Talking California Dreaming with Kimberly Genevieve

What comes to your mind when you first think of California? Yes, beach, fun, bright colors and lots of palms. So each time when we are in a serious need of all this, we hop over to Kimberly Genevieve’s Instagram for a hefty dose of California Dreaming. A photographer and California girl at heart, Kimberly has mastered the art of capturing California’s playful side.

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hen Kimberly packed her ’94 Dodge Spirit and hit the 5,000 miles from Ottawa to Los Angeles eight years ago to pursue her dream of living a creative life in La La Land, she didn’t know exactly where it will lead her. But stars ( or rather palms ) aligned and Kimberly, with hard work and passion, found herself freelancing as a full-time advertising photographer with clients such as L’Oreal Paris, Apple, Coach, DryBar and many many more. We are thrilled she found time to share with us what California means to her,  her favorite road trip and where’s the best brunch in LA without a line ( if there’s such thing). Read on…

When we look at your images, we feel the pure California sunshine radiating from them. They are so vibrant and just a joy to look at. Tell us a little bit about your work and the inspiration for your style?

I’ve always had a love affair and fascination with California, long before I visited for the first time! The year-round beautiful weather, the ocean, the palm trees, the people – everything I admired from afar! I was determined to incorporate that California flair into my photography. People always question how I’m able to shoot in the harsh mid-day sun, but the truth is if you’re going to live here you have to use the sun to your advantage!
Developing my look and style didn’t happen overnight, but I immediately gravitated to LA’s bright pops of color wherever I turned. Seeing color everywhere here made me happy, so I knew I wanted my work to emulate those happy feelings for someone else.

Your website bio says: “A true California girl at heart….” But you haven’t always lived in California. Can you tell us a bit about your journey to where you are today in your life?

When I turned 20, I started to have the itch to travel and get outside of my comfort zone. My fascination with California was stronger than ever, and I needed to see it for myself. My boyfriend Andre suggested we finally take a trip to the west coast and see if it was everything I thought it would be (spoiler alert: it was!). I knew I needed to be in California, so we packed up our things and moved to Los Angeles, no turning back! It was easily the best decision I’ve ever made.

The specific look of your images is already recognizable even without your name attached to it. How does your creative process look like from start to finished image?

Living in Los Angeles is like living in an ever-changing mood board. There’s constant art, food, and places I’m discovering so any regular day I look for something new to shoot. If I have a specific idea, I’ll take that idea to one of my many favorite spots, shoot it and edit it, and have it up on my Instagram that same day. I’m lucky enough to know exactly what I want to shoot each day but spontaneity remains an important part of my creative process – the fun part is finding new things to showcase!

Like every job, it’s not always rainbows and unicorns. What is great about being a photographer? And what are the challenges?

Wouldn’t it be great if it was all rainbows and unicorns? Haha! The great part of my job is getting to shoot and share the things that I love the most. But with every advertising and editorial photoshoot, there are challenges that keep me on my toes. I’ve learned to embrace whatever challenge comes my way! At the end of the day, this is still a running business, so it’s important to stay on top of things like expenses, invoices, and taxes. Thankfully, I’ve got a great partner who helps me take care of that so I can focus on the creative as much as possible.

You are also very active on Instagram. You have worked with brands such as Google and Autograph Collection on campaigns. Can you share with us what it means to be an influencer for you and how does Instagram help your photography business?

I was fortunate enough to be creating content for brands before Instagram, but Instagram has clearly been an important factor in expanding my business. I started out sharing my work and photos that I loved on this little app, and it somehow turned into another way to collaborate with my clients. My regular commercial and editorial work and my Instagram definitely cross-pollinate and have both helped me land bigger opportunities, but at the end of the day, I’m simply sharing work that I’m proud of. It still feels like it did when I first started.

Any advice for someone looking to get into photography business?

On the creative side, go with your gut and shoot what you love – always! Your audience will follow. On the not-so-fun business side, keep your receipts and stay on top of your taxes with a quarterly payment. You’ll thank yourself later!

How does your typical day look like, from am to pm?

I’m up early to work-out and eat breakfast, and then I dive into emails. Every day is different – if it’s a light work day, I head out into the city to take photos for myself. It’s important for me to shoot just for fun when I have the time! On busier work days, there’s usually lots of meetings and phone calls, paperwork to fill out, and preparation on preparation.

