Kyle is a destination wedding photographer working out of Santiago in Chile. Her clever compositions, lighting and interesting use of Tilt and Shift lenses caught my eye and I’ve been following her photography since. She works with her husband Seba, and if you’d like to see more of her work then check out Kyle Hepp, Wedding Photographer.
Tell me a little about yourself and your business.
I am 27 years old and I am a U.S. American expat living in Santiago, Chile. My husband and I quit our full time jobs to go full time over a year and a half ago and we haven’t looked back since!
I shot my first wedding almost 4 years ago. The first year I did 2, the second year 15, this year 23 and so far booked for next year we have 15 already so I think we’ll end up with around 30.
Where are you based and where do you photograph weddings?
Well, we did buy an apartment in Chile this year, but we travel all over the place. In the past two years we’ve shot weddings and sessions in NYC, San Francisco, Wisconsin, Grand Rapids, Michigan, plus Buenos Aires, Argentina and Santander, Spain. Next year we have San Francisco, Hershey Pennsylvania, Surrey, England, and Buenos Aires coming up, in addition to all our Santiago weddings. I’m pretty excited, all the weddings we have booked so far sound like they’re going to be kick ass.
How did you come to work between the US and Chile?
The first couple that flew us to their wedding in WI had studied abroad with me in Santiago. So they knew us and trusted us already and are some of our good friends. They couldn’t find a photographer that they really, really loved in WI and so they had faith that we could come from Chile and produce really cool, unique images for them that they wouldn’t be able to get from another photographer.
Since then I guess people have just seen from our portfolio that we are willing to travel, and I make it pretty clear on our website that we shoot all over the place.
Most international wedding clients are either people who have read my blog for a while, or people who come recommended from past clients. Since we are expats, our circle of friends is very global and therefore we’re lucky that we end up getting hired by people all over the place! I have also been blogging for quite a while, before I ever even became a photographer, so I am fortunate to be in touch with a pretty international audience.
How do you divide your time between the two?
This year we were in the U.S. for a little over 5 months and Chile for about 7 months. For next year we already have about 1.5 months in the U.S. planned, a little over a month in Europe planned, and a week in Argentina. And we’ll see what other trips come up.
How would you describe your style?
Hmmm. I really would say that more than anything else, my style reflects the style of the couple. I want the photos to show their personality, not mine. I’m not one of those artists who says, “my way or the highway.” I very much want to work with every bride and groom, figure out who they are, and then figure out a way to show that in their photos.
What made you decide you wanted to shoot weddings?
Someone asked. I said, “Why not?” Because that’s what I say whenever anyone asks me to try anything new in life.
Do you photograph anything else other than weddings?
I do. I photograph my day to day life. I photograph tons of engagement sessions, which I LOVE doing. I do family sessions, which are hugely challenging and I think one of the hardest kinds of photography to actually do well. I also do maternity sessions and have recently gotten into boudoir, which I really enjoy.
What is your favorite piece of equipment? Anything you wish you’d never bothered buying!
I love our 24mm t/s lens. I also love the 50mm 1.2. And my husband’s favorite lenses are the 35mm 1.4 and the 85mm 1.8. So that pretty much covers us loving our whole range of lenses! As for the worst purchase, we got a video light and then never used it again.
Where is the best location you have shot at?
That’s tough. I have loved so many of the places we’ve shot at.
I have to say that one that stands out in my memory is when we went to Chiloe for a wedding. Chiloe is off the southern coast of Chile, and we actually went to a tiny island called Voigue to shoot the event. About 50 people live on the island. The bride and groom had to bring a generator, bring refrigerators, build a tent, etc. All the guests (and us) came and camped. It was amazing.
Afterwards they did something called a Curanto, which is a special kind of meal cooked by digging a hole in the ground, and putting in fresh seafood over hot rocks.
Is there anywhere new you would like to shoot?
I’m down for anywhere. I’d love to do a wedding in Colombia, Venezuela or somewhere on the Northern Coast of South America. I’m also dying to shoot in Greece. And I can’t say I’d mind Bali!
Any favorite photographers? Past or present.
The way he captures weddings is absolutely inspiring. To me, he represents the best of both worlds – he excels at the photojournalism part of this job, but he’s also AWESOME at posing people. From looking at the photos, you can tell that his clients completely trust him.
He’s also an incredibly nice guy.
Any great advice you would offer new photographers?
Forget about what you want and listen to what your clients want.
Stay true to yourself.
Don’t ignore the haters, even though it hurts, sometimes they have legitimate points that you can learn and grow from. But don’t let them get you down.
Practice, practice, never stop practicing.
What do you enjoy outside of photography?
What does “outside of photography” mean? 😛
I love to travel and write and meet new people. Fortunately traveling and blogging and meeting new people go hand in hand with being a wedding photographer.
What music do you like to listen to when editing?
Pop. Top 40. Sometimes country. Sometimes a little punk. But mostly pop.
That’s it – visit Kyles blog and roll back to April 2010 and have a look at the engagement shoot in a coffee shop to really see her style!