A guide to getting started as a Travel Photographer with Kenny Kim
As a photographer who specializes in destination weddings, I found a perfect marriage between travel and wedding photography (no pun intended). My vocation has allowed me to travel to numerous countries, discover exotic locations and connect with fascinating locals for more than a decade. Prior to Covid-19, about 40% of my weddings were taking place in destination locations. I spent about half of the year on the road and amassed over 1 million airline miles (not counting the distances covered by other modes of transportation). Aside from my wedding business, I annually led a tour called PhotoVenture Tours (PhotoVentureTours.com). Each trip focused on a specific region of Italy, helping attendees discover all the best things that area had to offer through food, wine and photography. In doing all these things over the years, it has taught me to be a savvy traveler—a skillset required to become a destination wedding and/or travel photographer. Allow me to share some tips on how to get started in travel photography. But before you even pick up a camera, here are some non-gear-related lessons to consider.
Where Do You Want to Go?
The first step in getting started with travel photography is to decide where to go. Close your eyes. Where does your imagination wander off to? Peruse a travel publication. What stands out to you? Scroll through your Instagram feed. Which images churn your inner desire to book a trip there? For me, my mind always drifted to Italy (then came Napa Valley, Hawaii, Ireland and so forth). Wherever your destination is, start doing your research in that area. Even though you may want to go everywhere at once (a common mistake every new traveler makes), start with one specific country and one region. You will end up missing more things and opportunities when you try to see too many things all at once. Narrowing your focus to one particular location will help make your trip more meaningful, enriching and rewarding.
Become an Expert
As a photographer, my clients often turn to me to decide where to take the best photos. I can only do this if I am familiar with those locations. My homework begins with reading about those locations in travel books, publications and online research. If possible, I try to meet some people that are from there and seek out their recommendations. You can learn a lot about a place before even stepping foot there. (Bonus: if you are friends with restaurant owners that are from there, they will not only tell you where to go but where to eat!)