Kim and Chris Korea Pre-Wedding – Jeonju, Korea

As Korea pre-wedding sessions get more and more popular, I’ve been able to travel to various parts of Korea including Jeju Island and Jeonju for beautiful sessions with a really different flavour from Seoul. Kim and Chris were tossing up between a session in Seoul, or traveling to the gorgeous Hanok Village in Jeonju. In the end, we decided to get a beautiful Hanok stay down in Jeonju and spend a whole day wandering the streets together.

Being a weekday, the number of tourists was limited, and we were able to see a lot of the city and work in many different environments. Having a longer session like this also means that we’re able to get the nice light at both ends of the day, and Jeonju did not disappoint. For the morning, we traversed the tourist areas sans people until the city started to wake up. Then, as things started to get busier, we grabbed a coffee and took a break for the early afternoon. Finding a beautiful (and empty!) tea-house, we started our session again for the afternoon period, and covered the other half of the town, focusing on the tight back alleys.

Jeonju is a perfect location if you’re looking to get a traditional Korean feel. Although the main areas have become extremely commercial, the side streets are still beautiful. Weekends are packed, and I don’t recommend the visit then, but weekdays are far quieter and make for a great time to visit. If you’d like to enquire about having your own couples session in Jeonju, please get in touch.

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Jeonju Korea Pre-Wedding Photographer - Kim and Chris

Chan Family – Seoul Family Photographer

Betsy contacted me after seeing a family session I had done with some friends of hers from her son’s school. Juggling our relative travel schedules was tricky, but we finally managed to get together and organise a session for the beauty of autumn in Seoul. We got one of the last warm days of the year for this session, and Seoul did not disappoint with some spectacular autumn light for us to work in. With loving parents and energetic children to add to this, we came back with some gorgeous keepsakes for their time in Seoul.

One thing that often comes up in sessions did come up this day. The kids got hungry, and of course wanted a snack. What do we do in situations like that? We take a short break and let them have a snack. It’s better for everyone in the end. Once you lose the children to hunger or cold, you’ve lost them. They don’t really come back from that place.

Being a family photographer gives you the ability to really showcase the best in a family and record moments of joy and bonding that are unique to the genre. I believe very strongly in capturing what the children give me that day, and how they interact with their parents. My goal for each and every session is to show them at their very best and allow their personalities to shine through. Although a clean and perfect image is always in the back of my mind, if a cookie gets in hand and creates a beautiful moment, I will not try to take it away. Small details like this will allow your children to be themselves throughout the session without fear of reprimand, thus creating a natural environment for them to be themselves.

Looking for a family photographer in Seoul? Please get in touch to discuss your own session!

Chan Family - Seoul Photographer

Chan Family - Seoul Photographer

Chan Family - Seoul Photographer

Chan Family - Seoul Photographer

Chan Family - Seoul Photographer

Chan Family - Seoul Photographer

Chan Family - Seoul Photographer

Chan Family - Seoul Photographer

Chan Family - Seoul Photographer

 

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

2014 Year in Review – Part 2 – Seoul Photographer

Part two of my Year in Review as a Seoul Photographer. If you missed Part 1, head on over to check it out. The year began to pick up pace starting in April with the weather warming up, and the year getting underway for everyone. I was more than happy to start it in the warmest part of the country, Jeju Island. Although it poured rain for my solo ride from Jeju City to Seongsan-ri, the weather cleared up and we couldn’t have had a more perfect day for my shoot with Sook and Maui. We drove and rode all around the area, skipping the crowds and making a beautiful collection of landscape-style engagement photos.

Jeju Island Pre Wedding Photographer

Jeju Island Pre Wedding Photographer

While I was down on Jeju, I got a call from my good friend and colleague, Greg Samborski, with a job that would take the two of us to organise, and would begin the day I flew back into Seoul. The Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award, or HIPA, needed an on demand printing service organised for their booth and had asked us to provide it. We tag-teamed the preparations for this while I was shooting some personal work and organising the first ever foreigner group exhibition for the Seoul Photo & Imaging Show. A big thanks to everyone who participated in that as well!

Jeju Island Photographer

Jeju Island Photographer

The Seoul P&I Foreigner Photo Exhibition

The HIPA Booth for Seoul P&I

Our prints at the HIPA Booth, Seoul P&I

I also got to finish the first chapter of Brian and Anna-Marie‘s story when they returned to Korea with their son Knox to pick up the newest member of their family, Tobin. From the moment he laid eyes on his brother, Knox was enamoured and stepped up to the plate as big brother. It was such a treat to be welcomed by Brian and Anna-Marie to document this special time for them, and watching Knox and Tobin left us all in awe at their ability to bond so quickly.

