Personalized Travel Photography by Christy Hunter with Photowalk Nashville

Personalized Travel Photography by Christy Hunter with Photowalk Nashville

Episode Overview

Episode Topic:

Megha McSwain takes listeners on a creative journey into the world of travel photography with Christy Hunter, the visionary CEO and founder of Photowalk Nashville. Christy has redefined the vacation experience by blending photography with local exploration, offering tourists a unique way to capture their travel memories. Through Photowalk Nashville, guests can enjoy personalized photography sessions while discovering hidden gems in the city. This episode delves into how Christy’s passion for travel and photography inspired her to create a business that not only provides stunning photos but also an insider’s guide to Nashville.

Lessons You’ll Learn

Listeners will learn about the innovative approach Christy Hunter has taken to combine travel and photography. She shares insights on how to make photography sessions more than just a photoshoot by incorporating local culture and experiences. Christy discusses the importance of building strong partnerships with local businesses to enhance the guest experience. Additionally, she provides tips on how to pose and feel confident in front of the camera, ensuring that everyone can enjoy beautiful, Instagram-worthy photos. The episode also offers valuable advice for aspiring entrepreneurs in the travel and photography industry, emphasizing the importance of understanding and engaging with the tourism sector.

About Our Guest

Christy Hunter is a Nashville-based photographer, influencer, and petite style icon who has transformed the way people capture their travel memories. As the CEO and founder of Photowalk Nashville, Christy combines her extensive background in weddings, fashion, and portrait photography with her love of travel to offer unique and memorable photography experiences. Her business not only provides high-quality photos but also serves as a tour guide, introducing visitors to the best local spots in Nashville. Christy’s passion for connecting with people and helping them feel confident in front of the camera shines through in her work, making her a beloved figure in both the photography and travel communities.

Topics Covered

This episode covers a wide range of topics related to travel photography and local exploration. Megha and Christy discuss the inspiration behind Photo Walk Nashville and how it differs from traditional photography sessions by offering an immersive, guided tour experience. They explore the impact of social media on travel photography and the strategies Christy uses to ensure her clients get stunning, shareable photos. The conversation also highlights the significance of building relationships with local businesses and how these partnerships enhance the overall guest experience. Additionally, Christy shares personal anecdotes, including memorable client stories and tips for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to break into the travel or photography industry.

Our Guest: The Visionary Behind Photowalk Nashville: Christy Hunter’s Journey in Travel Photography

Christy Hunter is a Nashville-based photographer and entrepreneur who has revolutionized the way travelers capture their memories. With a diverse background in weddings, fashion, and portrait photography, Christy has developed a keen eye for detail and an ability to make her subjects feel at ease. Her journey began with a passion for both photography and travel, which eventually led her to establish Photowalk Nashville. This innovative business combines guided tours with professional photography sessions, allowing visitors to explore the city’s hidden gems while having their moments artistically captured. Christy’s approach is not just about taking photos; it’s about creating a memorable experience that showcases the beauty and culture of Nashville through her lens.

As the CEO and founder of Photowalk Nashville, Christy has become a prominent figure in the travel and photography communities. Her business model uniquely blends local exploration with high-quality photography, offering a service that stands out in the tourism industry. Christy’s work goes beyond the standard tourist experience by providing personalized tours that highlight Nashville’s best-kept secrets, from charming alleyways to vibrant street art. Her ability to connect with clients and make them feel comfortable in front of the camera has earned her a loyal following and numerous accolades. Christy’s influence extends to social media, where she shares her photography tips and travel insights with a growing audience.

Christy’s dedication to her craft and her community is evident in every aspect of her work. She has built strong partnerships with local businesses, enhancing the guest experience and supporting the local economy. Her innovative approach to travel photography has not only attracted tourists but also inspired aspiring photographers and entrepreneurs. Christy’s passion for storytelling through images and her commitment to providing exceptional service make her a beloved figure in Nashville. Whether she’s capturing a candid moment in a bustling market or a serene shot by the river, Christy’s photos reflect the heart and soul of the city she loves. Her story is a testament to the power of following one’s passions and creating a business that brings joy and lasting memories to others.

