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My personal soundtrack of 2012

Keeping with tradition of last year’s post, I’ve decided to create a personal mix-tape with nostalgic songs that remind me of the experiences I’ve had this past year.

2012 was jam-packed.

And what an adventure it was.

Here’s the track-listing with the associated back-story of why I chose each song.  Enjoy!

Track 1 – Jonsi – Go Do

Instead of posting Jonsi’s video, I’m gonna cheat right off the bat and use Ryan’s video he made from the Iceland trip we all took in January.  He really captured the feeling of the adventure with the song choice and style – nice work Bryan.  (Inside joke, we nicknamed him Bryan this past year.)

Iceland was an incredibly surreal experience with an atmosphere I couldn’t compare to any place I had been before.  It really had an impact on me, and it’s one place I am seriously considering investing in property.   Not sure if I could live there year-round, but I’d love to visit often.

Track 2 – Andreas Moe – Fade Into Darkness Cover (Helene’s song)

While in Sweden I met an amazing girl named Helene.  In addition to her Swedish accent, she was incredibly sarcastic and insulted me constantly – I was instantly seduced.  One night, we stayed up talking for hours about everything from where we dream of traveling, food, family, music, aliens – you name it.  It was the kind of conversation where you get so caught up that it made hours seem like minutes.  At one point she played this song for me – now each time that I hear it, it makes me think of her.

Track 3 – College – A Real Hero

I heard this song while watching “Drive” on a flight from Sweden to Denmark.  The cinematography in that movie is truly amazing, and if you haven’t seen it – do yourself a favor and watch it asap!

The song symbolizes my shift in mindset towards photography.  Capturing photos and telling the story in a style that’s representative of the true nature demonstrates integrity and just FEELS right.  For years, I’ve been excellent working with PR firms making events that aren’t so crowded appear to look like the hottest ticket in town based off what I capture in my camera.  I went to a convention in March of last year that *blew my mind* in regards to this way of thinking.  (And yes, don’t worry – that will be blogged about)

Track 4 – M83 – Midnight City

I met my ex-girlfriend Nicole back in March of last year, and we used to tease each other of “who-introduced-who” to this song.  One of the things I really liked about Nicole was her appreciation of music & how it added so much to the experience of things.  In the past she had made soundtracks from certain times in her life that she could listen to & remember how she ‘felt’ during those stages – and I of course thought that was AWESOME.

I chose this song because of the significance to our never-ending debate, and also because I feel it has an alternative style like Nicole had.  She was a huge part of my life this year and we shared some amazing experiences together that I’ll never forget.

Track 5 – Chromatics – Tick of the Clock

This year has been so busy with work, at times there was a lot of pressure to get large amounts of work done in a quick amount of time.  One thing to the next to the next to the next - no stopping.  Like a machine.  This song is also from the movie Drive, and I feel it does a good job of conveying the intensity of how I felt during certain weeks.

Track 6 – Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight

On my first excursion to South America this year, I remember waking up in the back seat of the car on the way to catch our 7 AM flight out of LAX.  This song was playing on the radio, and I just had this mysterious feeling of wondering what was in store for this next international trip.  It’s definitely a unique vibe – as most international trips I’ve had are powerful experiences & create memories you will have for the rest of your life.  The anticipation prior is pretty damn exciting.

Track 7 – Tiga – Far From Home

Okay, I’m cheating again.  I’m tying in another video because I feel it does a great job conveying the feeling of constantly traveling from one place to the next.  During the last 2 months of the year, I traveled for 7 out of the 8 weeks and was constantly on the move. Casey Neistat (the guy who directed this video) is one of my favorite film producers. I love his style, but watch the video & see for yourself.

Peru->Chile->Argetina->Los Angeles->Denver->San Diego->Los Angeles->Papua New Guinea->Los Angeles->Bellingham->Canada->San Diego.

In case you were curious.  (And yes, these will also be blogged)

Track 8 – Michael Buble – Home

On the tail end of my trip to Papua New Guinea, I was in the hotel bar with 3 other travelers that had accompanied me on our expedition and they had a live cover artist singing well-known american songs.  This song has been a favorite of mine, and it struck me *especially* at that point since it felt like it had been so long since I’ve really felt “home”.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this.  To be honest with you, as I’ve written this post – I’ve felt a crazy rush of emotions thinking back to these experiences and remembering how I felt at the time.  And while it’s cool to share these stories with you, I’m positive that I’m going to value looking back on this post years down the line…and being able to remember the feelings all over again.

