Meet Nell Brown – Seoul Photographer – Part 3

“She’s not the same girl you met in the summer, is she?” Mary Leigh posted to me. Indeed she is not. Nell has come forward in leaps and bounds. She is energetic, loving and full of personality. Watching her current family session vicariously through family instagram posts, I was extremely envious of their photographer. Nell was as open and active as her brothers, and that’s saying something! Part of me wishes I was there to capture that part of their story as well, but Nell is a cool 11,151km away with her new family.

Our own short session here in Seoul took quite a bit more convincing to get Nell involved. Her word of the day was kaja, and did not want to leave the safety of Mary Leigh’s arms. It was two days before her birthday, and continuing family tradition, we had set out to capture some photographs of her in this place at this time. We managed a frame or two in between moving from location to location as Nell pointed them out to us.

Sweets, milk, and all the things that Nell usually loved could not bring her back. Even the photo of her that I printed on the spot only got a short smile before we were back on our kaja adventure. In the end we found that she liked to throw a ball and managed a solid 3 minutes in one location with Nell opening up to us a little.

We had a difficult time that day, and it was understandable. Nell was adjusting to her new situation, and that can’t have been easy for her. Knowing that we were possibly pushing her a little too much, and that more importantly she may simply need some time to process, we called the session short and Mary Leigh took Nell home. She went to sleep in the 5 minute taxi ride home, obviously exhausted and in need of some down time.

To see her now, you wouldn’t know this girl, or how difficult this time must have been for her. She has made a wonderful transition to her new family and is finding herself anew.  The bombardment of smiles and short videos of her progress that keep coming my way keep me acutely aware of what a wonderful thing adoptive families are doing, and how lucky I am to be a part of these stories.

Cannot wait for the chance to see the Browns again! Thanks and all the best to Nell, Brodie, Bates, Nick and Mary Leigh. See y’all soon!

Seoul Family Photographer

Seoul Family Photographer

Seoul Family Photographer

Seoul Family Photographer

 

 

Lawson’s Adoption – Seoul Family Photographer

Lawson appeared on my Facebook page last month as a silhouette. It was difficult to resist the urge to share this adoption story right away, but rules will be rules! He is now safely home with his family in the United States, and I can finally share their joy with you.

Josh and Elizabeth had been in the process of adopting for a long time, jumping through the various hurdles required for the process. They were finally matched with Lawson on their 5th wedding anniversary. Imagine their joy when that call came in. Fast forward two years and we were having a cup of coffee on the ground here in Seoul, getting ready for their first meeting with their son.

We had been told that Lawson could be a little shy around strangers, and the moment he recognised Josh and Elizabeth, he hid in his foster mother’s arms. It took quite a bit of coaxing, and Josh’s drawing skills from his experience as an animator, but Lawson came out of his foster mother’s arms to make a game of erasing his father’s pictures and join in the illustrations.

Lawson’s sweet and playful nature came out as he joined another girl on the glockenspiel, followed by opening and closing his water bottle repeatedly with both of his parents and instigating a game of hide and seek with his father.

The meeting was over too soon, but the wait was not too long. “We’re coming next week,” said the next email I got. We organised to meet at Deoksugung and capture a few moments of this family together in Seoul before they headed back home to the US.

