This session is one of those ones that stays with you. Neah had reached out to me well before the family’s court date and we had tentatively planned to have a family photography session together following their custody day. With all the uncertainties surrounding custody and how Hayoon might be feeling as her situation changed so dramatically, Neah and Tai were understandably nervous about having a photoshoot so soon. We agreed to stay in touch and work something out as the day approached.
Neah reached out again a few days before our shoot and let me know that the transition was taking a little time. She and Tai definitely wanted to go ahead with the photo shoot. But, they were apprehensive about how Hayoon might feel around another new person and in another new place. I offered to arrive early with the family and get to know each other before we actually began photography. So, an hour before the session, I picked up coffee for us adults and a little box of chocolate mushrooms for Hayoon. With those things in hand, it didn’t take us long to become friends.
Soon enough, Hayoon was filled with snacks and ready to explore. We bounced from location to location, following her whims and direction. She searched out flowers, found ants on every leaf around us, and played hide-and-seek. We even got in a few swings and quick portraits between her explorations. It really couldn’t have started out better.
We decided to move our location slightly to make use of the gorgeous afternoon light as much as possible. This would also be our chance to take control and try for a few more scripted scenes. Changgyeonggung can be really gorgeous in spring as all the trees come back to life. On top of that, its extended opening hours mean we can actually make use of some gorgeous afternoon light in the forested areas.
To wrap up the session, we headed over to the palace buildings. On top of the gorgeous forested areas, we also wanted to get a few shots featuring elements of the traditional architecture. As is the case with April and May in all the palaces, there were sections of the palace blocked off for the “Royal Culture Festival“. That left us with only the main palace building to work with. Not to worry, though, as it is beautiful and Hayoon wanted to explore every corner. In fact, once we found the ramps to run up and down, there was no stopping her!
Post-custody family photography is a wonderful opportunity to make some memories and to create some images that tell the story of your first moments together here in Korea. With every session, it is important for us to gauge how the child is doing and what might be possible. Sometimes, that involves feeding dinosaurs, sometimes it means hugs, jumps, and running, and sometimes, it means taking the time to have a box of snacks, some coffee, and playing together for a while before we get started. Being open to whatever may come and allowing the child to lead the way is what makes these sessions so magical.
As always, I hope you’ve enjoyed this set of images from my time with Hayoon and her family. If you’d like to have your own family photography session during a visit to Seoul, please do reach out! I’d love to hear from you.