I suggest you do this for yourself as well!  You’ll thank yourself later.

(Photo above was shot in Kiruna, Sweden during my trip to visit the Ice Hotel)

It’s History | mon ami - [...] personal soundtrack of 2012 (here) – Tim King is a photographer that I follow (he goes on awesome adventures around the world), [...]January 3, 2013 – 5:43 am

Jennifer - Tim, I love this. I feel like it so authentically captures you – the women you fell for, the excitement (and grind) of travel and work, and even a little bit of homesickness (thank god you’re human!). For a homebody/workaholic like myself it’s great having you in my life – I get to live through your pictures and your stories. I can’t wait for another year – and don’t forget to slow down and enjoy gems right in your backyard or hometown once in awhile :) Keep up the amazing work!January 2, 2013 – 4:24 pm

7 ways to break plateaus and grow as a photographer

Back in 2011, I hit a point where I felt stuck.

I was a harsh critic of my photography and my attempts to get better weren’t working.  I had been to a few workshops in the past, and was unsuccessful in regards to improving the quality of my photos.

In 2012, I’ve incorporated a few of the following techniques and have seen my work improve vastly from what it has been in the past.  I hope these help, and if you have any experience with using these ideas, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.


1.   Shoot everyday. 

Doesn’t matter if you use your 5D MK III or iPhone.  Maintaining the mindset of constantly thinking about light, framing, and moments keeps your mind tack sharp so that you’re in your best shape when it’s go-time.  The most important aspect being able to recognize how certain types of light affect your shot – and how to work with it or around it.  I’m planning on writing an extensive post on ‘this idea’ alone in the coming week, so check back later on for more in-detail discussion.


2.  Shoot film.

This is more of a “karate-kid” approach towards things, but it helps.  When you only have a certain number of frames to work with, you can be sure you’ll put more thought into each shot.  I know, I know – “But Tim, how does this improve my photography?  I can just take a zillion shots on burst mode and choose the best later!”

In my opinion, this technique helps your mindset.  It helps you anticipate moments, and also subconsciously helps you focus on what’s MOST important.  Not spending time shooting countless photos of a minor detail just because you want to have options to choose from later.  Avoiding any distractions that may affect your workflow come game-day.


3.  Personal projects

I’d suggest this for those that are feeling burnt out and/or bored with their work.  Another karate-kid approach, but I truly feel making photos purely of your own vision helps rejuvenate your motivation to be a photographer, and consequently – opens up your style and allows it to truly blossom into other areas of your work.

There has been a destination in New Mexico I’ve wanted to shoot for a couple years now…happy to say that I’ve booked a flight solely for the purpose of shooting it.  No people to see or places to visit.  Just to shoot.

Have something you’ve wanted to shoot?  Go after it.  You’ll notice a change in your style once you return to your normal work.


4.  Take workshops from photographers you admire

I’ve taken a few workshops in the past, I’ve attended WPPI and other trade shows, I’ve watched popular skilled photographers on CreativeLive…but nothing compared to the 2 hours of time I spent with a certain photographer.  I admired his work, and pursued him to offer a mini-session while he was in town on a short visit.  While he’s not the definitive style of photographer I aspire to be, meeting him led me to discover several other VERY resourceful photographers who’ve propelled my skills.

Recognizing what style you aspire in your own work is key to recognizing it in others.  Also, recognizing a photographer that can relay their approach and help you gain an understanding on how to achieve that look.


5.  Hire 2nd shooters that see things differently than you do

In 2011, I worked with several 2nd shooters who shot the same way I did.  They gave me great quality, but I didn’t really learn from them.

In 2012, I decided to pay a higher price point for my 2nd photographers and contract others that were more established than myself.  OR, some weddings that didn’t opt for a 2nd photographer – I brought on someone (out of my own pocket) whose style was different and new, but not necessarily as established.  Just to see how they worked and if I could use them again.  This approach ended up with a win-win-win.  Both scenarios brought more variety to the final product, I was able to gain knowledge from the more experienced photogs, and real-time discussion of how we saw things differently helped immensely.


