This year has been a test for many people in many ways. The unprecedented level of restrictions we’ve had to put on our day-to-day lives to stay safe has required a lot of adjustment for many of us. As someone who photographs families for a living, this has certainly been an interesting year. Once the travel restrictions kicked in and it began to look like COVID-19 was here to stay, I had expected to be sitting tight for a few months and not working with any families during this crisis. Imagine how surprised and excited I was to get a message from the Legg family saying that they’d be doing quarantine and then spending upwards of a month in Korea in order to give their son his forever home.
During their time here, we got together a couple of times to get to know each other a little before our session (one really great benefit of the reduced workload!). We even managed to get a meal in on the Han River and fly some kites with the girls. They also got to see quite a bit more of Seoul than most visitors do as they were here for so long. As we were planning for our family session post-custody (some more details on these sessions in this post), Seoul announced the closure of all historical sites such as the palaces. This put a slight dent in our plans, but I noticed on Facebook that the family had visited the National Museum. I knew for a fact that it was closed, but wasn’t aware that the grounds were open. I quickly suggested this to them and we decided to go ahead with the change of plans.
Normally the groundskeepers don’t allow photo sessions here because it can disrupt visitors to the museum, but in light of there not being any visitors, they were fine with us making use of the gorgeous gardens and structures surrounding the museum itself. This was great because it meant we could laugh and giggle and make all the funny noises we wanted to in order to make the session fun. And believe me, we did just that!
Starting with the classic silhouette that’s possible with Namsan Tower in the background, we grabbed a few frames with me at a distance to get the kids warmed up. Of the several iterations of this I made, this is by far my favourite. Every adopted child I’ve worked with has come home with some sort of a comfort object and many of them bring that thing to the session. For Ian, this was his doll. In this image, one of his arms is by his side and the other is clutching his doll. It’s a classic moment for the beginning of a post-custody session and I love it!
Following this, we ducked down to the other side of the museum and made use of the courtyard outside the natural dye garden. The architecture back here is very similar to the ladies’ sections of Seoul’s palaces and makes for a gorgeous background for these sorts of shoots. Here, we spent a lot of time warming Ian up to the idea of our session and taking short breaks whenever he needed them. Sometimes it was easy and he was carefree and sometimes he needed a little time for himself. Giving kids this time on these sessions enables us to get some wonderful shots while allowing them time to process. Here are a few favourites from that set.
Then it was time to go for a short walk around the side of the museum to a slightly different area. To give the kids a bit of a break, we made individual shots here and played a few games. Of course, the obligatory flying shot had to be involved here and Ian absolutely loved it! To wrap up the session, we headed over to the pagoda at the reflecting pond to look for fish and turtles. The kids were exhausted at this point so this was a great way to get a few more frames before donning our masks and heading home.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this session. Please do reach out if you’d like to have your own family photographed in Seoul. Don’t forget to follow on Instagram and Facebook for more images and stories. Take care and stay safe!