Personalized Travel Photography by Christy Hunter with Photowalk Nashville
Personalized Travel Photography by Christy Hunter with Photowalk Nashville

Episode Transcript

Megha McSwain: Welcome back, Travel enthusiasts to another episode of Travel Preneur. I’m Megha McSwain, your guide to the latest and greatest in the Travel industry. Today we’re taking a creative turn and diving into the world of Travel photography with Christy Hunter, the visionary CEO and founder of Photowalk Nashville. Com. Christy, a Nashville-based photographer, influencer, and petite style icon, has transformed vacation memories with her unique photography experiences. Let’s explore how Photowalk Nashville is changing how we remember our travels. Welcome to the show, Christy.

Christy Hunter: Hi Megan, thank you for having me this morning.

Megha McSwain: For sure. Christy, you’ve built Photowalk Nashville around enhancing Travel memories through photography. What inspired you to start this venture?

Christy Hunter: Well, as an avid traveler myself, I know I like to take pictures on vacation and I also like to know where the locals go. I like to experience the local cuisine, where the local shops and hang out. I had the inspiration behind Photo Walk. Nashville came because of my love of Travel and what I like to do, so I wanted to create that for other folks.

Megha McSwain: And you have a strong background in weddings, fashion, and portraits. As a photographer, how do you apply your photography skills to create personalized Travel experiences?

Christy Hunter: With that background, I loved working with people. I just realized that you know, doing other types of photography, whether it would be food or, you know, houses, things like that, that I just love working with people, not inanimate objects. that that turned into a honing in on how to communicate to people from behind the camera how to pose, you know, how to have that confidence and be able to mimic it for them and then be able to do that in return, and just it is an equal exchange with my subjects of giving them the confidence to, you know, create photos that they’re proud of. You know, one of the things I love to hear is somebody at the beginning say, I’m not good at photos, I’m awkward. And by the end of it, turn around and change that mindset for them and them to realize, like, I’m good in front of the camera. I’m good at this. I can do this. that you don’t have to be a professional model. So really just normalizing, taking photos that it doesn’t have to be a special occasion. It can just be because of the moment because you’re you. It doesn’t have to be a celebratory moment. Although those moments we love to celebrate and hone in on photo walks. But it doesn’t have to be that. So just giving folks the confidence and Photowalk has given me the platform now to be able to work with thousands of people and offer that on a, on a smaller kind of more,  like quick turnaround moments, you know, where, where it is just an hour with us, but by the end of that hour, we hope that people have created memories and that their confidence that, you know, it’s brought them joy. And then in return, they get these photos that they can have forever.

Megha McSwain: Can you share a standout memory or photo session that encapsulates the impact of Photowalk Nashville on a client’s vacation experience, or even maybe a local?

Christy Hunter: Absolutely. Well, the concept of a Photowalk is a little more experiential than just a photo shoot. the differentiating factor from just hiring a photographer to do a photoshoot with you is that we’re taking the element of Travel and kind of infusing it into the photo shoot, of a little bit of tour guide.  By the end of that, we want by the end of it, we’re, we’re taking people’s pictures, but then we’re also telling them about the area too.  I love to hear the moments or the feedback reviews after where people say, my gosh, we went to this incredible restaurant that Christy or someone from Photowalk on our team has told us about, and that it enhances the rest of their trip to Nashville as well.  but just that it’s such an exchange of energy and that we do get to meet people when they’re on vacation and when they are celebrating something special.  There was one couple that I had that was just so sweet.

Christy Hunter: It was really at the beginning. I started seven years ago.  In the early days, I had this super sweet couple, and it was before they got engaged.  I got to take their pictures and we just connected. I told them all about, you know, where they need to go eat and all that.  They had a great time and then they ended up getting engaged. We kept up with each other on Instagram and they had me do their wedding. They flew me to Connecticut, and I got to be there when they got married. And then they announced their second baby. They came back to Nashville on a Photowalk and did their Photo Walk tour to announce the baby.

Megha McSwain:  wow. That’s all.

