Kando 3.0: What It Is and Why I'm Excited to Go

Kando 3.0: What It Is and Why I'm Excited to Go

At a momentary glance, Kando 3.0 might seem like the traditional photography workshop you see announced almost every day. But give it a minute instead of a moment and you’ll see Kando is way more than that. In fact, it’s not really a workshop at all.

When I first heard about Kando, I clicked the link, and found that like most workshops, there was a lineup of instructors with the classes they would be teaching; a schedule of events along with some more detail about each class, and all the normal details found within a workshop announcement. This is to say that if you want to learn in a structured fashion and from the best, you can do that, but it’s just a sliver of what’s on the menu, and it’s everything else that makes it greater than the sum of its parts. 

Unlike a workshop or conference, there are some very key differences that set Kando (now in year 3) apart from anything else I have seen. Below are seven reasons I’m excited to attend Kando 3.0

Sony Pro Support 

It may seem small, but having Sony Pro Support on site is a nice benefit. Most of the time I know I need to have my gear serviced and cleaned but never actually make the time to send it off or just don't want to manage without certain pieces of gear or deal with renting. So being able to drop my gear off and pick it up the same day is going to be an added benefit. I’m also not currently a member of the Sony Pro Support program, so this means I’ll be getting something that I would traditionally have to pay for or not be able to get at all. 


All The Gear Sony Has, On Tap 

Following on from the last point, Sony will have pretty much everything in their photo arsenal available for everyone to use, and the best environments to use them in. So not only will I be able to get my current gear serviced and cleaned, but I’ll also be able to play with the latest and greatest that Sony has to offer. I have a handful of lenses that I have had my eye on but haven't made the time to rent. Now I’ll be able to play with these lenses in real life situations and really see how they perform.

In addition to being able to try lenses I have been wanting to test, there is also a small chance that Sony could announce new gear at this event. Kando seems to be growing in scope every year, and in the past, lenses such as the 12-24mm and the 16-35mm  GM were announced at past Kando events, and attendees were able to put them to the test before anyone else.


All the Kando events have had numerous live shoot setups where people can time with models, shoot still life, and even sports/action. These setups have always been kept a surprise and revealed on site. In the past, they have ranged from a custom built half pipe on the top of an oceanside mountain filled with professional BMX riders, to a full movie set styled-shoot complete with classic cars, trailers, models, and wolves. There have also been entire underwater shoots done in daylight as well as at night.

Not only are these types of surprises fun and exciting, but they are the type of thing that most people will never have access to, and they are once in a lifetime type opportunities to shoot.  In addition to these pre-built shoots, attendees also have the opportunity to build out their own setups with models they choose, locations, props, and of course gear. 

Giveaways: We're Not Talking Branded Lens Cloths

While all these surprises are fun to have, there are a lot of giveaways, and we’re not talking just regular lens cloth and t-shirt swag. There will be daily competitions and challenges and straight up giveaways for many cameras, lenses, and more. Obviously, not everyone can be a winner, but you know that saying. You gotta play to win. Or in this case, you gotta go to win. And really, Sony is giving away this gear mostly in an effort to motivate attendees to create. Because that's what Kando is all about. Removing all the obstacles between you and the execution of your best creative work and vision. 

A Chance to Speak and Be Heard by the Movers & Shakers at Sony

On the list of things to do at Kando 3.0 is “Give direct feedback to Sony’s product planning and engineering teams from Tokyo“. This, in my opinion, is huge. Most times, if a user has any feedback or requests for a manufacturer, they need to resort to blog posts or articles. They can share their thoughts and opinions online with the hope they are met with a general agreement from the public, but most of the time, that’s all they will ever get. Even if Sony actually reads the opinion, they never actually reply or make a statement. Now, I don't know for sure if they will actually give a statement or response at Kando 3.0, but I do know the highest levels of Sony corporate decision makers and engineers will be there and that they will be listening. And seeing as I have gone the route of writing an article about 8 things stopping the A7III from being the perfect camera, it will be fun to know my opinion is being heard. With the recent release of some major firmware updates, there is also a chance to see real change. 