Seoul Family Photographer

Seoul Family Photographer

Seoul Family Photographer

Seoul Family Photographer

Seoul Family Photographer

I also had the chance to work with a couple I’d been talking to and dying to work with for quite some time, Danielle and Todd Odenath. We had a great time getting shadowed by security at a palace, blown all over the place on the Han River banks, and of course enjoying one of Seoul’s ubiquitous coffee shop experiences.

Seoul Pre Wedding Photographer

Seoul Couple Photographer

April was a busy time for adoptions this year, and I met two more wonderful families before the end of the month. Firstly April and Blake Chambers were visiting with their two children to meet their newest boy, Silas. It took him a little while to warm up, but his big brother Griffin wasn’t going to give in. Before long they were dragging each other all around the room, leaving no corner unexplored.

Seoul Family Photographer

Seoul Family Photographer

Next up was Amber and Matt, who were adding a forth little one to the ranks! Amber, being the daughter of one of Holt’s first adopted children, was extremely excited to be in Korea to meet her new son. Her mother and father also came along to meet their grandson, and spent the afternoon kicking a ball and chasing Asher around the room. Asher’s foster-mother actually turned out to be April and Blake’s first son Griffin’s foster-mother as well, and so Asher knew exactly who I was walking into the room!

Korea Family Photographer

Korea Family Photographer

Moving to May, I shot the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce‘s Wine Festival at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. It was a great afternoon with 26 different wineries in attendance. It was also a joy to shoot an event during the day for a change, and not have to push the limits of digital sensors!

Korea Photographer

Working again with the team at Mi Casa was a treat as well. They know how to do good food, and having a professional team working together makes the job run so smoothly. Chef Manuel Manzano Rodriguez is an artist in the kitchen, and produced dish after dish to perfection all day long. Can’t wait to work on the new menu!

seoul-photographer-01

The end of May would prove to be a whirlwind week of back to back sessions. First up, I had the pleasure of meeting Josh and Elizabeth and working with them on the first day they met their son.

Korea Family Photographer

Korea Family Photographer

Next up was Angelo and Cecilia’s beautiful wedding in Seongbuk-dong. A big thanks to Greg Samborski for second shooting that day for me!

Seoul Wedding Photographer

A couple of quick pre-wedding shoots would round out the month well. So, first up I worked with Leah and Preston on a set of photos to remind them of their time here in Korea.

Korea Pre Wedding Photographer

Seoul Pre Wedding Photographer

And then with Cindy and Adam before they left to get married in Scotland!

Korea Pre Wedding Photographer

A good portion of the month of June would be spent with the Brown family, who had contacted me in January and finally got their travel call to meet Nell. With the B-Team, Bates and Brodie, in tail, Mary Leigh and Nick embraced Seoul for everythign it had – zoos included, and had me along for the ride to document every interaction, every smile, and every “Let’s go!” from Nell. We had an amazing week together that started in the Holt offices with Nell, and then the boys’ foster families, followed by a day in the park with Nell. This was a long and wonderful journey that can be read about here, here and here.

Seoul Family Photographer

Korea Family Photographer

Seoul Family Photographer

Korea Family Photographer

Seoul Family Photographer

Korea Family Photographer

Seoul Family Photographer

Korea Family Photographer

Korea Family Photographer

 

Of course, I can’t forget Greg Samborski being my test in the bride’s room.

Seoul Photographer

Or time with my niece for Children’s Day.

Korea Photographer

Or the 4×5 selfy attempt.

1501070_10106432082337324_3938242806363060586_o

Shooting personal work with Zach and Spencer…

ZackSpenceDylan-Dongmyo-20140503

Or finally having the opportunity to photograph the mighty Robert Koehler for Groove Magazine!

Groove Korea June 2014-35

Fuji x-t1 Review – Seoul Photographer

The Fuji x-t1 really needs no introduction. By this stage, you’ve probably heard of it, read some reviews, or bought it. Just like my review of the Fuji x100s, this will not be a technical review, but an emotional one. I’ve used the camera, both personally and professionally for the last 5 months, and I’d like to share with you my thoughts on what it is and what it can do. A lot of this review will compare it to a DSLR, as replacing my DSLR on many jobs was my reason for buying this camera. Everything in here is from my own personal experience with the camera and the types of photography I shoot it for.