6.  Shoot with one lens for an extended amount of time

On a recent trip, a friend of mine let me borrow his 14mm lens.  I’ve tried it in the past and really disliked the distortion on the edges.  In conversation, he assured me that I have to “really get to know it” before I judge it.

He couldn’t have been more right.  While 90% of the shots I took with the lens I won’t end up using, I discovered the situations in which it creates KILLER photos.  It’s a rare breed of shot, but the 14 nails it.

Point being, get to know your lenses REALLY well – where they excel and where they fall short.  It will help refine your thinking in terms of creating the shot, and anticipating what you’ll need ahead of time.  Less experimenting on-the-go.


7.  Shoot something for free. Under the condition that you shoot exactly how you want.  

No exceptions.

I’ve worked with a ton of clients for my event work in the past, and the more and more I express my own vision, I find the more they’re satisfied.  Might be a confidence issue, but when I was first starting out – I had 5 people telling me how to shoot a certain shot or what I need to focus on.

By doing things entirely your way and gauging the reaction from someone experiencing your vision – it may just give you the boost you need to start shooting from the gut more often.


(Here’s a shot of me in Berlin, feeling frustrated that I couldn’t achieve any growth)


Hope this helped!  If you think other’s might benefit from this, I’d be thrilled if you shared this with them.

Phil - Thoroughly enjoyed the post. I have taken workshops with one of the Photographers I look up to, I have a few more I would like to spend a couple of hours with. I have tried the “sticking with one lens for an extended period”, it was very helpful as I wasn’t to happy with my Primes after I got the first one. I shoot primarily Sports, but would love to be able to learn more in the portrait style shoot. I guess I’ll be dragging my Petri 35mm back out now!December 30, 2012 – 1:14 pm

Mark Gonzales - Great write-up Tim! I hope to work with you again in 2013! Stay up buddy.December 30, 2012 – 1:03 pm

An update & an explanation

Been some time, ya?

It’s been quite awhile since my last post on here, and you’re probably a bit curious why.

Well, to be honest – there have been several reasons – and since I like to keep things personal between us, I won’t short you on the details.  Here’s a quick list of things that have been going through my head on why I took such a long hiatus:


Reasons why I stopped blogging:


1.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue the avenue for offering workshops.  My main intent with this blog was to generate a following (this has now changed), and eventually develop workshops which I could offer to my audience.  I went through quite an extensive period of reflecting on how I wanted to project myself in the photography community, and I’m now confident to tell you how I feel about it.

There are a lot of industry leaders in the community – some I feel more genuine than others…and some that are invested for selfish reasons & cut corners.  Hearing stories about these leaders and how they’ve behaved behind closed doors – I can’t express how passionate I now feel about representing my work honestly and maintaining a consistent personality on & off-stage.  It’s disheartening to know that there are a lot of photogs that project an image for monetary gain, and I want to run in the exact opposite direction.  As the adage goes, I’d rather be hated for who I am than praised for who I’m not.  I was so turned off by some of these guys that I really didn’t want to be associated or even compared with them.  There were a lot of elements pulling me away from the idea being a leader, and the thought of concentrating solely on my passion of photography was really appealing.  But the thing is…I love writing, I love sharing, and I love helping others achieve their goals.  Just had to figure out the right recipe to create that kind of atmosphere for this blog, and let people know that I’m not interested in creating workshops for the notoriety or recognition within the industry.  What I’ll offer is what I truly feel will help others propel their advancement with their work, and if they feel it doesn’t – money back.

I’ll admit – there have been times in the past when I’ve felt I’ve been *too* giving and as a result witnessed a backlash in my local market.  Some photographers had used some techniques I had talked about, offered lower rates, and I actually *did* notice it affecting my clients.  Lesson learned.  Can’t give away TOO MUCH.  Also, when you put a lot of time, energy, effort and HEART into your posts – it really feels frustrating when you have trolls come through and say something negative.  But hey, haters gonna hate.


