Rob Kalmbach: Snapshot Rider

At BeCore we love to work with people we who we would gladly share a beer with any day of the week, photographer Rob Kalmbach is one of those guys. Trustworthy and fun to work with, Rob loves what he does and it shows. Based in LA (Venice) and NYC, Rob is an Editorial & Commercial Art Photographer who creates content as a director of photography in both motion and still media. His passions include photographing people, kite surfing, skiing, playing the banjo, and rare odd moments. He shoots every single day and makes a killer granola (thanks to his Grandma).

Also do you know anyone else who has kitesurfed in the middle of NYC? We didn’t think so, get to know more here…

1. You photograph many different mediums, what has been your favorite project so far?

One of my favorite projects titled “Sky Scraping” took me to the streets of New York City with a small crew and was all about a sport I love, Kitesurfing. I came up with the idea of a displaced athlete, in this case a Kitesurfer landlocked in the big city, and just went out and shot it with lots of help from friends and family. I think those are the best projects, the ones that are spur of the moment and are completed with lots of support from people you care about.

2. What is you camera of choice?

Original Canon 5D with a fast lens.


Tell us about motion photography. How does it differ from still photography?

Working as a DP on commercials and films (photographing motion) there tends to be more planning + prep work involved. Everything gears up, layer upon layer to get the perfect shot including how the camera moves through the scene to creatively tell a story. Actors hitting their marks, audio, steady hands all play into motion where as shooting stills for me is more of an organic process where I can slowly build up to that perfect shot which in reality may only last 1/1000th of a second and end up as my feature photograph.

Photo by Rob Kalmbach

When shooting editorial prints, does the client typically have a set plan, or are you able to use your creative freedom?

There is always a rough plan and a conversation about what the client would like to end up with. But with a lot of jobs these days a client may want coverage of everything and not know exactly what they are going to do with the results. I prefer to have a shot list so I know what is desired, and then build and bounce around the room based on the original list.


In you biography, you mention that you shoot photos every day. Aside from photography, what do you do in your free time?

I make my own granola from my grandma’s recipe. I kitesurf in waves, the bigger the better. I grow a garden and love to travel. I have two cats and a lovely wife who are all very cool with the crazy shit I do. Hiking, live music, organizing stuff in my house into little piles, banjo playing, skiing, and most recently collecting stickers and old radios.

How does photography inspire you?

I wish I had a mind altering answer to this question and could get all metaphysical and explain how photography inspires me in a way similar to the slithering inspiration of a slug’s sensation to morning dew. But the truth is I love the feeling I get with a camera in my hands and some color in front of my eyes.

Photo by Rob Kalmbach

What has been the most interesting thing you’ve seen while photographing? Where were you?

I was in Shanghai China on assignment for a book project where just about everything was interesting and came as a shock to my heat-fogged lens. Squatting on the sidewalk a man was sitting with his spread-eagled baby checking the child for abnormalities on his penis and balls, sort of massaging the area while inspecting it very closely. Next to him an elderly well-dressed couple ordered a live chicken and had it beheaded and cleaned so they could enjoy it for dinner that night. The blood from the chicken was running down the sidewalk like a river toward the baby and father. It was all very strange, and wonderful and in the words of Johnny Utah I thought to myself “feels good to be alive doesn’t it”

Tell us about your development as a photographer. What have been some of the challenges you have faced?

Being paid properly for a job can be a difficult task. Sometimes it’s hard for a client to understand all of the work that happens after the actual photo shoot is finished. For every hour of shooting there may be three or four hours of edit time. Another thing that makes the business side of photography tough today is that there are a lot of people who turn into self-proclaimed magic photographers after a trip to Best Buy having just purchased a new SLR. The challenge is convincing the world that you have some training, experience, and a good eye. Then being able to back up your skill with creative ideas and fresh solid photography.


Do you prefer photos that are raw, or do you like adding your creativity with retouching?

I prefer to add my own spin on almost all of my work. Having trained in the darkroom working with light as a tool that has the ability to change the mood and scope of a photograph, it is a natural process for me to spice things up a bit.

10.You have quite a few photos of Venice, California on your blog. What is you favorite part of the Venice scene?

The beautiful and freaky people of Venice are alive! Venice is so full of life and characters that it puts all of the other neighborhoods and cities to shame. Seriously, you just have to open your eyes. Venice is the end of the line for a lot of hungry people, hungry for fame and hungry for food, they are all out there hiding in the alley ways, on the streets, in the cars, in the ocean and under blankets.


And the 2 questions we ask everyone…

What’s your motto?

So far so good.

What did you eat for breakfast?

A blueberry muffin, coffee, then granola (Grandma’s recipe) with blueberries and some blackberries in it, then more coffee.

You can follow Rob and his adventures here:



Twitter: @ROB_K_PHOTO