Christy Hunter:  That was just such, like, to be a part of their family life and, you know, to get to be there in those major moments, is just a lifelong connection. So that to me, is where it’s at. It’s about those real connections with folks. And I’ve even had some people move here after they did a Photowalk that I just talked to him about so much.

Megha McSwain: Wow. Wow. That’s impressive. You know, you mentioned that Photowalk Nashville is much more than photography. It’s kind of an insider’s guide to Nashville. How do you curate the spots that you take your clients to, ensuring they, you know, are unique and going to be interesting to them? You know, you must have kind of set up those partnerships beforehand.

Christy Hunter: Absolutely. And partnerships have been such an incredible part of, building and growing this business. One of the major brands that we partner with is a brand called Winky Lux, and they are a store in the Gulch.  I’ve just built up a really good relationship with them. They have been so open arms to us, we’re able to start our experience inside of that store. we’re bringing guests in. You know, we’ve worked out a discount where our guests get a discount through the, you know, with the skincare and makeup there. And we’re able to take pictures inside of the store as well. And then some of the other, you know, places we do two neighborhoods, the Gulch, and 12 South are our roots. And we just really try to stay in connection. We try to, for one, be a patron of those places and go buy things from them and support them however we can. And then we also build up a relationship with the owner, with the management there, that they know we’re not just bringing people in and trying to take from them. We want to bring them business as well. We curate the routes based on really what’s happening in the neighborhoods and center around a lot of the murals, too.  but it’s not a mural tour, per se.

Christy Hunter: We’re not really trying to get into the art behind the murals. It’s just more of a photo spot. 12 South is a neighborhood that just keeps on giving us more photo spots. I mean, they keep putting in more murals. The neighborhood keeps expanding. We go where, where that is, you know, and we want to be the trailblazers of, like, this is where you want to go for your pictures in Nashville, life,

Megha McSwain: We want to keep it fresh and, like, exciting and unique for the people who are like, returning customers.

Christy Hunter: Exactly right. And have different options for them. A lot of folks want to take pictures downtown on Broadway. And we’ve just realized that it’s really difficult to do that.

Megha McSwain:  I imagine.

Christy Hunter:  It’s not an option for our experiences. But other photographers do that. But we know where we can get great pictures and also what’s going to be safe as far as traffic and people. And we want to, you know, be able to give a lot more insight about that area too. So along the way, as we’re going and taking the pictures, you know, like, okay, I want to come back to that store and stop where I want to go to get a peach cobbler milkshake from this food truck because Christie told us about it. And it looks great.

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Megha McSwain: You’re you know, I would think I well, I would think that like that Broadway area is so sort of touristy at this point. People around the country have seen so many photos taken there, and you see it on TV and all that kind of stuff. I would think that what you’re doing is shining a spotlight on neighborhoods that aren’t as seen or recognized. I feel like it would give people even better pictures because you’re getting pictures that no one else has. No, not as many people have.

Christy Hunter: Right, right. Absolutely. And you’re getting to explore a neighborhood that you might not have even gone to on your own. Right. And it’s the insight that we’re bringing then you can fully enjoy that neighborhood. And we’ve got some little secrets along the way, too. We know some places that might surprise you with what they are and who they belong to and that kind of thing.  Celebrities.  you find out a few juicy tidbits from us as well or hear some of our stories of seeing us encounter a lot of celebrities. And in my line of work, I do other, you know, photography gigs as well. So just a couple of weeks ago was on stage with Shaquille O’Neal because he was deejaying.

Christy Hunter:  You could hear, wow.  something like that. Like, the people are very surprised that the different types of people that come into Nashville and that we see often and, you know, it’s an entertainment hub. It’s not just country music. So that is something to part of our message. We want to give a little history about, you know, country music and its roots here, but also let you know that this is its Music City. And why is it called Music City? We want to share that story. And, you know, different types of artists that you can find here and things like that. So I really want to just give our version of Nashville from a local perspective to you as well, so that you come away with a real appreciation for what the city has to offer and want to come back. Because I’m telling you, you come on Photowalk Nashville, you’re going to have so many restaurant reservations or, you know, like requests that you won’t be able to get them on this trip. you’re going to want to come back.

