Year in Review – Part 1 – Seoul, Korea Photographer

Yet another year has passed here in Seoul. It was a big one for me as a photographer and it seems to have gone by particularly quickly. Maybe it’s the amount of work I’ve been doing, maybe it’s the trips I’ve taken for Tattoos of Asia, or maybe I’m just starting to get old. Whatever it is, this has been a whirlwind year at WelkinLight Photography and I’d like to share some of it with you today. As always, I’ll start with highlights from the Seoul winter in January and February, followed by the beginning of spring in March. Somewhere in between, I’ll take a few trips to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

 

January – Family and Travel Photographer

The year started, quite literally, with a family photography session out on Nami Island. January 1st is not often a date I get asked for in Seoul. For most, it’s just too cold and, for many others, too painful. Not for Gloria and her family! We all made our way out to Nami Island and spent an hour running, jumping, hiding, playing, laughing, and of course, sipping warm beverages. A couple of my favourites from that session are below.

Family Photographer - Seoul, Korea

Family Photographer - Seoul, Korea

Next up was a session that had been in the works for a while. These two lovely ladies were in Seoul for a week or so and we managed to schedule a couple of hours to take in some of Seoul’s urbanity, tradition, and nature together. With Seoul being a fairly conservative place, I don’t get to do a lot of LGBT sessions and this was a great breath of fresh air from my usual sessions. We took to the back streets of Jongno and Euljiro for some urban grit and then headed over to Gyeongbokgung to use the gorgeous architecture and evergreen pines. One of the benefits of having your session in the holiday week and freezing cold is that there are very few other people around. Thanks again for an awesome session!

Couple Photographer LGBT - Seoul, Korea

Couple Photographer LGBT - Seoul, Korea

Couple Photographer LGBT - Seoul, Korea

What would a couple of weeks back in Seoul before heading out on winter holiday be without some Jongno Gentlemen. Marco and I headed out to track down and make portraits of these fixtures of the Seoul landscape again. Despite the cold, we managed to stop several dapper gents for portraits in the streets of Jongno. Check out the rest of the series on Facebook.

Seoul, Korea Editorial Photographer

Then, well, let’s be honest, the winter got to be too much. My youngest brother was about to start his final year of secondary school as well, so we decided to go on a trip together. We picked Cambodia and Vietnam for our adventure and started with the city of Angkor. As usual, the smiles and warmth of the Cambodian people were a joy to be around and we could have stayed a lot longer than we did. But alas, we had to go and meet Jeehe over in Vietnam to enjoy yet another country full of warm smiles and, well, some of the best food in Asia.

Angkor - Cambodia Travel Photographer

Hoi An

Hoi An - Vietnam Travel Photographer

 

February – Travel, Band, and Couple Photographer

While I was away, we had worked on finalising the placement for my intern Jonne to fly into Seoul from the Netherlands. At the last minute, we confirmed everything and she would be flying in on the 7th of February. As we had confirmed this so late in the game, I had already booked my flights to Laos for my Tattoos of Asia project. I would be leaving just 4 days after Jonne’s arrival, so I asked if she would like to come. We ended up meeting in Seoul and then flying straight to Laos a couple of days later for a week-long ride through the countryside in search of the Brao people. It was a pretty good introduction to the way things go around here, I think. We also took my book with us, which was a hit. The similarity in facial structure and the fact that another people have facial tattoos led to the question, “Are they also Brao?” a lot.

Tattoos of Asia - Laos Travel Photographer

Tattoos of Asia - Laos Travel Photographer

Tattoos of Asia - Laos Travel Photographer

The day after I flew back into Seoul, I met up with a local band, Wooden Lucy, to shoot some promo work for their album release. It’s always a good time when you can shoot gritty black and white for a change. We had a great time and pulled off some fun images of the band in a few different locations. After that, there was another last-minute confirmation that took us out into the streets of Seoul for a surprise proposal and then some braving the winter with Albert and Logan. After being in South East Asia for a few weeks, this day was even cold for me, but I don’t know how everyone else did it. None of them were ready for the cold of a Seoul winter.