Seoul Photographer - Fuji x-t1

Introduction

My affair with Fuji started with the x100s. What a camera that is. The only thing was, it made me hunger for more. I wanted a small package that could not only supplement my DSLR kit, but replace it on a lot of jobs. I love Fuji’s cameras in the same way I love my old Nikon FM; they are a joy to use. I’m a guy who still writes with a fountain pen (yep, I said it), so I love the tactility of Fuji’s design. Forget what they look like, they feel good to use. Nikon may have thought a little bit about that before releasing the Df. Yep, I said that too. So, I settled on the Fuji x-t1. I bought one lens, the 18mm f/2, to get started. The next day I bought the 56mm f/1.2. Within 5 months, I picked up the Zeiss 12mm f/2.8, and the Fuji 23mm f/1.4 as well.

In terms of the way it looks, it retains the minimal look of the other Fuji bodies, which is a great thing when working with people. Everything I said about the profile of the x100s and the way people react to it stands true for the x-t1, as long as you take the lens hoods off some of the bigger primes and don’t pair it with the massive zooms that, in my humble opinion, defeat the purpose of a small camera system.

Overall, this camera is fantastic. It has replaced my D800 for a few jobs, and makes a great second camera for others. I no longer take my D800 out of the house for personal work unless I’m shooting landscapes, and even then I find it difficult to justify the weight. I’ll look here mostly at things that could be improved, or things that are exaggerated in other reviews.

Fuji x-t1 - Seoul Photographer

The Viewfinder

Let’s face it, some of us just don’t like the rangefinder style of shooting and would rather have a centrally placed viewfinder. Me, for example. And what a viewfinder. I’ve read and heard all sorts of crazy claims about this viewfinder and it being almost indistinguishable from an optical viewfinder. Rubbish. It’s wonderful, but it’s not an optical viewfinder. Not even close; you’re not seeing light the way it is in the world anymore. What it is, though, is a giant preview of very close to what you’ll see after you shoot. Giant is the key word here. It fills your vision like no other viewfinder I’ve used. My favourite aspects of the EVF are being able to view the world in black and white when I’m shooting black and white frames, and being able to see blown highlights before even taking the frame.

Korea Photographer - Fuji x-t1

Speed

AF is similar to my x100s as far as I can tell. There is really no appreciable difference between the two. It still hunts a lot in low light or low contrast situations, often failing to lock onto the subject. The continuous focus mode is still next to useless, as it has been in all Fuji cameras to date. It is ridiculous to compare this to a Nikon D800. But this is the standard I have to offer. Simply put, the D800 can track a running child in all three dimensions anywhere in the viewfinder and nail 9 out of 10 frames at f/2. The Fuji would be lucky to get one, and can only use it’s central focus points for tracking. I find myself reaching for the D800 when I need shots like this.

Then there’s the burst mode. 8 frames per second? I can shoot 240mb of RAW files every second? Yay. Okay, I’ll admit it has come in handy a couple of times when shooting action, but it lags the viewfinder and the focus tracking can’t keep up with it. It also makes the camera extremely loud, with the shutter beginning to sound like my old Nikon FM after a couple of frames. It would be really nice if this mode were a little quieter, and the viewfinder / AF system could keep pace with it. Until then, I’d rather 3-4fps, much quieter, and better ability to track my subject.

What does all of this mean while shooting? I always feel one step behind in tough situations. The x-t1 is fantastic for slower, more deliberate shooting. However, when push comes to shove, it will not keep up the way a DSLR does.

Fuji x-t1 Review

The Image Quality

Stellar. There’s one thing that the x-trans sensor really has going for it, quality. The colours and tones produced by this sensor are second to none. I have never been happy with the JPEGs produced by any of my Nikon cameras, but with this Fuji system, I’m more than happy to shoot JPEG if it is called for. The RAW files are beautiful as well. The tones have a gradation to them that I haven’t seen in any Canikon file to date. Transitions of colour and tone have a much more natural, soft feel to them. However, it does take a little getting used to the way Lightroom treats these files, as it is a little different to NEF or CR2 files.

Again, dynamic range is nothing in comparison to my D800, but it is more than ample for most applications if you get your exposure anywhere near correct. When using shadows and highlights sliders in Lightroom, it feels more like processing the slightly ‘grittier’ files from the D700, rather than the softer changes made when processing the D800 files.