Megha McSwain:   You know, you mentioned I’m sure a lot of people take the tours just for no reason at all, but a lot of people take them or people take them. For special occasions, engagements, birthdays, and anniversaries, these are all significant events. How does Photowalk Nashville tailor its services to celebrate these occasions? On your tours? Like, you know, you kind of want to make that extra special for them. It’s unforgettable.

Christy Hunter: Absolutely. We do have a public option and a private option. Within those private options, we’ve got even little subsets of different types of experiences. For couples, we have a romantic couples experience on the pedestrian bridge. you can book that one and know that it’s just going to be you and your partner. A lot of people book that one for, proposals surprise, you know, proposals that happen, or just, you know, celebrating a date night or an anniversary, things like that. That is a different location that one’s in on a whole on the bridge, you know, and looking out at the city. And then we also have, for bachelorette parties, of course, we’re very bachelorette party, central city.  we have one just for them where there’s not going to be other people alone. It’s just you and your group, and then we can even celebrate at the end with a little champagne pop spray, just as a prop of like, you know, spraying the champagne and celebrating and, we’ve got I bet they love that, getting all those photos with their girlfriends and. you know.  they do. In that way as well, they do not have to worry about getting pictures on the rest of their trip. Like, of course, you’re going to want cell phone pictures at different places, but you know that you’ve got those pictures you got, we’ll take them and then you can relax and have fun the rest of the trip.

Megha McSwain:   I love that. With the rise of social media, how do you ensure that each photo session provides Insta-worthy shots? I mean, you know, that’s what everyone I mean, I don’t want to say everybody, but so many of us write these photos that we’re taking on vacation, or we have the photographer take them. We can’t wait to get them up on social media. Right.  So how do you, you know, kind of ensure that those stand out in a crowded digital world?

Christy Hunter: Well, I think by giving posing direction and ideas for one that we’re able to kind of pull out of people dynamic poses, that it’s not that the pictures themselves stand out, that it’s not. You know, I think a lot of times when you go on vacation by yourself and you just give yourself to somebody, you just kind of go and stand in front of the thing and you don’t know what to do with yourself or how to interact with the surrounding.  just the product itself is going to be hopefully a step above what you would get on a cell phone picture, which is, you know, kind of the goal of what we’re offering.  that in itself and then we edit them too, we do like a light edit. And then if you want to put presets on, if you want to make it your own, great, you know that.  and then also sometimes we’ll get cellphone video footage as well. If people want to make a TikTok, we encourage that. We encourage, you know, to take your little video along the way. To show what this experience was like. We try to stay up on the trends. And if there is a trend that a group wants to do, if a bachelorette party has an idea for a special, you know, little dance or something, then we encourage that and we pick the spot, like, let’s do that at this mural. That would be great. We work with our guests to get the content that they’re after as well. And if they don’t have any ideas, that’s what we’re there for. We’re creators.

Megha McSwain:   And looking forward, how do you see Photowalk Nashville evolving? I mean. I’m sure the city is. Constantly evolving.  you’ve got that, you know, kind of keeping the ideas fresh of where you’re going to take people. But, beyond exploring new destinations, you know, kind of what do you see in the future for Photowalk Nashville?

Christy Hunter: Well, kind of expanding into some other brands that are linked to it. We recently acquired a company called Go to Nashville. That has been where I’m able to show you a little more of the tour side of things, the insider, where to eat, where to shop. Through that page, I’m going to the new, you know, the new cocktail lounges, the new restaurant, the new, up and coming, you know, shopping space or things like that, and showing you the city, going to a lot of the attractions and even giving some history as well. So that way you got to like the photo side, but then the tour side within two different brands that are still the same.

Megha McSwain: Right.  for those people who are inspired. To start their venture in the Travel or photography industry, what advice would you give them based on your journey?

