A Closer Look at Laurence Kim Photography.
Laurence Kim remembers vividly the photography class he took in high school. The class had a lasting impact on him. “I just loved every part of it,” he says , “…developing the film, the smell of the chemicals, the magic of the image appearing before my eyes…”
Photography continues to intrigue Laurence today, from the technical aspects to the artistic. He especially appreciates the timelessness of it. “I’m amazed how photography can freeze a moment forever. With my camera, I can capture special moments – like a quick smile or a knowing look - that might otherwise pass by unnoticed,” says Laurence.
As a professional wedding photographer, he’s made it his job to ensure that these special moments are captured and remembered. His business, Laurence Kim Photography, is based in Seattle, but Laurence loves to travel and experience destination weddings.
Laurence always goes the extra mile to ensure he captures the essence of the bride and groom’s day. “There is a lot of preparation to ensure that I get the very best. The work really starts the day before.” On the day prior to a wedding, Laurence keeps busy recharging his batteries, cleaning his lenses, formatting his CF cards, organizing his camera bags, and reviewing the itinerary. “It’s very helpful to review the names of the best man, maid of honor, and the parents before the wedding,” knows Laurence.
To get inspired, Laurence sometimes flips through fashion magazines like Vogue. “I’m not interested in replicating something someone else has produced, just viewing it to spark some creative ideas of my own,” says Laurence. He also likes to keep up with the work of fashion photographers, like Steve Vaccariello, Andres Hernandez, and Joshua Jordan. “Among wedding photographers, I love Jessica Claire’s crisp and stylish imagery, the playfulness of Nate and Jaclyn Kaiser, and Yervant’s sexy bridal portraits.”
When photographing a wedding, Laurence spends most of the day shooting in a photojournalistic mode, but when it’s time for the bride, groom, and wedding party portraits, Laurence creates a relaxed fashion shoot atmosphere. “I never tell my clients to smile because then I end up with a fake smile. I just let my clients interact with each other and the beautiful, natural emotions happen all on their own.”
During the bride and groom’s fashion shoot, Laurence loves to use his Canon 70-200mm f2.8 lens. “I love to use this lens,” says Laurence, “It isolates the subject and turns the background into a gorgeous mush, making the shot appear almost 3D!”
Laurence feels rewarded for his hard work when the clients finally see their images. “I often see them cry with joy. In what other profession do clients do that? If you’re an accountant, plumber, or computer programmer, your clients don’t cry with joy upon the completion of a job,” considers Laurence, “You just can’t put a price tag on that.”
Laurence has high hopes for the wedding photography industry. With the explosion of digital photography, Laurence has noticed a lot of new and unprepared photographers entering the industry, and he has seen a lot of disappointed brides who wish they had made better decisions when hiring their wedding photographer. “My hope is that things will shake out over the next few years, leaving only the talented photographers with viable business,” says Laurence, “That will elevate the entire industry and make for a lot of happy brides.”
To get the best fit, Laurence recommends that brides get to know their photographer’s personality, experience, style, and talents. “The more you know about these things before you book, the more likely you are to be happy with your wedding prints,” says Laurence. For this reason, Laurence believes his blog has become his best business asset. “My blog gives prospective clients the best representation of my photography and personality. My website is more static, like an on-line business card.”
In recent months, Laurence has been building a fashion portfolio. “Some day I’d like to launch my own fashion photography business,” says Laurence, “but until that time comes, what I am learning about fashion photography will continue to benefit my wedding and portrait business.”
In the short term, Laurence plans to continue improving his craft and meeting his booking goal of 20-30 weddings per year. “I’d also like to do something crazy that will take my business in a new and unexpected direction – I just don’t what that is yet!”