ISO performance is also ample for most applications. However, I have found that the Fuji’s files quickly lose detail and dynamic range after ISO3200. I prefer to keep it well below that wherever possible.

Fuji x-t1 Review Seoul

The Build Quality

It sits well in the hand, that’s for sure. I wasn’t sure it would. Small cameras are usually quite hard to hold in large hands. But the Fuji x-t1 is well balanced, has a decent sized grip to wrap your fingers around, and feels solid. The couple of times it’s dropped from my shoulder (did I mention that the strap that comes with it could use a little more rubber?), it has come back just fine. Thankfully.

Rain, however, that’s another story. I’ve read and heard many a story about how good this body is. My personal experience says the exact opposite. Light drizzle for no more than a couple of minutes before I put it back in my bag and caught the bus home, only to find that the LCD on the back of the camera had stopped working. Fuji Korea of course do not cover water damage, and I had to pay for a new one. This would be understandable if I’d tried to use it at a pool party, but I didn’t. It was light drizzle walking the streets of the city. So much for weather resistant.

It was no more than a few days later that the rubber grip started to peel off and the rubber door covering the I/O ports expanded to the point where it will no longer stay closed. Don’t get me wrong, I expect these things over time, but not a few months into owning a camera that cost north of $1000.

Seoul Photographer - x-t1 Review

What it needs

I’m really looking for a small camera to replace the D800 on a lot of jobs, and I was hoping the Fuji would be that camera. I love the images from the Fuji and the feel of the camera in my hands. I love having all the controls physically on the body of the camera like an old SLR. But the camera just isn’t responsive enough to keep up with the way I shoot yet.

Improvements in AF accuracy in low light, and continuous AF would make this camera a go to for nearly every job that I do. Other than that, high ISO improvements would be nice as well.

On my wish list is compressed RAW files. They are the saving grace of the D800, and I would love it if the files from the x-t1 would weigh in at 40-50% less than they do. This cannot be that hard! People say that storage is cheap and we can just buy more. Personally, I’d prefer not to. Especially with the number of photos I take. If I could halve my storage costs, I’d be a much happier shooter.

One more thing that I’d like to be assignable to a function button is the “Exposure preview in Manual Mode” setting. This is extremely useful when shooting with flash or in dark environments, but I don’t like having to dig through a menu to get at it. It would be nice to switch it on an off at will with the click of a button.

All that being said, the Fuji x-t1 is fantastic at what it does and the images will attest to that. It’s a great camera, and if you’re thinking of making the jump to Fuji, this could be the time to do it.

Korea Photographer - Fuji x-t1

Seoul Photographer - Fuji Review

Korea Photographer - Seoul Portrait

Patience, or How to Catch a Monk

When we think about patience in photography, possibly the first thing that comes to mind is landscape photography; a lone photographer waiting hours for the perfect light. With digital photography, patience has been taken out of the process almost entirely, and more often than not a quick snap is all that is made of a scene. And often times this is enough, but when we are trying to make a longer lasting piece of art rather than a memory, patience often comes into play. The old saying is that patience is a virtue, as the subject of the image below will be able to tell you at length. All good things come to those who wait. And I waited.

Of all the temples here in Seoul, Gisangsa is one of my favourites, and spending time there when the light it right is a treat. Seeing the almost symmetrical nature of this temple building, I instantly saw my frame. Bringing the camera to my eye, I made a quick test. Too much on the top and bottom made me switch to 16:9 crop so I would get a longer, more cinematic frame. The Fujifilm x-t1’s viewfinder automatically applies the crop. It’s a great feature that allows you to see exactly what you will get in situations like this.

That was the simple part. But, like temples all over Korea this one was heavily touristed. I needed an interesting subject to make the photo stand out. A crowd of people taking photos wasn’t going to do that. And so I waited. About 20 minutes later, the orange-robed head monk began his rounds of the temple, preparing it for the evening meditation. I watched him opening each of the doors and checking that it was latched correctly, and ducking in between visitors to the temple as he made sure everything was in order. Those who would join the meditation went inside, and others moved aside as the time drew closer. After one last round, the monk climbed the stairs and I knew I had my frame.

Nothing technical was the key to this photograph. It could have been made with a phone camera. The key here was knowing there was a photograph to be made and waiting it out.

Monk - Seoul Photographer

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

 

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!