We've had the pleasure of interviewing Kelly and Kody, a full-time travel couple from the U.S.
We've asked them 10 questions about travel photography, keep reading to learn more about the process behind their amazing work!
Hi Kelly, hi Kody, we have been waiting for this interview for so long!
Gear first: what's in your camera bag?
Our camera bag is both our favorite, and heaviest bag we carry. We are currently equipped with the Sony A7iii and 24-105mm FE/F4 G OSS, GoPro Hero 7 and GDome, Mavic Air, and then we both use an iPhone XS Max for stories and quick shoots. We have ND filters for our drone, UV for our camera, and a tripod with adapters for both our camera and iPhones. Our backpack for our gear is just a semi waterproof, RipCurl bag with exterior straps for the tripod. We use an intervalometer with our camera to take our couple photos.
Let's talk about your background. How did you approach photography and editing?
Kelly has a background and degree in Graphic Design so she already had an understanding of how to edit. However, as far as photography goes, neither of us come from any experience or practice. We decided in August of 2018 to change our IG from personal to business, taking our approach to our photos down different avenues. We have found it to be an amazing way to develop our creativity and share our travel experiences, as well as a motivator to explore more. We only just recently purchased our camera in February.
I remember from one of the first time we chatted, you were only using a drone and an iPhone to take your photos while still being able to create an amazing Instagram feed and build a solid following. What was the secret behind your insane iPhone photos?
This is true, it was iPhone 7 and Mavic Air from August 2018 to December, when we added the GoPro and GDome to our bag. We had to be really creative with the iPhone because we didn’t even have a tripod. We were setting it up in bushes and trees, stacking up glassware, piling up chairs and bags just to hopefully find the angle we wanted. Then we would hit the self timer and sprint back into position, sometimes barely making it in time. Eventually we got a bluetooth for the shutter but that was quite late in the game.
Let's talk about what happened to you lately. You were all over the internet due to your apparently dangerous pool photo in Bali. Some people obviously accused you to be a bad example for others, as you could inspire other people to risk their lives just for an Instagram photo. What do you want to say about that, and where is the line between what is acceptable and what is not as creatives?
Mid April in Bali was a bit of a whirlwind for us after our notorious infinity pool photo made the news. We have been asked many times about our intention with the photo, the risk we took for it and the potential to influence others to emulate the photo. The truth is, we didn’t feel it was a risk, and even if we did, we know our capabilities. We would never put each other or ourselves in harms way for a photo. The original photo we took actually showed the pool below, however, while Kelly played around with it in post, we found it more dramatic and beautiful with the pool cropped out of the framing. Being creative is part of life, one that we find to be imparative. Our ability to create our perspective and share it as we wish is the ultimate creative freedom. To live a life afraid of others copying you is a caged life. We are all responsible for our own actions and we will never hinder our decisions based on this ‘concern’.
CAMERA & SETTINGS: Sony A7III, Sony 24-105mm @ 44mm, f/4, 1/1000 sec, ISO 250
According to tradition, our 5th question is about your favourite photo. So, what is your favourite piece of content so far? And why?
Our favorite photo is currently our most recent reflection shot, where we replaced Kelly’s with mine. It is just such a creative and deep shot for us. The idea of seeing yourself in another, finding reflected principles in the one you love, and the perpetual ‘eye to eye’ scenario that results from this. It was a moving concept to us to produce and we loved bringing it to life. We shot this photo in Seminyak because of the dark reflective sand, just as golden hour started. We wanted low light but a bit of a glow on our skin at the same time. I shot Kelly first and then we switched, making sure to keep the same distance and positioning.
How do you take your own photos? Do you use a tripod, do you collaborate with other photographers? And how does it work?
We take our own photos 99% of the time. A tripod and a good Intervalometer are an absolute must for this style of travel and photography. Kelly and I will arrange the composition of the shot, because she has a better eye for it, and then while she gets into place I set up the camera. Once the settings are perfect and I have the focus I want, I usually set the Intervalometer to trigger the shutter every two seconds.
We do collaborate with other travel couples and photographers now and again but we are normally on our own. Collaborations are amazing because we have the ability to take our more complicated and difficult captures, usually heavy movement or element (like waves) based photography. These collaborations are also great for idea sharing, which is the aspect we love the most.
CAMERA & SETTINGS: Sony A7III, Sony 24-105mm @ 82mm, f/4, 1/1000 sec, ISO 125
Composition & editing are clearly your strong points. How do you always come up with new ideas for your photos? And what's the secret behind your edits?
We love traveling and finding unique, beautiful places, but we have been focusing on more of the simplicity and our artistic side lately. The ideas for our photos come from both of us, simply by keeping our options open and seeking a new angle to create. Sometimes the smallest adjustment can have big results. Kelly does the editing work and has some background in this area from University. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Graphic Design, but only learned photoshop in school, years ago. She taught herself how to use Lightroom, which is where the majority of our editing is done.
Your underwater photography is very important as it gives more "depth" to your feed, making it even more interesting. Being a freediving instructor obviously helps, but what makes a good underwater photo?
Our freediving shots are very important to us, an avenue that we take very seriously. We find it to not only be fun, but also very peaceful. As a freediving instructor I suppose I have a higher level of comfort and certainly an ability to remain at depth for longer, giving me a good start as the photographer. Kelly has since taken a course with myself and good friend of mine and has found a hightened comfort as well. In the search for new and unique photography this was an idea that really grabbed our attention. Creating our underwater shots requires patience and a calmed mind. We always begin our dive together and then I move away from Kelly, always responisble for positioning. Since you can’t speak you need to be clear about the concept and 100% on the same page. Once underwater I need to be ready to move, rotate, change depth and handle the camera. Kelly will hold the pose or position but since I cannot ask her to move, I have to be ready to change my angle at all times.
As we usually do at the end of our interviews, it's time to give back. What would be your best tip to someone who wants to start taking photos like you?
Honestly, our biggest tip is to just start taking photos every day. It may sound silly but the day we bought our camer began a series of indoor photo shoots of coffee mugs in different lighting to practice settings and depth of field. If you feel uninspired, search for inspiration. There are so many ways to find ideas for photos when you have a block and struggle to think of them on your own. You need to always remain a student to photography, willing to learn and practice every day.
CAMERA & SETTINGS: Sony A7III, Sony 24-105mm @ 26mm, f/4, 1/500 sec, ISO 2000
We would like to use our last question to talk about your future: you guys are growing so fast and you have loads of opportunities in front of you. What are you focusing on and what would you like to improve in your photography?
Our current focus is our creativity. We have fallen in love with creating depth, changing perspectives, and stepping outside of the defined ‘couples photography’ box. We are pushing to really develop our photography and merge different styles into one we can call our own. The only opportunites we pursue are those that provide a creative potential, those that open up new possibilities.
CAMERA & SETTINGS: Sony A7III, Sony 24-105mm @ 72mm, f/4, 1/2000 sec, ISO 100
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