Band Photography in Seoul

Band Photography in Seoul

Proposal Photographer - Seoul, Korea

Couple Photographer - Seoul, Korea

 

March – Food, Hotel, and Family Photographer

I had the pleasure of working with Chef Ryu at Ryunique on some clean and simple dish shots for his social media presence after this. It’s been great to see those used over and over again in magazines and websites. His beautiful plating makes the job easy, that’s for sure! After that, I found some time to do one more thing I love before the busy season kicked in – I hit the streets to document some more of Seoul before the gentrification makes every street corner look the same.

Ryunique - Seoul, Korea Food Photographer


Seoul documentary photography

Seoul documentary photography

Seoul documentary photography

Then it was time for the busy season to start again. March is when everything ramps up. To really get things rolling were a couple of families I have worked with in the past. The Visingards were back to visit their son’s foster family and spend some more time exploring Seoul. I got to spend a few hours with them as they reconnected with the foster family again. The Tsongs were up next. I was with them when they took custody of Daniel as well, and this time we scheduled a session of fun in Seoul’s Changgyeonggung during their short visit.

Visingard Family - Seoul, Korea Photographer

Visingard Family - Seoul, Korea Photographer

Tsong Family - Seoul, Korea Photographer

Then I had the pleasure of working with the Bolenders as they prepared to leave Seoul. We met just about a year prior when their son was born for some photos with the whole family, and this time we got together for a Day in the Life documentary session as they were leaving Seoul. We had an absolute blast eating several breakfasts, playing in the washing basket, and eventually heading out for a walk around the city. Lots of fun to be had. To wrap up March, I worked with the Italian Chamber of Commerce for their AGM and work with the New Seoul Hotel on their new promotional shots.

Italian Chamber of Commerce - Event Photographer

The Bolenders - Family Photographer

The Bolenders - Family Photographer

New Seoul Hotel - Commercial Photographer

New Seoul Hotel - Commercial Photographer

That’s all for the first quarter of the year. Come back next week for plenty of families, couples, a ball, and some time with the BBC. Until then, have a great week!

Zebra Technologies APAC Summit – Incheon, Korea

Zebra Technologies held their APAC Summit and Partner Event at the Grand Hyatt Incheon Airport in 2016. It was a three-day affair including everything from presentations and workshops to a visit to the BMW Experience Centre for a few laps around the track. The goal of the event was to educate and entertain Zebra’s partners in the APAC region. They certainly did a great job of it. This was a really great event.

Arriving early on day one, I headed out to the golf course with the Zebra executives for a few minutes to capture the tee-off before heading over to the BMW Experience Centre to jump in the passenger seat. Although looking through the viewfinder with a wide angle lens on may not have been great for my stomach at over 200 kilometres per hour, it was great fun for all and we got some fun shots. We then headed back over to the Grand Hyatt Incheon for the welcoming dinner.

Korea Event Photographer - BMW Zebra

Korea Event Photographer - Zebra Technologies Golf Group Shot

Zebra Technologies Welcome Dinner - Korea Event Photographer

Then it was back to my hotel to edit the day’s images for a slideshow the following morning. The morning consisted of several introductions to new products and technologies before a break to get coffee and hands on time with the new products. The foyer was filled to the brim with all manner of picking and sorting systems for every industry. Demonstrations of scanners that could not only count inventory but detect if a product was facing the wrong way on a shelf. For someone outside the industry, it was really quite impressive to see what goes into these sorts of operations. Then it was time for lunch, seminars, and, of course, dinner and drinks at the end of the day.

