By SnapSquad - May 20, 2018

I met Kyle a few years ago while we were both living in Austin, Texas. We went on some fun photography adventures together- capturing the Austin skyline by night, bohemian fashion shoots in the Austin greenbelt, and discovered a hidden Buddhist temple in the hill country. I loved spontaneous photoshoots with Kyle because he was always down to grab his camera and join me. I always knew Kyle was talented but I am entirely blown away by what he has conquered since our Austin days. After moving to California and working in finance, he picked up his things and set off on a world wide adventure. Since then he has travelled to 28 countries and is continuing to explore off the beaten path wonders of the world. 

The Interview:

As someone who has watched your photography skills grow immensely, it's very impressive to see how far you've come! When did you find yourself beginning to become interested in photography?

For me, photography has always been linked to travel. My passion for photography really took off when on my first big backpacking trip a few summers ago - a month in Guatemala and Honduras. I was experiencing so many new things; people, places, culture. I was entranced by it all and wanted to capture the details to help remember my best times on the road.

You've been traveling the world for almost a year now. What kind of photography projects are you doing on your travels?

I have done a couple of projects lately via Instagram with Forbes; taking followers on journeys to both Vietnam and Nepal. Other than that, I shoot for many luxury hotels in exchange for free room and board - this helps keep costs down on the road while living well and staying rested.

What is your favorite equipment to use and why?

I love my Sigma Art Series 24mm 1.4. It shoots really well in low light, and captures colors unlike any lens I’ve ever had. With color being one of the things my work is best known for, its important that my images look vibrant straight out of the camera.

What do you find the most difficult in being a freelance photographer? And the perks?

Honestly, I struggle most with marketing myself. All of the jobs and publicity I get usually come from people reaching out to me. I need to spend more time reaching out to companies and putting myself out there. I suppose that while I am on the road, I really just want to focus on being in the moment.

We love your street photography and portraits from your travels. Have you come up with a method of how to approach people to ask them to photograph them?

For street portraits, I usually just smile and ask, “may I take your photo?”. Often times, I cannot speak the same language as my subjects - this can complicate things a bit. But, a friendly smile and a gesture with my camera are usually returned with a smile and head nod. Once I take a few images, I always show my subject the photos on my camera. This usually results in excitement and enthusiasm. If I am lucky, the subject will ask me to take more photos - these usually turn out the best!

How to you make sure you're respectful of other cultures when you are out and about taking photos?

For things of this nature, the internet is a fantastic place to start for research. But, that’s not where your research should end. Once you get to the country, ask around. The locals are usually very happy to inform people who are making an honest effort to be respectful. And, as always, make sure you ask for permission before taking photos of people while traveling.

What are your future travel plans? Do you think you see yourself settling down a bit soon?

I am planning to travel to more challenging locations soon. As I write this, I am in the midst of a Middle East trip. I want to explore more of the Middle East as well as Africa soon. Last month, I went on my first trek - the Annapurna Circuit of Nepal. I loved it! I want to do more big hikes, currently eyeing Patagonia. As far as settling down, its hard to say. As exhausting as it can be, I absolutely love life on the road.

What is your absolute favorite thing to photograph? Which time of day?

That’s quite a tough question to answer… I tend to go through phases depending on where I am traveling. Sometimes I find myself seeking out street photography and portraiture, while other times I want quiet solitude - shooting peaceful nature scenes on a mountain or in a forest somewhere. Regardless, my favorite time to shoot is sunrise. The soft, golden light paints everything it touches and makes for vibrant colors and dramatic shadows.

You started the 5DollarStories Campaign when we met several years ago in Austin. Do you have any other photo projects in the works for the future?

Honestly, not at the moment - but I do want to get back to using photography as a philanthropic medium. I find it hard to come up with ways to do this while on the road, as I move places every few days. Once I head home to Texas for a break from travel, I plan to have a long think about how I can help make a difference once again.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting out with photography, what would it be?

Stay away from using social media as a way to mark your progress. It can be easy to get into the mindset of  attributing ‘likes’ to images quality. The amount of Instagram likes an image gets doesn’t really matter all that much. Focus on what you want to shoot and create - don’t shoot to please others or for positive affirmation from your peers.

Interviewed by: Caitlin Collins

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