Become Better at Your Craft

Even though there are more amazing things that can be listed that make Kando 3.0 seem like an amazing event, the education aspect is still one of the stand out features. The lineup of educators is second to none, and it’s all more personal than a typical large conference. With Sony Artisans such as Chris Burkard, Brian Smith, Nancy Borowick, Taylor Rees, and many more scheduled to teach, I have a feeling I'll be leaving with an overflowing brain and a bunch of full pages of notes. The great thing about these classes is that they will be from all aspects of photography. There are classes for landscapes, portraits, film making, documentary storytelling, and even aerial photography. I’m really excited about this because I think the best way to push yourself within your photographic discipline of choice is to apply aspects from other areas of photography. Similar to how landscape photography has made such a strong impact on wedding photography.   

Community & Networking

While all the above aspects of Kando 3.0 are more than enough to warrant going, my number one reason is for the networking and community. After speaking to former attendees and seeing posts from the people who attend, it’s clear that there are few if any places and events where you are surrounded by high-level creatives who are gunning in their field, and that kind of environment is a catalyst for bringing out your best, and then amplifying it all through collaborations. 

And that makes sense because “Kando” loosely translates to “power of emotional connection”. To hold firm to this idea, the entire event is based around this connection through community and networking. As someone that shoots Sony full time and is trying to make their way into the educational aspect of wedding photography, the networking opportunities to be had are second to none.

Jason Vinson's picture

Jason Vinson is a wedding and portrait photographer for Vinson Images based out of Bentonville, Arkansas. Ranked one of the Top 100 Wedding photographers in the World, he has a passion for educating and sharing his craft.

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I see the fee is a mere $2,500 to attend this Sony lovefest.

I suppose some people are being comped to attend.

There is not a "sponsored by" heading to the article, but it sure reads like an infomercial.

I've paid double for events with a lot less perks. Take what you want from the article, I'm merely sharing info about a unique event that's hard to come by.

Well, have fun. I bet Sony appreciates your efforts in "merely sharing" info.

Does that mean you are paying to attend Kando 3.0? That comment seems to suggest that, but can't get a clear idea from the article if you have been invited for free, or are paying to attend.


So awesome!!

Pat, have a look at the project these wolves and wolf dogs belong to, in order to see what it's actually about: https://www.projectwildsong.org/

Yeah Pat, it's always a matter of individual experience and organization. I'm an animal activist in my own right, working with various rescues, and quite vocal in local politics regarding animal welfare etc, so I'm with you in that my reaction is generally negative to animals in captivity too. I appreciate your concern. Again, overall I think they should all be wild and free, but I do try to leave some room for exceptions - a 'when needs must' sort of thing. Cheers

Hey Vinson! I'll be going to Kando 3.0 as well. Let's chat and get to know one another before Oregon. :)

That's the three of us then. Nice! Looking forward to seeing you there.

My buddy and I will both be going as well... Going to road trip from Vancouver Island... We're going to be able to hit a few bucket list locations in the days leading up to Kando.

See you all there!! 🙌 🙌 🙌

I went last year and am attending this year. For me it was a great experience. Not everyone is into the group dynamic and are in different places in their career, so interest in this event will vary a lot.

I did learn some useful things, had a fun time, and enjoyed the gear trials. While I have no idea if any of the things reviewed in the focus groups made a big difference, I'm glad Sony made the effort.

Some of the interesting part was speaking with the instructors outside of the actual workshops and discussing specific things about business, technique, or gear.

I switched from Canon two years ago and am doing fairly well with the Sony gear. I'm not adverse to changing again if Canon or Nikon comes out with something compelling enough. There are some things I do not like about mirrorless; however, the things I like are currently outweighing issues I have with them.

It is quite a lovefest like any sponsored event. When I hang out with Canon Explorers of Light, I don't hear much about Nikon and when around Profoto Legends of Light, no one says how Godox is really great. I think I'm able to separate most of the fan crap out and have a good professional experience. Yes, it's mostly Sony; the techniques apply to any brand of gear.

The fee does include lodging, food, and beverages, so is not as high as may seem at first glance.

Guys, guys, guys... a HUGE potential reason for Kando 3.0... we might get to try Sony A7R4 ahead of everyone else (releases September). Sony team, please make this happen! Or even better, give one to each of us as door gifts. :)

I bet we get to play with some for sure!!

I was told I'd have to wait until after Kando to get an a7R IV review unit (and the 200-600). So I think that basically guarantees the lot will be there for you to use 😉