standards, the couple must travel 100 miles or a two-hour drive from home. All submitted weddings must have been shot in the past year. I generally ask photographers to submit 100-150 images, including environmental portraits and lots of details via CD/DVD. Oh, and don’t forget to send a copy of the submission form. You can download our submission guidelines and view upcoming deadlines here:
http://www.destinationweddingmag.com/real-weddings/submit-your-wedding

KK: Any other advice would you give to photographers or in general?
DR: Never stop learning — keep up to date on the trends, read blogs and photographer forums, pick up magazines and study what kind of images are making it into print. Photography, more than many arts, is a medium of the moment, so we need to stay informed and keep our fingers on the pulse of society. And most importantly, don’t forget to have fun with it! Shoot what you love and what charges your creative mojo!

Thank you so much Diane for your time and sharing! You can find out more about the magazine by visiting their website or joining them on facebook. You can also follow Diane on twitter @DianeRicePhoto.

I have couple of workshops coming up that you guys might be interested in:
1) England one day workshop hosted by Sarah P Photography – September 21, 2011. Corsham, Wiltshire, UK. Visit this website for more information:http://store.kennykim.com/england_workshop/

2) PhotoVenture IV with Kenny Kim & Friends – Special Guest Bob Davis
November 14-20, 2011. Venice, Italy & the areas surrounding that region. Visit http://photoventure.kennykim.com for more information.

At both of these events, I’ll be going over some topics related to destination wedding photography. Hope to see you at one of the events!

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Portfolio + Workshop V – Chicago, IL

May 2nd, 2011

My buddy Ray Santana & I started Portfolio + Workshop with a goal to help photographers get their wedding business started on the right track. The first four workshops were held down in sunny Miami but this time we decided to take it on the road. Our next location was obvious: we wanted to bring […]

 

My buddy Ray Santana & I started Portfolio + Workshop with a goal to help photographers get their wedding business started on the right track. The first four workshops were held down in sunny Miami but this time we decided to take it on the road. Our next location was obvious: we wanted to bring Portfolio + Workshop to the coolest city in the U.S.!!! I might be a bit biased since I am from here but if you come to visit, you’ll agree with me (Just stay away during the winter ;-)) that Chicago was the perfect place to host our next workshop.

We gathered at Kenny Nakai’s brand new studio in Chicago. Nathan Holritz of Photographer’s Edit joined us as our guest speaker as well as our sponsor for this event. Many friends in our industry have gathered to make this event possible. Big thanks goes out to Lillian at Starlight Makeup in Chicago for the amazing job styling the bride & the groom models. Gorgeous bouquets were designed by Grace at Vale of Enna Flowers. Charlene at Sweet Chic Events, Inc. & Pure Kitchen Catering provided a sweet table top for everyone to photograph.

Big thanks goes out to: Pixel2Canvas, Photographer’s Edit and Album Crafters for their support in sponsoring this workshop along with Camera Bits and Kubota Image Tools. We also like to thank Courtney Hildebrand from Modern Luxury Media for paying us a visit to talk about the importance of advertising.

All in all Portfolio + Workshop V was a big success and we are glad that photographers that attended this workshop left with valuable lessons and tools to help them get their business started. Here are some photos that were captured of our models during our photoshoot session the second day:

Portfolio + Workshop Chicago Photoshoot

Portfolio + Workshop Chicago Photoshoot

Experimenting with Vintage Action using Kubota Image Tools

Portfolio + Workshop Chicago Photoshoot

Portfolio + Workshop Chicago Photoshoot

Portfolio + Workshop Chicago Photoshoot

Portfolio + Workshop Chicago Photoshoot

Portfolio + Workshop Chicago Photoshoot

Portfolio + Workshop Chicago Photoshoot

Portfolio + Workshop Chicago Photoshoot

Portfolio + Workshop Chicago Photoshoot

Portfolio + Workshop Chicago Photoshoot

Here’s our group. I think some of us were a little bitter from the cold weather (hint: Uncle Ray). 🙂

Portfolio + Workshop Chicago Photoshoot

Our goal during the shoot was to help the photographers learn how to capture these kind of images right out of the camera. Most us put our gear in Auto mode with AWB and spend countless hours behind the computer trying to perfect our image. Instead we taught everyone how to use proper color temperature and exposure to get the results in your camera. These images were pretty much out of the camera with a little saturation & sharpening added along with a touch of skin softening – three quick actions using Kubota Image Tools) will help everyone to learn and perfect the craft of using your camera as a tool to capture what you see. Hope to see you guys at the next workshop. Stay tuned for our next location in the future. For more information, visit the website.

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