2.  Blogging wasn’t a big generator for new work.  Most of my business comes of word of mouth – and to be frank, this year was incredibly successful even without the help of blogging.  While there are a ton of benefits from blogging, there are a lot of benefits from getting extra time in my daily life.  I can tell you that I sure didn’t miss the time spent writing, editing, and promoting my posts.  In a “time-efficient” sort of way, it really didn’t make sense to spend as long on something that didn’t produce a return in comparison to doing other fun things I could be doing with my leisure time.  If you’ve followed my facebook or instagram posts, you’ll see evidence of a lot of the fun I’ve been having this year.  :)


3.  I was undecided on whether I’d come back to the blog, and if I did – it would need to reflect a strong change in presence (such as you’ll be seeing in the time to come).  I wanted to have a new blog design (shown now), new logo (shown now), and a new portfolio representing my recent work  (I haven’t updated my wedding portfolio in over a year, and I’m STILL booking weddings solid.  Although, it makes me wonder what bookings I’m MISSING OUT on).  The new portfolios will be ready in the coming weeks, and you’ll be sure to hear about it.  I’ve finally gotten some down time to invest in self-promotion (blog, portfolio, promo-videos, collateral) and I’m happy to get back on a regular schedule of blogging.


4.  My style/personality isn’t like other wedding photographers, & submitting posts in hopes of getting attention in the wedding industry seemed ingenuine.  It might surprise you, however the idea of being featured on something called “style me pretty” isn’t thrilling to me.  You know what get’s me PUMPED?  A bride or a client telling me how much they love my images.  It’s not about the details on the table decor, or the font used on name cards, or even the design of the boutonniere (of course they still get photographed).  What’s important are the emotions of the day, who was there, and the important moments like a heartfelt toast from the bride’s BFF from back in the day.  I feel the story of a wedding I’ve shot is best told through my words, my style, and the photos I feel best portray the way everything happened.  Not just how things looked.

Although this issue was something I initially thought of as a ‘disadvantage’, it’s now something I’m realizing is a HUGE advantage.  I’m currently in the process of finding other blogs/sites I’ll guest post for and develop symbiotic relationships with.  They may not be as plentiful, but that doesn’t matter.  (PS – if you have some that come to mind that you’d think I’d love, I’d love it if you’d let me know!)


What to expect and what’s going to be different:


1.  I’m still going to post highlights of my work, but save the strategy to achieve the photos for workshops & personal discussion.  I’ve invested a lot of time, money, thought, and practice into creating the kind of work I currently produce – and that definitely has a MAJOR value to me.  In the time to come, I’ll be creating tailored workshops to help others accelerate their skills, and that will be the time/place to discuss those topics.  While others in the industry claim there are no such thing as trade secrets, you can bet your bottom dollar there are things they keep close to their chest that give them an advantage over the competition.  And if I’m going to offer a workshop, I feel the content should include elements you can’t find for free or elsewhere on my blog.  As of now, the areas which I’d like to focus on offering help in are as follows:  composition & compression, practicality & the mentality approach towards getting the best variety & moments, and lighting.  If you think you might be interested in doing a one-on-one or small group workshop in the future, please feel free to get in touch with me:


2.   100% me.  That’s right.  Expect a stronger presence of my personality and what goes on in my mind while I shoot.  I’ll admit there have been times when peers have affected the construction/content of my posts telling me an aspect of my personality comes off “way strong”.  So be it.  I know I’ll risk losing some readership due to strong/offensive content, but writing what I want to write and how I want to say it is unbelievably refreshing.  And having an audience that’s finely in-tune with who I am and supports me makes it *that* much more enjoyable.


3.  Less categories and a new feature.  I removed “fashion” and “public relations” from my drop down menu as I don’t really need to focus on promoting that work on here.  My PR clients don’t visit this blog much & I get a ton of work from them regardless.  And I don’t really want to promote myself as a fashion photographer.  Not saying I wont show or do that kind of work, but it’s just not going to be listed as a main category – I’m going to be incorporating tags to help make it easier for people to find the work they love to see, and I think they definitely still help if I want to send a prospective client a list of events/showcase a style easily with one page.

A new category I’ll be rolling out will be focused around guest interviews.  I wont spill too many details about it just yet, but I can tell you that I’m pretty excited about these interviews and I think a lot of people will get great value from reading them.  (Hint – it wont be interviews of other photographers!)


4.  I’ve decided to start selling my travel photos.  I always felt conflicted about putting value on my personal travel experiences & didn’t want to tarnish my attitude when it comes to deciding which pictures to take.  After thinking about how a lot of people enjoy living vicariously through my travels & who don’t have the opportunity to do so – I’m more than happy to offer them the option to purchase photos of my vision & experience while traveling.  After each blog post, I’ll have a link to a gallery featuring additional photos available for purchase from that specific trip.