What is your way to unwind from a stressful day or week?

It’s important to turn work-mode off when I can, especially when things get a little stressful. The best way to unwind for me is a glass of wine and watching reality television with my dog, Dolly!

What’s next on your to-do list?

There are so many exciting projects coming up I can’t wait to share! I plan on doing a lot more traveling this year (for work and play!). Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

Ok, and now few questions about California…

The thing that makes you happy about where you live.

The thing that I love the most about living in Los Angeles is that there are palm trees everywhere! I’ve lived here for so long now, but I still love seeing palm trees. They’re one of my favorite things to shoot, and they compliment those iconic California sunsets perfectly.

What is your favorite road trip in California?

My favorite road trip in California would probably be driving up the coast to Santa Barbara! You drive along the coast the entire way; it’s mesmerizing to see miles and miles of ocean. And Santa Barbara is absolutely breath-taking; it’s nice to get out of the city every once and a while. Always leave early enough, so you avoid that classic LA traffic!

 

Where should we go for a weekend getaway?

Hands down, Palm Springs! It’s a few hours outside of the city and in the middle of the desert, full of the most colorful hotels and restaurants. I love the people, the night-life, and the mountains. A true desert oasis!

How would you spend your perfect Saturday?

The perfect Saturday for me starts with a long walk in West Hollywood with my dog Dolly Parton. We’ll stop for iced matcha and take some fun photos along the way. I’ll sometimes stop at a friends place and then grab breakfast at the Grove (I love the new Whimsical Macaron Bakery, Ladurée) My Saturday night usually includes friends. We’ll sometimes go Karaoke in Koreatown or plan a fun night out at an outdoor concert like the Hollywood Bowl or the Greek Theatre. During the summer months, we’d also plan movie nights at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. It really is one of the most Hollywood things to do, and it’s so much fun!!!

Your three go-to restaurants in LA?

Real Food Daily – The best vegan food I’ve ever had in Los Angeles. I recommend the Not-Chos, you won’t be disappointed!
Mercado – My favorite Mexican restaurant. They have amazing queso dip (not a lot of Mexican restaurants in LA have queso!), and the margaritas are incomparable.
Belcampo – The BBQ wings here are my go-to, always! Try any of the cocktails; I can’t pick a favorite.
M Cafe – for the Macro burger and sweet potato fries.

Best brunch without a line in LA ( at least not a long one)?

I don’t know if a short brunch line in LA exists! I’m more of a happy hour kind of girl. But if you do venture out for brunch, the trick is to go a little earlier on a weekday. Urth Cafe’s line moves pretty quickly, and they have lots of seating. Try the sunrise pizza, and Green Tea Boba blended!

Where should we shop in LA?

I like to shop where there are a lot of different stores in one place, so I love going to The Grove and Americana at Brand. They’re both amazing outdoor shopping centers with my favorite stores like Madewell, Anthropologie, Nordstrom and J. Crew. They have great restaurants too so you can spend an entire day there!

A hotel, you cannot wait to stay at?

The Madonna Inn – it’s all pink everything!

 

If we have only 12 hours in Los Angeles, what should we do … Where do you take out-of-town friends?

Grab a coffee at Intelligentsia and head to Zuma Beach in Malibu for a beach day (wear lots of sunscreens if you’re fair-skinned like me!). You can grab a late lunch/early dinner at Republique and do some shopping at the Grove. Try to catch a show at the Hollywood Bowl (they always have cheap tickets!) and end your night with a drink at a rooftop on sunset blvd. or Beverly Hills.

Best kept California secret…

I can’t tell you that! Then it wouldn’t be a secret anymore, haha!
If you didn’t know, In-N-Out has a secret menu! Go for a double-double animal style, well-done fries, and a Neapolitan shake. Don’t say I told you!

What do you love most about California?

The thing I love most about California is how everyone here is from somewhere else, but it’s  that somehow feels like home to strangers.

I knew when I first visited here that this is where I wanted to be. I’m so glad I made the decision to call California home. I find something new that I love about living here every single day – it’s a truly ethereal place that I hope everyone gets to experience, even for a quick visit.

 

– as told to California Weekend. 
*All images by Kimberly Genevieve

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