Kym Illman is an Australian entrepreneur, best-selling author and photographer.
Born in Adelaide, South Australia, Kym is the son of a former state cricketer and small business owner, Brian Illman. His mother Betty was also a successful small business owner so it was no surprise that Kym went into business for himself in his 20s. His passion for finding overlooked opportunities and wowing customers have seen him develop into one of Australia’s best known entrepreneurs.
In his early years, Kym travelled around Australia with roles as a mobile DJ, radio announcer in Darwin and audio engineer at Channel Nine. In 1988 he struck out on his own and founded audio advertising company, Messages On Hold.
Kym’s dedication to customer service and his famous ambush marketing tactics turned Messages On Hold into an international success. With offices in Australia and Singapore, it now services clients in 22 countries.
In 2014, Kym released his book ‘The Future IS Customer Service.’ In 2015, drawing from his decades of customer service experience, Kym founded Canity – an online customer service training platform. Kym channelled his knowledge into engaging, animated micro-learning videos, to provide time-poor business owners with a flexible, affordable way to train their staff.
Today Kym divides his time between his position as Managing Director of The Message Group and his many passions, in particular photography. In 2015, Kym and his wife, Tonya, released African wildlife photography book, ‘Africa On Safari’, with a German-language edition later published by National Geographic.
In 2017, Kym turned his attention to Formula 1 photography. He is one of just a few dozen “permanently accredited” F1 photographers, and is the only Australian. His unique take on covering the sport photographically resulted in him becoming the number 1 F1 photographer on Instagram in just over 16 months.
With engagement rates from 6-11% (2-3% is regarded as good), "likes" averaging more than 5,000 per post and posts reaching up to 800,000 unique individuals a week, Kym continues to add new followers at an astounding rate. No doubt his ability to post exceptional images and interesting captions up to 15 times a day over the four days of an F1 race has been a hit with followers.
A father of two, Kym’s also a devoted community leader, highly regarded for his promotion of WA coastal town, Lancelin. He also runs the popular tourism website, www.lancelin.com.au, and in 2014 he published the photo book, ‘Lancelin: Western Australia’s Coastal Gem’.
Married to: Tonya Illman
Formula 1 Media
F1 PERSONNEL GET COVID VACCINE
Kym receives his first jab in Bahrain so he can safely continue to take photos around the world in 2021.
WIVES AND GIRLFRIENDS OF F1 DRIVERS
Here you’ll find a comprehensive list of F1 drivers enjoying time with their partners in crime: their wives and girlfriends!
HOW TO CULL, EDIT, AND SUBMIT IMAGES
Just shot thousands of images, and you’re not sure what to do with them all? Discover how to cull, edit, and submit your images to your clients in record time, with tips & tricks from Kym Illman.
THE LIFE OF F1 PHOTOGRAPHER, KYM ILLMAN
It can be challenging to stand out in a word of copycats and clichés, so how do Kym’s images manage to shine the brightest? It’s much more than simply shooting cars racing around a track.
TENACITY IS THE KEY TO BUSINESS SUCCESS
Never accept no for an answer. People are often dissuaded by being told ‘you can’t do that’ or ‘that will never work’ but it’s by others who don’t have the tenacity or the creative thinking to make things happen.
PHOTOGRAPHING IN THE FASTEST LANE
They say it’s easier to become an F1 driver than becoming an F1 photographer, so in 2017, Kym put himself up to the challenge.
THE RICCIARDO'S AND A 132-YEAR-OLD BOTTLE
What does Renault F1 star, Daniel Ricciardo, and the world’s oldest message in a bottle have in common? A lot more than you might think!
LEWIS HAMILTON'S PHYSIO ANGELA CULLEN
The hidden driving force? Everything you need to know about Hamilton's physio
Africa on Safari Media
TIPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHING AN AFRICAN SAFARI
Wildlife photographer, Kym Illman, offers budding safari photographers handy advice for capturing the magic.
CHECK OUT THESE AWESOME ANIMAL SELFIES…
Find out how exactly Kym captured this iconic ‘Tiger Selfie’!
PHOTOS OF A CONTINENT’S WILD SIDE
International bestselling photography book, African on Safari, takes an unusual view of some of the safari’s biggest stars.
DRONES AND REMOTE-CONTROLLED BUGGIES
Unique wildlife photography involves much more than the right composition and lighting – here, Kym shows us the inventive ways he’s captured beautiful pictures of animals in the wild.
WORLD’S OLDEST MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE
In 2018, Kym and Tonya Illman discovered a 132-year-old bottle lying on the sand of a beach in the stunning coastal WA town of Lancelin. The bottle had a message inside…
MESSAGES ON HOLD
Messages On Hold is the largest provider of telephone audio in the Asia-Pacific region.
CANITY – CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING
Canity is an online collection of training videos that help turn customer service teams into customer service superstars!
High intensity footage, images and stories of Kym’s rally driving career piloting a Mitsubishi EVO 9 in various Targa events from 2009 to 2011.
KYM IN THE MEDIA
As Australia’s most notorious ambush marketer, Kym Illman has made regular appearances on Switzer TV, CNBC and Sky Business
WORLD’S BEST CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Drenched in LED lights and synchronised to music, Kym’s Christmas light displays have raised tens of thousands of dollars for charity. His 2012 display became an international hit with millions viewing it on YouTube after Ellen DeGeneres featured it as her video of the week.
PARIS BAGUETTE TVC
In September 2011, a South Korean advertising agency commissioned Kym to program an unforgettable synchronised Christmas lights display for a national TV commercial.
The simple and sometimes controversial marketing strategies that earned Kym the title of “Australia’s most prolific ambush marketer”.