I also figure that additional income will allow me the opportunity to travel more without compromising the true expression of my work & vision.  I’ll still shoot for me & not for what I think will “sell” – and I think that’s pretty key.


5.  Brief email responses.  Yes, I will get back to your questions/comments.  I know some other pros who create email templates and auto responses to respond to readers, but I myself prefer to deliver a personal response.  I’m a fan of keeping things concise and to the point to maintain what time efficiency I have left – so be aware that I might be blunt.  But I’ll get back to ya.  Go ahead & try it out –

Looking forward to things to come.


Patagonia Tim King


(This shot above was taken during a recent trip to Patagonia, Chile at Torres del Paine)



Darren - Thanks for the honest update – Looking forward to hearing more from you in 2013!January 15, 2013 – 10:59 pm

Debbie - P.S. I hope to take your workshop one day. I’ll stay tuned for more details…January 1, 2013 – 9:11 am

Debbie - It’s a joy and refreshing to have you back! Being you! Wishing blessings and the very best as you follow your heart/dreams.January 1, 2013 – 9:08 am

Alison Howard - Can’t wait to read more!December 31, 2012 – 4:40 pm

Kristin - Excited for you and the blog changes! Your work is amazing! :)December 28, 2012 – 8:14 pm

maria jose - Hi! i’m a fan of your work, i’m from chile and I just can’t believe you where here! haha hope you had a good time, I myself have never gone to Torres del Paine, but I know it’s beautiful.December 28, 2012 – 3:05 pm

D. Dilworth - Great summary Tim, refreshing to know that you put this much thought into what sort of community you want to craft around your blog and being brave enough to generate content specific to that niche. How refreshing is it to speak exactly what is on your mind without fear of alienating someone? You’ll soon become the polar opposite of todays politician who speaks out both sides of their mouth, and instead come off as a man of vision and principle. Also not sure if you’ve decided on a platform to sell your work yet, but you should look into! I’m thinking of using it myself.December 28, 2012 – 2:40 pm

Luis - Yay your back! i was about to ask about your blog :) I respect your new steps you are taking towards your photography life.December 28, 2012 – 1:04 pm

christy - Looking forward to it!December 22, 2012 – 10:25 pm


After coming back from a whirlwind of trips, I still had the travel bug. When you get in that mindset, it’s contagious.

When I was 18, I took my first international trip to Baja Mexico with my mom to go kayaking down a stretch of the peninsula, ending with some amazing sights of grey whales. Each year, the whales migrate south to give birth in several bays along the coast – this helps keep the baby whales safe from predators in the ocean when they are first born.

In any case, it was perfect timing to head down there this year, and reports had said that there were more whales than they had ever seen before – so naturally it clicked in my mind that I had to go, one way or another.

I posted the idea to a local travel group I belong to on Facebook – the only time I had available was the next day. Within a few hours, we had our group set up. Naturally, as with anything one tries to plan…things come up.

Dan flaked.

Jason attempted to flake out of fear of the weather. (It was predicted that the entire day would be covered in rain.)

Tim persisted and made things happen. Jason ended up being pretty stoked (you’ll find out why later.)

So Jason, Andrew, and I headed out of San Diego come around 5:30 AM. We had about 10 hours of driving time to get down to the location that was best for whale watching, so the majority of the trip was actually spent here:



And most of what we saw consisted of this:



The Xterra handled it like a champ, and we even talked our way out of a speeding ticket after Jason nailed some speed bumps going about 90 mph



We came across this crazy field filled with these little red succulents



There was this random cactus in the middle of the field, so naturally I posed for my next album cover



Right behind it there was a ditch that randomly had a beehive living in it.  Here’s Jason wondering how this all came to be.



Jason Kirby starring in, “Barbed Wire”



While in search of a lighthouse, we came across this abandoned building.  Inside there was all sorts of trash and graffiti, and also there just so happened to be a noose!  Naturally, Jason pretended to hang himself and together we made (check it out to see the photo)



Crashed out in the car.  Andrew woke us up about 5 times with his snoring AKA yelling during the night.  Woke up to a killer sunrise.



Majestic as f*ck.



Thought about burning one of these down the night before.  Would have made a good fire.



