Kimberley or better known as Hello Kimbo is not only a talented and amazing photographer but is a stunning and inspiring individual. Keeping with our theme of finding beauty in the little things, Kim’s photography captures the beautiful story of love between families, lovers and individuals. Having been featured in Hooray magazine, captured photos for the Paperkites and being flown to India with thankyou there is seriously nothing this lady can’t do! We discuss photography, weddings, travel and how she finds beauty in every moment
V: What makes a moment worth capturing for you?
Kim: For me I think it’s the emotion. Yeah, I love emotions and facial expressions. For me, it doesn’t matter about the pose, just as long as I have capture the happiness of the couple, that’s my main rule. Having said that, I’m not very big on the rules of photography.Some photographers say, ‘Oh no, you can’t cut their legs off’ or ‘you can’t take it at this certain angle’ there tend to be a lot of rules and I try not to go by them. I try to go by how the couple are feeling on the day.
V: How long have you been taking wedding photos
Kim: I’ve been doing weddings for 3 years, I started off in newspapers. I did TAFE, I did my Cert 5 in photography. I did my cadetship in a newspaper and quit my course, cause I felt like it wasn’t taking me very far. I worked at the newspaper for four years and then I started shooting more friends weddings and then it built up from there. Now I am like shooting more than 30 weddings a year! At the same time I don’t like to call myself a wedding photographer.I like be diverse and to keep my eyes fresh and not shooting the same thing again and again, as I find I get a little bit stale. I try and do a bit of everything from weddings, to travel to commercial.
V: So it’s like you’re looking at different ways of seeing things
Kim: Yeah, like experimenting and giving it a go, and even if I haven’t tried it or a certain style of shoot. And if it works it works and if it doesn’t work, and sometimes it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I’ll always have a go. It’s all learning. Any job I get I always think, “I should do this better” or I’ll try something a different way.
V: Is there a recent example of when you’ve learnt something or tried something different?
Kim: I’m trying to learn all the time. One of my biggest learning curves would have to be just running a business, staying on top of invoicing and tax. Other things such as new equipment, new editing and shooting techniques, programs and trying to stay on top of your competitors taking interesting photos!
Also, I learn something new at every wedding I shoot…
You definitely come across different circumstances where you have to think on your feet. E.g. How to deal with the family feuds when nobody wants to stand next to each other, when the sun is blaring down and everyone is squinting or even if it’s raining and trying to work out how the bride can stay dry! You’ve got to think about the weather and how you can conquer it… Especially in Melbourne!
Everyone is also so different with how they react to having a huge camera in their face. Often, I will get most couples to do an engagement shoot before the wedding. I think it’s a nice introduction into what will happen on the day. Some people can be so awkward, like… seriously awkward in front of a camera. But over the course of the shoot most couples get use to having a camera in front of their face. For myself, I feel really awkward in front of the camera and know what it feels like!
V: What do you love about taking photos? There must be something about photography that keeps you coming back!
Kim: When you’ve got a really good couple and they really appreciate your work and they understand that it’s more of an art and a passion to you, rather than it just being your day to day job. And they really appreciate having you there and having you capture their day! It’s such a good feeling. Really, really nice couples keep me coming back to the wedding field of photography.
Weddings now are really unique these days, the traditions aren’t there any more, people can get married in the middle of a field, gallery, under a tree, underwater or in a big Catholic church, you never know what you are going to get! It’s an exciting field to be in!
V: So for you its not just photography, it’s more an art form?
Kim: Yeah! I love being creative with couples, especially if they allow me to think outside the square. To try different things, interesting locations and to use different angles and if they are up for anything, that’s pretty exciting as well! That’s what makes some weddings different and some of my photography a little bit different as well.
V: So it sounds like there’s alot of trust there.
Kim: Yeah, It’s so good when people trust you and they let you do your job. It’s just the best feeling when you can be totally creative and in the zone.
V: So how do you stimulate your creative? Particularly at weddings when things generally look the same at weddings? What keeps you inspired?
Kim: I definitely draw inspiration from different photographers. And I also like to shoot in different locations as well, just to change it up for wedding couples. So I’ll go and scout a week before the wedding, so I try not to go to the same places. Which is kind of hard especially when people may want the same pictures as another wedding or similar photos and they like to emulate some photos. Which is always hard, when people come to you with a photo and say ‘I want this’. It’s hard because I didn’t take that photo and I can’t take that same photo because it’s a different style, but I’ll give it a go and maybe make it more towards them and my style.
V: Who’s your favourite photographer and why?
Kim: Wedding Photographers? Dan O day, I just think his work is so beautiful and the way he documents life and weddings. He’s just incredible, his eye and he’s very artistic.
He doesn’t really concentrate too much on the posy stuff. He really captures what’s going on and I love his editing. And Jon Ong is another favourite and good friend of mine (who’s shooting my wedding!), he has a similar style to Dan O Day, his photographs are so simple yet stunning. Jon is somebody who also inspires me in shooting weddings.