Presentation - Zebra Partner Event Photographs

 

Presentation with Crowd - Zebra Corporate Event Photography

 

Walking to the Seminar - Corporate Event Photography

 

Seminar Room - Korea Event Photographer

 

Trying out new Devices - Event Photographer

 

The Foyer - Zebra Event Photographer

 

Winding Down - Event Photographer

Group Photo - Zebra Partner Event

One thing you can say about corporate event photography is that no two events are the same. This one was no exception. On day three, I was asked to make a group photo of everyone in attendance – approximately 300 people. We set this up in the foyer and chose the vantage point very early in the morning. To get this many people in, I would have to be above the crowd, so I would be perched on the spiral staircase you see above. On top of this, the are was unevenly lit and the mixed light would mean that it would be difficult to get correct colour. In the end, I opted to break out two flash heads and pop them into the white ceiling. This created an even wash of white light over the crowd and allowed me to get the shot you see below. Then we had to scoot around and get shots of each of the booths before the morning’s presentations and wrapping up the photography at lunch time.

Presentation - Zebra Event Photography

 

Booth - Zebra Event Photography

 

300 pax Group Shot - Zebra Event Photography

 

Booth - Zebra Event Photography

 

Thanks to Lyn at Jeannetic Koncepts and Zebra Technologies for having me along again this year. It was a blast and I look forward to working with you all again soon.

 

2016 Year in Review Part 2 – Seoul Photographer

We left off last time at the beginning of spring and sunshine. As April warms up, we tend to getting a lot more pre-wedding photography, and this year was no different. Before getting there, though, I worked with an old client of mine Jeanetic Concepts on Zebra Technologies’ APAC conference out at Incheon’s Grand Hyatt Hotel. The three day conference was held for 300 people across the entire bottom floor of the hotel. On day 2, I was tasked with making a group shot of every single attendee. There was only one place for it, looking down from the lobby into the basement level. It took some doing to get everyone there on time, but we pulled off the biggest group shot I’ve done to date!

Event Photographer in Seoul Korea, Group Photo

Then it was back out into the open to work with Kevin and Malia on their pre-wedding images. As colleagues of a couple I worked with last year, Alice and Erick, they had seen my work and wanted to squeeze in their own session before heading off to have their wedding with family back home. We met and spent an afternoon planning, all the while expecting the weather to be a beautiful spring day come shoot time. The day before, the rain started. According to the weather report, it would continue for another couple of days. I braced myself for shooting in between squalls and asked Marco Devon to come out as assistant so I could make some dramatic shots against the storm clouds. I dropped down into the subway that morning to head over to their apartment and meet them before the shoot, but when I popped back up, the rain had stopped, the clouds were parting, and we were looking at some of the clearest skies we have had all year. These were the results.

Seoul Pre-Wedding Photographer

Seoul Pre-Wedding Photographer

Seoul Pre-Wedding Photographer

Then it was on to some fun and games with the Barch family for their first family photography session together. We had a wonderful day split between a palace and a coffee shop. Young Jude even made an effort to order for us at the cafe. All in all, a great morning with great people! I hope that you’re all well!

Seoul, Korea - Family Photography

Seoul, Korea - Family Photography

Seoul, Korea - Family Photography

Seoul, Korea - Family Photography

A few days later, I got to spend the morning with a couple of little darlings from Singapore. Despite having colds from the rapid temperature change they experienced coming to Korea at the end of winter, they were troopers, and we had a fun-filled morning at the palace near their hotel.

Family Photographer in Seoul Korea

Family Photographer in Seoul Korea

It’s not often I blog corporate event photography on this site, but there were a couple of events that really stood out to me in this quarter. At the end of April, ANZA Korea held their annual ball and went above and beyond even their grandest efforts. One corner that particularly stood out was the Nespresso presence. They put on an excellent show, and some fine cocktails based around their capsule coffee. A few shots from that night below!

Seoul, Korea Event Photographer Nespresso

Seoul, Korea Event Photographer Nespresso

Then it was back to family photography again with the Cradic family. Betsy and Winn had a laughter filled first meeting with Gus. It was non-stop energy and play with this little guy and even that one hour was exhausting for everyone. The Cradic family are going to be fit for life with this little fellow in their house.