Seoul Family Photographer - Lawson's Adoption

Seoul Family Photographer Lawson's Adoption

Seoul Family Photographer Lawson's Adoption

Seoul Family Photographer Lawson's Adoption

Seoul Family Photographer Lawson's Adoption

Seoul Family Photographer Lawson's Adoption

Seoul Family Photographer Lawson's Adoption

Seoul Family Photographer Lawson's Adoption

Lawson's Adoption in Seoul - Family Photographer

Lawson's Adoption in Seoul - Family Photographer

Lawson's Adoption in Seoul - Family Photographer

Lawson's Adoption in Seoul - Family Photographer

Lawson's Adoption in Seoul - Family Photographer

Lawson's Adoption in Seoul - Family Photographer

Lawson's Adoption in Seoul - Family Photographer

Seoul Documentary Photographer - Lawson's Family

Seoul Documentary Photographer - Lawson's Family

Seoul Documentary Photographer - Lawson's Family

Seoul Documentary Photographer - Lawson's Family

Seoul Documentary Photographer - Lawson's Family

Seoul Documentary Photographer - Lawson's Family

Seoul Documentary Photographer - Lawson's Family

Lawson's Adoption - Seoul Documentary Family Photographer

Lawson's Adoption - Seoul Documentary Family Photographer

Lawson's Adoption - Seoul Documentary Family Photographer

Lawson's Adoption - Seoul Documentary Family Photographer

Lawson's Family Session - Deoksugung, Seoul

Lawson's Family Session - Deoksugung, Seoul

Lawson's Family Session - Deoksugung, Seoul

Lawson's Family Session - Deoksugung, Seoul

Lawson's Family Session - Deoksugung, Seoul

Lawson's Family Session - Deoksugung, Seoul

Lawson's Family Session - Deoksugung, Seoul

Lawson's Family Session - Deoksugung, Seoul

Lawson's Family Session - Deoksugung, Seoul

 

 

Ezra’s Family – Seoul Photographer

Last time, we met Ezra and his parents Ester and Dan. Ester and Dan are one of the few couples lucky enough to be able to stay in Korea during the entire adoption process, and get to know their son as well as the system allows. As we saw last time, Ezra bonded quickly with them and was more than happy to assist in their moving process. Dan’s fun-loving nature, and Ester’s outpouring of love gave him a very easy transition and we were able to meet up for our family session two days later.

We arrived early at Changgyeonggung in order to miss the crowds and the forecast rain. Things got off to a great start, and we let Sihu lead us where he wanted to go – stopping to make photos here and there. His game of the day was running away from everyone, and so we played to that. He took us on what could have been a palace tour, and we stopped him at convenient locations for the photos I had in mind.

Our warm up with dad got us started, but was short-lived and we had to move on to the next stop on the tour.

 

Seoul Photographer - Ezra and Dad

Seoul Photographer - Ezra and Dad

Our next couple of shots would play to his need to move around today, letting him stay in control while we got what we wanted. The rain came early and we ran back under cover for a while to let the worst of it pass, taking the opportunity to grab a (very) quick family portrait.

Family Photography in Seoul

Family Photographer Seoul - Ezra's Adoption

Family Photographer Seoul - Ezra's Adoption

Once the rain let up, we headed out for one of Ezra’s favourite activities of the day – riding on dad’s shoulders. He had a blast up there looking at the world from a different perspective and stretching his poor dad’s cheeks as far as they would go.

Seoul Adoption Photographer - Ezra's Family

Energy spent, we sat down to make a couple of quieter frames when Ezra remembered that he was hungry. “I shall go no further!” was his cry, at least that’s what we got from it. And so, we got ourselves some sugar coated pastries to stave off the hunger.

Family Session in Korea

Ezra's Family Session Seoul

Snack Time!

Satisfied, our young subject allowed us to continue, and began by showing me his best tiger impersonation before leading us promptly to his toys and refusing to participate any more!

Tiger Impersonation - Family Photographer

Seoul Family Photography

A Walk with Mum and Dad - Seoul Family Photographer

This way! - Seoul Photographer

That was all well and good, but I still needed a close-up of him with his mother. It took a short nap and some more food to coax him back in, but he came back with all the energy he had started with.

Ezra and Mum - Seoul Photographer

seoul-photographer-family-ezra-16

Thanks to the Anderson family for finding me here in Seoul and having me work with them at this amazing juncture in their lives. I had a great time, and am watching this little man grow from afar.

Please head over to my adoption stories page to see more stories of family building, and to read what Ester and Dan had to say about working with me during this time. To book your own adoption or family session, enquire above!

Ezra Sihu Anderson’s Adoption Story

My time with the Andersons started back in June when they first came to Korea to meet their son, Ezra Sihu. He would be their first adoption; their first child. As with most adoptions recently, the wait had been long and Dan and Ester were ready to take their little boy home. As we would come to see, he was ready for them as well.

Over lunch, they played, hugged and fed each other. Ezra drove his toys through his mother’s drinks, and played hide-and-seek from under the table while all erupted in laughter. This was going to be a happy family. Ester even managed to squeeze in a selfie with her son!

Selfie! - Ezra's Adoption

Car in Cup - Ezra's Adoption

Eating Together - Ezra's Story

We then headed outside to play in the grass, search for ants and leap off bench after bench. The light in everyone’s eyes during this play time showed the love that was forming for this new family. And the sweat we were all pouring out was indicative of times to come with this energetic little fellow!

