Travelling budget-medium, big on photography, food, and unusual experiences. Suggestions for itinerary?
Plenty to see in Kyoto, but take the time to also visit some other locations such as Nara and Hōryū-ji. For food, Dotonbori in Osaka is great for casual Japanese food, such as Kushikatsu and Okonomiyaki. In Kyoto itself, we wound up at Unchikuya Nuku for a nice, simple Izakaya dinner that was delicious and affordable.
If you have time, take a day trip on the Shinkansen down to Hiroshima and Miyajimacho for some good photography options. If you're going after March 27 or so, Himeji Castle should be reopened, but it does appear that most of the scaffolding has been removed, so still worth a short pass-by for photos if you're going earlier, as it's en route to/from Hiroshima.
Mentioned in this answer:
An unusual experience in Kyoto might be Katsura Imperial Villa, the reason being, that it is incredibly photogenic. But the second reason that it might make for a unique experience, as it is incredibly difficult to visit in the first place.
You need to first apply on their official website, and even then, you aren't guaranteed a chance to enter the gardens. Applicants are unfortunately selected by a 'lottery', but, it might be worth applying if photographing traditional Japanese gardens is your thing, and well, you'll be in and around Kyoto anyway.
Also, to add. The most unusual place I visited in Kyoto was the Kaleidoscope Museum. I haven't seen it in any guidebooks, so that would be another place that not many people have bothered to visit. Again, along the Kamo River, there is a building that claims to be the birthplace of the first ever motion picture in Japan, and again, it isn't in any guidebooks.
I suppose, the best advice would be: explore! You will always find something, regardless of where you are in Japan, especially Kyoto, a place crying out to be photographed.
Best of luck, and enjoy your trip!