Are you creatively satisfied?
Kim: Not all the time, especially with weddings it can start to get kind of the same, especially every weekend. It’s hard to find a balance between family & friends when most people work a 9-5 job and have the weekends free.
I like to travel every year and for the past two years I have gone overseas for around three months all through South East Asia and North America. It kind of inspires me and rejuvenates me and my artistic eye, especially being able to take travel photos and have fun with it!I feel creatively inspired when I am overseas or take some time off to clear my mind. Travelling is great, especially with Thankyou and similar organisations.
V: Yeah, we saw you went on a trip to India! Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ve done with Thankyou?
Kim: Well, I’ve only been on one trip with Thankyou so far, to India, to the state of Assam. Which is a state where a lot of refugees go to, from Bangladesh, parts of Nepal and Tibet. These refugees are pretty much the only people who live in this flood planes because it’s only area that they can take refuge. So Thankyou have been doing some projects over there, and building some raised hand pumps. The hand pumps have stairs up towards them and so that when it floods the people can still access fresh water. Otherwise they would have to drink the dirty flood water, which caries diseases and can be very unsafe for childen. It’s is pretty awful situation. At the moment it’s flooding, and it is the first time it’s flooded since they have built the raised hand pumps. It’s so so good to see the money from Thankyou going to a great cause.I mean, a lot of the children haven’t seen a camera before, so they are like ‘woahhh, this is amazing’. They will just follow you around the village. I think in one village I had around 50 kids, just following me everywhere. They just love photos of themselves, cause it’s like the most craziest thing they have ever seen. It’s really nice to think your photography’s doing something, in a way, getting people see the projects and the impact and then to buy products from Thankyou, so that fresh water and food can be provided to these people.
V: Was it more creatively stimulating over there?
Kim: Definitely, that’s probably my dream job I would have to say. I would love to be doing it full time, it’s just that there’s hardly any jobs, you have to make your own work. To get a job at something like National Geographic you have to find the story yourself, travel with a journalist and then finally, the might pay you if you get published. It’s a extremely hard field to get into. So, hopefully there are a few more trips next year with Thankyou, which is little exciting! I think we will probably go back to Haiti, Cambodia and maybe Africa. I’m so grateful for it, it’s unreal opportunity.
V: So that combination of travelling, which inspires you and photography, which is what you do any way, is the dream?
Kim: Yeah, its the ultimate. It’s like my dream. Seriously, my dream, when I was over there I was thinking ‘this is what I’m meant to be doing!’ So now I’m actually cutting down the weddings and shooting two a month and hopefully Thankyou will keep growing, sourcing more projects and more opportunities to travel and document the people and projects will arise.
V: How many villages did you visit?
Kim: We did around three a day. The days were long… about 10-12 hour days in 30-40 degree heat. A lot of sweat!! It was crazy, we met sooo many faces! It was also a challenge because you don’t just want to go to a village and pull out your camera and go ‘bam, bam, bam, bam’ and just leave. You don’t want them to feel used. So that was hard, we usually sat down for about an hour or so with the villages and introduced ourselves and got to know the people. Normally, we would talk about their issues and the challenges they face day to day and source a few people that would be willing to tell their stories and what impact Thankyou has had. And that’s pretty much it. We would shoot for most of the day and get back to our hotel and edit for most of the night, so we could get stories to bring back to Melbourne.
V: From weddings to working with Thankyou, they seem so different but they all seem to link to that emotional, people based photography which really seeks to capture the beauty in any situation. What have you learnt from being in both circumstances?
Kim: With weddings, there’s just something about them that I just find it fascinating and to see how everyone goes about it. Yeah, weddings are such a strange thing, so many people around the world get married in different ways and I just find it fascinating to see how people react on their wedding days, and that everyone has a soul mate out there. Even just watching the parents, seeing their children finally get married, is something really cool to see. They are always so stoked!
[Working with Thankyou] Well, the village kids are just so happy there, yet they are stuck in such a bad situation where they can’t get out. They make the most of it! The children are so stoked that you are just there to kick around a soccer ball. It’s an interesting contrast to children from Australia and other 1st world countries.
The children and many of the adults in India, in Assam are the most beautiful people I’ve ever met. They welcomed us into their homes, lives and even wanted to feed us and I think that is a thing of beauty.I especially loved meeting the women of the villages and chatting about life in India, their children and families. It turns out that we are all the same… we all love beauty, doing our hair and keeping a clean house. We just placed in completely different situations.Every time I come home from one of these trips I have to re evaluate my life and what really matters. You can get caught up in the silly day to day stuff that doesn’t matter in the scheme of things!
Kim is a published and widely celebrated wedding and travel photographer who’s work is renowned for its sensational ability to capture the stories of the people in her photographs. When she’s not shooting weddings, she works for Thank you as a photographer and collector of stories.