Flowers - Ezra's Family Photography

Flowers for Dad - Ezra's Family Photos

Adventure - Ezra's Story

The Leap - Ezra's Day Out

ezra-adoption-story-05

Playing with Dad - Ezra's Adoption

 

Over the coming weeks, they would get to know their son more. When the final custody papers were signed, Ezra walked out of the building hand-in-hand with his mother, and smiled all the way to their hotel. And then he would give us all another round of exercise as he helped move their bags into a new room between games of hide-and-seek (clearly his favourite!).

Custody Arrival - Seoul Adoption

Foster Family - Ezra

Kissing the Angel

Mother and Son - Seoul Adoption

Putting on Shoes

Up to the Room - Ezra's Adoption

You Can't See Me - Seoul Adoption

Helping Mum - Seoul Family Photography

Helping Dad- Seoul Family Photography

Toys! - Ezra's Family Story

Toys! - Ezra's Adoption Story

Toys! - Ezra's Adoption Story

Toys! - Ezra's Adoption Story

More Hide and Seek

Even More Hide and Seek

Happy Family - Seoul Adoption

 

Tobin’s Adoption – Korea Photographer

I met Anna-Marie and Brian just a few hours after they landed in Seoul, the birth country of their first son (who I did not get to meet this time around). This time, they were in Korea to meet their second son, Tobin, for the first time. That meeting was less than 14 hours away, and  I was honored to meet this wonderful couple and welcome them to Korea. We talked over a bossam dinner, and I learned of the 18 month process that had brought them to finally meeting the little boy who they would soon add to their family.

We met again the following morning, and it wasn’t long before a little boy in suspenders with snowmen on them rounded the corner and lit up the room. Busy with a lollipop, he ran from person to person, playing with each and everyone in turn. Bubbles brought out his beautiful smile, while a car on the floor calmed him and made him concentrate. Clearly a loving little man, it didn’t take him long to give his dad a big kiss on the cheek, get swept up in hugs, or share a drink with his mother. For the next hour, Tobin scooted between the other playing children, stopping to study a toy here and there, threw out a quick smile to one of his parents before bolting in the other direction, and kept us all sweating without respite.

No sooner had we started playing, it seemed, than the meeting was called to an end. But Tobin’s loving foster mother took everyone, including myself (who she reasoned had been chasing three people all over, and must be in need of a good feed), for a barbecue lunch. The first meeting was over in a heartbeat, but the memory of it was etched in my mind. This was going to be a great family! Stay tuned for the forming of a family and a friendship! Plenty more to come in this amazing story.

Korea Adoption Photographer

Korea Adoption Photography
Korea Adoption Photographer

Korea Adoption Photographer

Seoul Adoption Photographer

Seoul Adoption Photographer

Seoul Adoption Photographer

Seoul Adoption Photographer

Seoul Adoption Photographer

Seoul Adoption Photographer

Seoul Adoption Photographer

Seoul Adoption Photographer

Seoul Adoption Photographer

Korea Photographer

Korea Photographer

Korea Photographer

Korea Photographer

Korea Photographer

Jeju Island Pre Wedding – Sook & Maui

Jeju Island; what an idyllic location for a pre wedding shoot. Rolling mountains, vast oceans, clear blue skies. Certainly some of Korea’s most beautiful landscapes. Sook was also notably excited about the prospect. She contacted me a year out to book this shoot. Sook and Maui, being fans of natural scenery, were keen to include a lot of Jeju Island’s picturesque landscapes in their frames. We set to work planning an afternoon on Udo, a small island off the Seongsan coast.

I arrived two days in advance to scout the island and get my bearings again after a couple of years not visiting Jeju. Two wheels being my preferred mode of transport, I booked a scooter with ample room for my equipment and headed down to Jeju.

As luck would have it, the day I arrived, so did the rains. Droplets the size of marbles greeted me as I pulled out of the rental shop. Never mind, it should let up by tomorrow, Mr. Lee told me. The rains eased by morning, but the howling winds kept the ocean turbulent and all ferries to Udo were canceled that day. I spent the evening in Google street-view instead.