We left for the boat station and waited for about 2 hours to go out in a panga (panga is like a small motor/rowboat).  It was pouring rain and none of the guides wanted to go out in the storm.  Jason gave me the evil eye.

After about 10 more minutes, one of the guides was brave enough to venture out with us.  Luck would have it now, we had our own private boat.



Sure enough, saw some whales.



The mother whale is so stoked to get rid of such a large amount of weight that she’ll jump out of the water (spy-hopping) and the baby is so pumped on life they want to come right up and say hello.

(mother & baby on left – stoked mother spy-hopping on right)


After Jason’s incident in Iceland, we all joked about the idea of jumping on a whale and riding it.  After feeling one of the mother whales gently “lift” our boat while underneath it, we decided it probably wasn’t the best idea.

Jason actually managed to pet a baby whale from its nose all the way to the tip of its tail while it swam by him.  After doing this, he gave me a look that said, “okay dude, this was worth it – you were right.  thanks for kicking me in the ass when I tried to flake”



Our stoic boat guide, Felix.


Andrew pumped that he snagged some killer video with his GoPro and McGuyver rigged light stand.



As you may remember me saying earlier – it was raining pretty hard earlier in the morning.  To protect our gear, we put on some trash bags in hopes of the material shielding our gear while we were out on the boat.  While I think an average photographer might be afraid of taking their camera out in the rain, I think we all knew these were the kind of moments our cameras were made for.



Land-ho!  Spent about an hour and a half out in the water – at some points there were whales circling all around us.  Was an awesome experience seeing these huge animals in their natural habitat, and having the ability to get up close and personal with them.





Mission accomplished.  Time to head back to San Diego for work the next day.



On our way out, we came across this crazy red lagoon that we thought might be fun to take photos of.



As we walked further and further, the sight got cooler and cooler.  We didn’t put this together, but the area was home to one of the largest salt-flats in the world.  If you’ve heard about the one in Bolivia, you know these make for some awesome photos.



The salt looks like snow, but it’s actually pretty hard – it hurt your feet to walk on it.



Jason bitched out and decided not to venture out with us past this little river above because he thought he was going to slice his foot open.



Back on the road.  Saw this on the way back.  BUT WHAT DOES THIS MEAN??



Sweet views driving into the night.



And a sky so crystal clear it was as if you could see every single star.



Now THAT was a road trip!



Would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Date 1 of 30 – Whale Watching Adventure with Xplore Offshore - [...] be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect from this date…I’ve been whale watching down in Mexico twice prior, and didn’t really think that San Diego had much of a marine [...]June 2, 2013 – 5:30 pm

30 Dates in 30 Days with Details Matter App » Tim King Blog | Tim King Photographer - [...] and all the people I’ve met – the most memorable experiences I’ve had have been the road less traveled, the rare and most surreal sights, and the people who march to the beat of their own [...]March 12, 2013 – 4:59 pm

Amazon Adventure | Tim King Blog | Tim King Photographer - [...] Mexico! [...]January 14, 2013 – 6:00 am

noelle - hi! i loved your post. ive been wanting to see the whales there for a few years now and i think this winter might be when it can happen! do you have a recommendation for what time of year youve had the best luck seeing whales? im thinking about going down there for a few weeks and going from cabo up baja.

your photos are amazing. youve captured what i wish to see so beautfully. it made me even more excited to get down there!September 13, 2012 – 1:20 pm

Lauren Moaze - looks like a day VERY well spent :) awesome photos.September 11, 2012 – 6:43 pm

Cathy - I’ve been feeling the travel bug for a while now and your images are making it worse! ;) Guess I’ll have to get serious on planning our trip out west this winter. Loved the post!August 16, 2012 – 8:05 am

Katie Botkin - I love the handstand shot… and the end shot.June 26, 2012 – 6:58 pm

Jared - These pictures were great and a HUGE thank you to the STOIC Felix WWHHHooooopp!!!June 19, 2012 – 5:23 pm

Jimmy Rooney - The photos from the trip are awesome! I love the one at the end. Could be a useful photo for Nissan :)June 6, 2012 – 8:30 am

Lisa Jensen - Way fun! love the adventure, and all the commentary. And of course, the whales. So glad you post about this stuff.May 15, 2012 – 8:33 pm

else jensen - Tim, I love your Baja road trip to the whales. As your aunt it brings back memories of our wonderful kayak trip to Magdalena Bay with your mom and my own previous road trips to Baja. As always I love your photos which are very evocative and I love your Blog text/comments. Thank you so much for sharing your enthusiasm for traveling. You are inspiring! Looking forward to going to New Guinea together and snorkeling together!
ElseMay 13, 2012 – 8:00 pm