Seoul Family Photographer

Seoul Family Photographer

Seoul Family Photographer

Occasionally, in between all of the work, I get a few moments to explore the city of Seoul and shoot a few frames of my own. Below are a few images that I love from this quarter. Each speaks something about Seoul to me, and I hope you can appreciate where they come from as well.

Photographer in Seoul, South Korea

Photographer in Seoul, South Korea

Photographer in Seoul, South Korea

Photographer in Seoul, South Korea

No rest for the wicked, though. I slipped onto a plane that week to visit my good friends Andy and Laura Faulk in Tokyo. Good friends of mine since our time together in Seoul, Andy and Laura had asked me to come over and make some portraits of their family. How could I refuse the invitation to visit two of my best friends, the life they had created together, one of my favourite places on earth, and make photographs of it all together? I got weak at the knees. So much love for these people and for their part in my life. I hope only that the pictures I made are close to their hearts from here on out. Thank you both. Love you to bits and miss the heck out of you. It’s time for some dalkgalbi.

Family Photographer

Family Photographer

Family Photographer

Family Photographer

Family Photographer

Dropping back into town, I soon had the opportunity to shoot with one of Korea’s premiere Hanbok designers, Lee Young-Hee on her new collection as part of a world tour she was doing. The shoot was quick, with absolutely no time for preparation or concepts as I would be working in between the video team shooting. Over the course of 5 hours, we had approximately 15 minutes to shoot as much material as possible. Below are a couple of the frames I’m happy with from the day.

Seoul Fine Art Photographer

Seoul Fine Art Photographer

I also got to spend a week with the New Zealand community as they held their New Zealand food and wine events for the year. We had some really great promotional events in Seoul and Busan as part of this effort, and needless to say, it made me a little homesick. New Zealand is about the closest thing you can get to Australia without actually being Australia, and the culture, smells, and flavours were so reminiscent of home it was hard to wipe the ear-to-ear grin off my face and concentrate on work. A big thanks to the New Zealand Embassy in Seoul and the Kiwi Chamber. On my way back up from Busan, I had an opportunity to visit my favourite brewery in Korea, Boksundoga. It is a family run business that produces the finest makkeolli on the peninsula. None of that green bottled garbage here, just quality ingredients and years of know-how. I reached out and let them know about my series of Korean artists, and they were more than happy to give me a little time before I headed back up to Seoul. A big thanks to Jason Teale for driving me out there as well!

Korea Fine Art Photograper

Then it was back to family photography for the next few weeks to finish up the quarter. First, I spent a super-early morning with the Black family for Gibson’s first birthday. Being born in Korea, we took him out in a Hanbok and had a great time around their beautiful home of Yeonhui-dong. Then I got to spend a whole day with the Bailey family as they romped around Seoul with their son, before meeting up with the Cradic family again to finalise their adoption and spend another few hours together. As if things weren’t going wonderfully enough, I even got to work with my first Australian adoptive family!

Family Photographer in Seoul, South Korea  Family Photographer in Seoul, South Korea

Family Photographer in Seoul, South Korea

Family Photographer in Seoul, South Korea

Family Photographer in Seoul, South Korea

Family Photographer in Seoul, South Korea

Family Photographer in Seoul, South Korea

Family Photographer in Seoul, South Korea

Family Photographer in Seoul, South Korea

Family Photographer in Seoul, South Korea

But wait, there’s more! On June 20th, months of hard work culminated in an exhibition to launch my first book, Hmäe Sün Näe Ti Cengkhü Nu. On the rooftop of Mi Casa, we had almost 100 people join us throughout the night to celebrate the completion of the work and the launch of the Kickstarter. We also discovered that day that our guide’s mother was sick, and managed to raise enough money to cover her hospital bills through a last-minute raffle. Thanks to everyone for their support that night! And thanks to Wes for putting this video together!

See you next time for even more laughter and good times. Take care, everyone!

Seoul Fine Art Photographer