Come the following morning, while our makeup artist Natasha and Sook were working on makeup, Maui and I took a drive down to the port to check on the ferry situation. I inquired with the ticket salesman about the number of cars, and he said that on most days he could give an estimate of when we’d be able to get a ferry. But, with the cancellations the previous day, he wasn’t even sure we’d be able to get a ferry before late afternoon. We decided somewhat reluctantly that our time would be better spent on the main island of Jeju. I had somewhat expected this after the ferry cancellations and had scouted several locations close by our hotels as a backup.

And so we began. Sook and Maui were a great couple to work with; playful, fun, and willing to work with me on my whims – like standing in the ocean for a shot. Being from Malaysia, the cool spring winds were a little much at times, and I think they were glad for the respite of the car when we changed locations.

As no Korean experience would be truly complete without coffee at one of the chain stores (and we all needed a coffee!), we started in an empty cafe, then moved to the seaside the catch some of the early afternoon sun. With a view of Seongsan Sunrise Peak in the background, we started to really show Jeju’s beautiful scenery.

From there we drove back to Sunrise Peak and made use of the cove next to the Haenyeo House, and the setting sun with Hallasan. We could not have been luckier at sunset. Two days of rain had cleared the air, giving us perfect visibility of Hallasan and the Oreum, leaving us with some great final shots at Sunrise Peak.

Thanks again for a great day out, Sook & Maui! All the best with your wedding!

Please take a look at more of my pre wedding sessions, and if you’re looking to have your own pre wedding or engagement photographed, get in touch!

Korea Pre Wedding Photographer

Korea Pre Wedding Photographer

Korea Pre Wedding Photographer

Jeju Island Pre Wedding Photography

Jeju Island Pre Wedding Photography

Jeju Island Pre Wedding Photography

Jeju Island Pre Wedding Photographer

Jeju Island Pre Wedding Photographer

Korea Island Pre Wedding Photography

Jeju Island Pre Wedding Photographer

Jeju Island Pre Wedding Photographer

Elias’ Adoption in Photos – Seoul, Korea

The email came in at precisely 2:03am. Why I checked my phone, I couldn’t tell you. But I was thrilled at what I saw. Amanda had seen some adoption photos I’d done recently of a little boy named Davis, and was coming to meet her own son Elias in a couple of weeks. She poured her heart out in that first email, telling me all about her son and the time they had been waiting. She asked if I would be available to cover their meeting time, and I was thrilled again to cover the making of another family in Seoul.

We met a little early, and were quickly informed by the Holt staff that due to renovations, we would need to move to another building for the meetings. We moved into a much smaller room, where we only had around 2 square-meters of space for ourselves. That wasn’t going to stop these loving parents, and active young man from having the time of their lives, though.

The first thing we discovered about Elias that day was his love for food and drink, and for sharing it with everyone around him. He would bring snacks to everyone in our circle, and even peeled a tangerine for his foster father. Although he loved his food, he would respect his foster mother’s words each and every time if she asked him not to touch it. The pinnacle of this was when his she granted him a bag of crisps. The happy dance that ensued was greeted with guffaws of laughter.

That was the next thing we discovered about Elias, he loves to dance. When the songs stopped, he would run over to the smart phone playing them, hit play again, and begin his routine. Everyone was filled with joy at his capers. He loved the attention and elicited it with skill from his parents Amanda and Reid, and everyone else around. When he discovered that notes were being made about him on a piece of paper, he found a pen and added his own. When he was caught, he handed the pen straight over and went on playing with his parents.

All too soon, the time was over. Elias obediently donned his jacket and scarf, and proceeded to call the elevator. That was it, he was on his way. Thank you again, Amanda and Reid, for allowing me to document your day. All the best with the lovely young man you have taken into your family.

Adoption Photographer Seoul

Adoption Photographer Seoul

Adoption Photographer Seoul

Adoption Photographer Seoul

Adoption Photographer Seoul

Adoption Photographer Seoul

Adoption Photographer Seoul

Adoption Photographer Korea

Adoption Photographer Korea

Adoption Photographer Korea

Adoption Photographer Korea

Adoption Photographer Korea

Adoption Photographer Korea

Adoption Photographer Korea

Adoption Photographer Korea

Adoption Photographer Korea

Adoption Photographer Korea

 

Bull & Barrel Seoul – Korea Food Photographer

Bull & Barrel, a western-style pub in Itaewon that recently made 10 Magazine’s list of the top 7 places to celebrate St Patrick’s day in Seoul, recently had me out to work with them on their new menu and promotional photography. Being a food photographer has its perks. Not the least of which is being able to taste the food at Bull & Barrel after the shoot!

