Kimberly Genevieve is a lifestyle & commercial photographer whose aesthetic blends sun-kissed surfer style with bright palettes and an eye for clean design and composition. Her style captures the magic of a single moment, speaking in color and movement and she draws inspiration from the everyday. ASMP-LA interviewed Kimberly about her commercial work, creating gifs and what it’s like to be considered an influencer.
You are known for your bright color pops and playful photos. How did you create that look? Is that your personal style or something that has evolved from commercial clients?
Color just makes me really, really happy! There’s so much going on in the world, and all I want to do is share photographs that put people in a good mood and also photographs that make me happy as well. With color, regardless if I’m shooting or retouching, for a single moment, I can forget about everything and just focus on something bright and playful. I also get a personal high knowing people feel happy when they look at my photos, especially when they leave comments on Instagram about how a specific photo makes them feel, I really love and appreciate that because all I want to do is create images that make people smile. We’re bombarded with so much negativity on the news and on television that I can’t help but want to put love and light into the world.
What’s your favorite kind of photoshoot?
Any day at the beach with my toes in the sand and a camera in my hands is a good (GREAT!) shooting day. Also, I absolutely love photographing women!! And as you may have already guessed, I love anything with bright colors, popsicles, and palm trees, haha! I dreamt about California for so long, so I try to utilize its amazing personality as much as I possibly can, it just feels right.
What gear do you typically use?
My go to camera equipment brand has always been Canon. Their cameras have been reliable, durable, and they have been great workhorses for me. Their cameras haven’t let me down yet (knock on wood)! My everyday camera is a Canon 5D Mark IV and my go to lenses are all Canon as well (24-70mm 2.8, 70-200mm 2.8, and 50mm 1.2).
When it comes to lighting on set, or on-location, for editorial, commercial or test shoots, I mostly use Profoto lighting gear. I also use Profoto when I’m shooting my stop motion pieces in the studio.
One piece of advice, PLEASE remember that gear doesn’t make the photographer! I started out using a crop sensor Canon Rebel with a 50mm, 1.8. It took me over a year to save up for a full frame Mark II. Within that time, I developed my style, aesthetic, and an eye for what I loved to shoot. So don’t feel like you have to invest in top of the line equipment, particularly if you’re just getting started. Get better first and shoot a ton. Build a strong portfolio then slowly invest in better gear.
How did you get started creating gifs?
Stop motion and GIFs piqued my interest in early ’17 when I started seeing brands use more and more stop motion videos in advertisements and for their Instagram feeds. Even though stop motion isn’t a new thing, I thought it was a really cool and a different approach to creating unique content. I often get inquiries from brands for my personal Instagram account, so I started using these new opportunities as a way to challenge myself creatively and push myself in a direction that I hadn’t yet perfected. I wanted to add stop motion to my portfolio and this was a great way for me to shoot a ton of content and get really good at it.
Tell us a little about your post process for your stills and gifs. What programs do you use? How much of your color pop comes from post processing vs lighting and styling in the field.
For my gifs: Since everything is photographed in sequence, and the lighting doesn’t change throughout the GIF, I will color correct one photo in Photoshop, create an action, and then apply that action to the remaining images. For my photographs: My color “pop” is created within Photoshop, where each color is individually tweaked to my liking. This is my favorite part! And if I’m too busy with back-to-back assignments, I have a really great retoucher who I work with.
What do you love about creating content for social media (either personally or for clients)?
It’s just so much fun! I don’t have to follow any specific rules. I often shoot with a bit more negative space and bright colors (obviously) because that is truly eye-catching on social media. It’s really about creating work that the social audience is going to be excited about. My work is really light, bright, and always playful, so that’s really what I focus on when I’m shooting directly for social media. The quality will always remain portfolio quality. I never shoot social content on my cell phone. I work with the same equipment that I use to shoot commercial and advertising work. I just prefer it that way!!
What is it like to have such a large social media following and be considered an “influencer”? Do you feel like that helps you get commercial clients?
I think there are perks to it, and I think it’s fun to travel and be offered a comp’d hotel room now and then, but I don’t think you have to work any less to get the commercial clients that you want. I am constantly hustling, and getting my name in front of clients that I want to work with. This entails sending promos, going to meetings, and jumping on calls all the time. Outreach is huge! It’s always nice when a client says, “I found you on Instagram!” but I don’t usually count on that for bookings.