Christy Hunter: Well, midway through launching Photo Walk, I realized that I was in a whole different industry. I started in photography, and now I’m in tourism and Travel space, right?  And that was I had only been a consumer of that space. I’d only been a traveler.  so I knew what I liked and what I didn’t like. But then I realized, okay, now I’m on the other side of this. I’m creating experiences for people, and I didn’t know anything about that space, so I dove in as much as I could. I joined all the associations. The organizations got involved with the tourism scene in Nashville and beyond. So I started going to some Travel conferences and learning about companies like yours that really just bring tour operators together and give a space where tour operators can be entrepreneurs.  learn that.  learn from other people how they started. What an OTA is what you know, how to get on different platforms. When mine just started on Airbnb experiences, that was the first one that that platform that I was on, which was pretty turnkey. I didn’t have to do a whole lot to get it going. But then COVID hit the pandemic and I realized I needed to be stand-alone. You know, I need to not just have one platform for this, but I need to. Learning how websites work, and how Google things to do works. You know, Google my business.  Understanding the Travel and tourism space is so key and important.

Megha McSwain: kind of dive into all that education. Especially if you’re. Not in that industry. I mean, if you’re coming from a different industry, it. Helps sort of.

Christy Hunter: Yes, exactly. If you’re a cook and you’re creating a cooking experience for someone, you might know all about your food, and the food industry, but you don’t know about Travel and tourism. So definitely you join your local CBC and join your, um I’m in a part of Music City Concierge Association, you know, networking with other people in the industry, in your city and beyond. I mean, you know, the connections with other cities are really important and key. And one thing I highly suggest to other tour operators is when you travel, book all the tours that you can, you know, first of all, you’re supporting that company. And then also just to see how they’re doing things, you know, just kind of go on it as a traveler and see what your experience is like. You know, tip them well, you know, like give them the feedback that, you know, you would want to hear as a tour operator owner.  doing that kind of, you know, like field research, research and development.  but then just as far as operating systems too, we’ve had to piece together our own because there is not one that does it all.  you know, we’ve gone on we’ve been on a lot of different rez tech software. So just that whole process of figuring out what works for you, you know, and not going into it, not even having a clue about these companies and then also realizing that everybody’s kind of pioneering in this, this space.

Megha McSwain:  It’s quite new, relatively. If you think about it. And especially after Covid, how much it has ramped up. People are really doing things with that. Sort of clearer vision because of what happened. Just 4 or 5 years ago. And now wanting to make sure of that. We don’t have to face something like that or, or. How to pivot in case something like that were to ever happen again.

Christy Hunter: Yes. Yes, exactly.

Christy Hunter: Well, Christy. Thank you so much for sharing your journey and the beautiful stories behind Photowalk Nashville. I imagine you are part of such wonderful experiences with people and tourists and, you’re truly a part of the city of Nashville and, you know, letting people take a piece of that home with them. I think that’s amazing.  and special. I’ve been to Nashville, I think, once or twice, but I would love to come back and do a tour with you because I feel like I’d be able to see things that aren’t obvious, things that you expect from visiting Nashville.

Christy Hunter: Absolutely. We’d love to have you. Let our listeners know where they can learn more, where they can book a tour, and where they can connect with you.

Christy Hunter: But a walk is our website, and you can see the list laid out easily of all of our different experiences, the two different neighborhoods and the special kind of niche ones like The Bachelorette and the couples shoot. We even have Photowalk the Dog, so we’re dogs.

Megha McSwain:  I love that.

Christy Hunter:  It’s very easy to book. And if you have any questions, we’ve got an FAQ section on there as well about how it works. You know what all our policies are like rain, all those good kinds of stuff. And then you can reach out to us as well on the phone number that’s on our website too. we’re real people. We’re a small team and we love to personally connect with our guests. So that is something that we feel like we want to keep even as we grow. And scale is just being a very relational, very personable company.

Megha McSwain: Thank you, Christy, for sharing all of that. To our listeners. Remember to capture your Travel memories in style the next time you travel, and consider leaving the selfies behind and exploring a new city with Christy or another tour company. I feel like that’s the best way to do it, and it’s the best way to support that local area to everyone else. Don’t forget to follow and subscribe for more insights into the Travel industry’s most innovative businesses. Until next time, keep exploring and creating memories.