WPPI Speaker Spotlight: Kristi Odom

February 6, 2017

By Interview by Stacey Goldberg

© Kristi Odom

It’s no surprise that there are some big changes this year at WPPI, most notably the new venue (the Las Vegas Convention Center) and expanded show floor. But that’s not all that’s new—attendees looking at the presentation lineup will see that it is packed with new speakers from across the globe, all ready and willing to share their unique perspectives and expertise. Here, we interviewed new speaker Kristi Odom to learn more about her upcoming Master class.

Kristi Odom
Master Class:
The Roaming Photographer—How To Fund Your Lust for Travel
February 8, 1 – 3 p.m.

How do you balance your wedding and nature photography? In what ways do they complement each other?
When I book an international wedding, I take some extra time in the area and give myself a personal project. For example, I booked a wedding in Thailand, then took an extra week and went to Borneo to photograph monkeys. In a way, my brides are funding me as a nature artist and conservationist.

Weddings are when I get to tell others’ stories and my nature work is when I get to tell my story. Being able to explore my own story helps me add a voice to my photographic style. The work is very different, but at the same time, it is all about capturing moments in life.  Photographing animals has made me more passionate about photographing people. I have learned to see emotion in gesture, body language and interaction. Whether the subject is an orangutan holding her child or a person embracing the love of their life, emotion is all around. These small glimpses of life are what inspire me. Through this class, I hope to give photographers the tools to find these emotion-filled moments.

Give us one or two top travel and gear tips.
Make sure your gear doesn’t limit you. I like to be mobile so I can be at the right place at the right time, however, it’s important to find a balance so you don’t sacrifice quality. While I pack light, I always bring my good cameras and lenses. When it comes to travel, I am signed up to get daily flight deals on theflightdeal.com and I am constantly checking out deals on airline websites. Another helpful bit of advice is to look at other trip itineraries, such as those posted by National Geographic Expeditions, to get ideas on where to go and what to look for. Asking for tips from locals (even on Facebook) has been really beneficial for me. People are always excited to help someone have an adventure!

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?
I went to Georgia Tech for electrical engineering because I wanted to be a photovoltaic engineer. I guess I am still turning photons into electrons…just in a completely different way.

Kristi Odom is a photographer based in Washington, D.C., who has built a strong business photographing destination weddings as well as her personal passions: nature and conservation.