Karen - Hand stand photo on the salt flat is EPIC! Are salt flats naturally reflective like that? You’re right, it does make for some amazing shots! I found your site through Instagram. I appreciate the “likes” on a couple of my photos! I look forward to your entries as I just recently moved here from the East Coast and am always looking for new places to go :)May 7, 2012 – 10:36 pm

Adam Broderick - I dig your blog as well as your m.o., Tim. I recently relocated to San Diego and am looking for other photogs to shoot with. I also am usually the motivator/planner. If you ever can’t find others to rally, I could be pretty quick to motivate/pack my bags. Check out my site – you’ll find we have similar interests.May 3, 2012 – 11:15 am

Faith Bowyer - This looks amazing. I have no words, except that this entire adventure looked Majestic as F*ck.April 19, 2012 – 9:23 pm

Justin Douglas - Man this trip looks epic!!!!April 18, 2012 – 4:34 pm

ami - hahaha “Majestic as f*ck”. I love these traveling posts that you do. Really, really awesome. Can’t wait to see where you go next.April 18, 2012 – 4:24 pm

Getting your “vlogging” gear set up!

The most creative gear review you will ever watch from tim king on Vimeo.

I figured it would make a good resource to be able to have a side-by-side comparison of the different options for video blogging, as well as some recommendations for some specialty-type effects that can add value and distinguish your blog as a professional presentation vs an average computer/PC user.

To start off, we’ll introduce the most cost-effective & ease-of-use options:

1. On-board computer camera/web camera.

The video is already loaded on your computer when done, no additional expenditure on equipment. If you’re on a budget and don’t have much time to spend loading/editing video – this is a cost efficient & quick option.

Disadvantages: Lacking quality & versatility. Your videos will have a level of quality anyone can achieve – no distinguishable difference than the average person. Also isn’t convenient to travel, pack, or use in an outdoor or rugged environment.

Cost: No additional purchase required

2. iPhone. (I’d include android phones, but I’d suggest using a webcam/computer video over an android device – my experience with those phones have proved to be some of the worst quality videos I’ve seen)

Extremely portable, no additional cost if you already own, and easy to email/upload. Take it on the go, record video while walking or in between appointments. Immediately upload to your YouTube or Vimeo account straight from your phone with no processing – quickest amount of time from record -> vlog post.

Disadvantages: Same as above, with additional limitation of difficulty to set up to do a self-recording session. You’ll often have to hold at arm’s length and might not be able to get the frame you want without additional help from others.

Cost: No additional purchase required

3. Flip

Extremely portable, easy to use. Fits in your pocket, upload straight from the device.

Disadvantages: Quality isn’t the best or the worst, many average consumers own one for personal use. Additional cost & investment, reported issues with inconsistency in recharging.

Cost: $89

4. GoPro

Very portable & small, obtains a fish-eye perspective which includes more of the settings/background in the video. Has the ability to capture extreme clips, such as underwater, attached to helmet/car/cycle etc. Simply designed camera with less than a handful of buttons.

Disadvantages: No viewing of screen capture without an additional extension purchase. Quality isn’t amazing, sound quality can be extremely sensitive to wind. Better for catching action shots than someone talking straight to the camera. The HD Hero 2 is much better quality than the original.

Cost: $299


Pro-sumer SLR quality video. With a great lens, you can have a professional appearance that stands out above the average consumer/technology user. Rotating viewing monitor so you can see yourself while you are filming, ability to film at lower light than cameras listed above. Sound quality isn’t the best, but much improved from options above. Ideal for the individual business owner looking to make their own high quality video blogs. (Also great to have for personal vacations) Significantly lower cost than professional SLR. Would recommend pairing with a Sigma 30mm 1.4 – which would give a similar look & feel to the 50mm 1.4 shown in the video above.

Disadvantages: Cropped sensor, which means you only get a portion of the frame that you would get from a full frame camera such as the 5D. To read more about what this means, check out this article. Will not fit in your pocket. Adventure/outdoor rigs are considerably more expensive than the GoPro.