Working with Chad and Steve was a blast. We started early to get as much done as possible before the bar opened for business. Quesadillas, humus, kimchi fries, curry, burgers, and pizza. We shot a good selection of the foods on the menu, and sat down to taste them afterwards.

Impressed does not begin to explain my reaction to the food. At a pub, you generally expect a scratched together menu of grease and salt to make you buy more beer. This is far from the case at Bull & Barrel. They have worked hard to make all the food the best it can be. The humus is home made and plentiful. The kimchi fries are a good mix of spice and cheese, while the curries are restaurant quality.

You’re going in here for dinner, not for a snack and beers. The food is great, and the drinks are up there as well. A couple of Craftworks beers, and a selection of imports crowd around the lonely Max tap that pours its cheap pints to hangover hungry folks. Do yourself a favour and enjoy a pint of something nice to go with the food!

I feel like I’m writing a review here, which is far from what this blog does, but I do recommend getting in and trying the food at B&B if you haven’t yet!

Enjoy the photos!

Korea Food Photographer

Korea Food Photographer

Korea Food Photographer

Korea Food Photographer

Korea Food Photographer

Korea Food Photographer

Davis’ Adoption Day

The email came in. We’re leaving in 24 hours, it said. Can you be available in three days time to photograph our family? That’s how things happen here in Korea, even for adoptions, and thus, adoption photography in Seoul. I quickly checked my calendar. Absolutely, I replied. Lori and Steve were pretty excited at this point, and needless to say, so was I. It would be wonderful to finally put a close on chapter 1 of this story.

Steve and Lori were bubbling over when I met them three days later. Perhaps it was finally completing the process, perhaps it was the high before jet lag hits, and maybe a healthy mixture of both. But they were ready, and Davis was on his way to his parents. We were all very early, and sitting in the meeting room catching up since our last time together when we heard the call from outside the room. “He’s here,” it said.

seoul adoption photographer

Davis spent the next hour playing with his parents, having final medical checks and playing with his favourite giant ball. Most two-year old’s have energy, but Davis has an extra storage. Running back and forth, playing with anything and everything, he kept Lori and Steve’s hands full for the hour we spent together.

seoul adoption photographer  Korea Adoption Photography

seoul adoption photographer

seoul adoption photographerKorea Adoption Photography

After that whirlwind meeting, we decided to organise a short family session in Gyeongbokgung a few days later, and there was no less energy there. Davis had refused his nap that day, and running was all he wanted to do. We tried to sit, to no avail. So we ran. And ran. And ran, again. Lori and Steve will never lack for exercise, that’s for sure!

Korea Adoption Photography

Korea Adoption Photographer

Korea Adoption Photographer

Korea Adoption Photographer

Korea Adoption Photographer

Korea Adoption Photography

This was a truly special experience, and I cannot thank Lori and Steve enough for allowing me to be a part of it. All the best!

Please also check back on part 1 of this story!

 

박우식 – Korea Photographer

Readers of this blog may remember Woosik. Last year myself, and good friend Damari, set out with the boys from Ground Jam to shoot some promo material for them. Woosik is one of their members. Not only a phenomenal dancer, but after a short hiatus, now getting back into acting. Needless to say, when he contacted me looking for some headshots, I was more than happy to work with him again.

Being an unorthodox kind of guy, he wanted some unorthodox photos this time around. His inspiration for visual style was tear sheets from GQ, Geek, and 1st Look. A fun challenge to say the least! We got together of a Friday afternoon in a rented studio in the north of Seoul, and sat down for 해장국 (recovery soup… a Korean hangover cure) before beginning the shoot. Always a good way to start.

We had three outfits to get through, and 4 walls to work with. As you see on this blog, most of my work is outdoors. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m always nervous walking into a studio. Making my own light is not a problem, I do it all the time. I even teach a class on it. But a blank wall… that’s way out of my comfort zone. We got straight into it though, and conquered that fear with some killer images.

Seoul Photographer

 

Seoul Photographer

Seoul Photographer

Seoul Photographer

Seoul Photographer

Seoul Photographer

Seoul Photographer

Seoul Photographer

Seoul Photographer

Seoul Photographer