Cost: $900 new, $800 used on ebay

6. Canon 5D mk ii

Professional level SLR. Many commercial videographers use this for high quality production, quality is outstanding paired with top-level editing software (final cut, premier) Sharp imagery, several options of focal length and aperture, excellent in low-light. Full utility of lenses compared to the crop sensor of the 60D

Disadvantages: High cost, will not fit in your pocket. Adventure/outdoor rigs are considerably more expensive than the GoPro. No flip monitor to see yourself while filming.

Cost: $2200

SLR Lenses

Sigma 30mm 1.4: Great to pair with the 60D to achieve the shallow depth of field, low-light availability, and accurate portrayal of appearance with no distortion.

Cost: $490 new.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II : Awesome landscape lens. Captures the most amount of your atmosphere/environment around you in your frame. Significant distortion towards the sides of the frame at 16mm. Has the ability to zoom to 35mm. Easy to use in a tight space.

Cost: $1589

Canon EF 24mm 1.4: Great at capturing a wide frame/environment & setting of the background. Ability to have a shallow depth of field and concentrate on the subject. Easy to use in a tight space.

Cost: $1629

Sigma 50mm 1.4: Great lens for a great price. Works great with the 5D mk ii (shown in video above), great shallow depth of field, low light capabilities. Will be a bit tight of a frame on a 60D camera, would need more space between camera & subject. I actually prefer this lens over the canon version – much sharper & great value for the cost.

Cost: $499

As for the other lenses I demonstrated in the video, I wouldn’t recommend them for video blogging as they would only really be used for very specific needs which aren’t exactly the most practical for vlogging. If you have any questions about them, feel free to email me at To give you the technical info so you can research them, they were the Canon 85mm 1.8 and Canon 100mm 2.8 macro.


1. Audio Technica Wireless Lavalier System: What Jason was using in the video with the waterfall. I prefer the quality, super targeted and clear even in harsh conditions. Limited a bit in terms of interviews as the mic is set up for one person initially – needs to clip on to belt and has a lavalier attached on the collar, appears in video if not covert. Good value for the price.

Cost: $129

2. Sennheiser Shotgun Microphone: Minimal set-up on camera, no lavalier appearing in the frame. Directed towards the individual, can be useful for interviews as opposed to a single lavalier. Picks up ambient noise more than the lavalier. Ideal for interviews.

Cost: $199

So that’s everything I have for you guys as far as my experience with vlogging gear. If it came down to it – what I would strongly suggest for the best investment for your video blogs – get the 60D camera used on ebay or craigslist (if you get it from Craigslist, have a photographer check it out with you to make sure it’s legit). Use the Sigma 30mm 1.4 lens to pair with it – versatile lens that will get you great quality and allow you to take some awesome personal/travel photos if you’re considering that as an additional incentive. Add on one of the audio set-ups mentioned above (depending if you’re planning on doing interviews or vlogging from loud environments) and you’ll be all set with a top-notch vlog system that will cost you around a grand.

I’d love to hear any of your favorite set-ups or additional tips from you guys in the comments – I always welcome alternative perspectives and different preferences :)

PS – stay tuned for a lightroom 4 video editing tutorial come Tuesday. I’m planning on video taping a April fool’s prank for tomorrow’s vlog. Let’s hope it all goes according to plan :)

mohamed - any update about this piont :
(I’d include android phones, but I’d suggest using a webcam/computer video over an android device – my experience with those phones have proved to be some of the worst quality videos I’ve seen

its 2014 now and this was written 2 years agoFebruary 28, 2014 – 5:07 am

mattyv - dude….this had me crackin up! by far the best tutorial on vlogging ever.January 12, 2013 – 9:36 pm

Daryl Auclair - Exceptional post Tim. The video was very creative and helpful. My company has many clients who are looking for cost effective ways to setup their video blogging rig. I will have to send them to this post for a quick glance at all their options.

Thanks!May 29, 2012 – 1:06 pm

Tim - @Ryan – The 10-20 is great, but it’s tricky with low light on its own without a flash. Works really well for traveling stuff though – I had that lens for about a year when I first started.April 4, 2012 – 8:23 pm

Ryan Lum - Props to the article Tim. Great breakdown. Definitely am looking into the Sigma 30mm 1.4. What about the Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6? Needing something to offset the crop.April 4, 2012 – 5:59 pm