Of Dinosaurs and Exploration: Family Photos with the Martins

Playing Catch - Martin Family Photos

Today’s session is a blow-by-blow deep-dive into a fairly common type of post-custody session with one of my adoptive families. Oftentimes so soon after custody, kids aren’t ready to open up to a stranger and a different approach is required. The last thing we want to do is force our wants onto a little one who has been through a life-changing event, so another angle is required. I hope you enjoy this fun session with the Martin family.

We all arrived a little before the palace opened on shoot day. As soon as I saw Hanbhit clutching at his comfort toys – a pair of dinosaurs, I knew we were in for a slow start to the session. So, we decided to warm our little man up with some playful shots in the street. One of the positives to be found in the pandemic is the sheer lack of people in public spaces. While office districts and restaurant streets are still quite busy, it has become easy to find empty spaces in the rest of the city, especially early in the morning.

Pre-Shoot with the Martin Family

Knowing immediately how this session would begin, I decided to play the long game. I knew the little man wasn’t the type of guy who would respond to my silly voices or jokes. He was going to do things on his own terms and likely spend a lot of time running around in between. Once we headed inside, Hanbhit still wasn’t quite ready to open up to me, so we kept things playful and I kept my distance. We were still able to get some great shots from this section and even include Seoul Tower, as requested.

Warming Up - Martin Family Photo Shoot, Seoul

Seoul Tower and Changdeokgung - Family Photos

As you can see, those dinosaurs are a permanent fixture still. “From my cold dead hands!” was the response to my asking if we could put them down for a moment. While I may be exaggerating the exact wording, that was certainly the gist of it. Hanbhit needed his comforts and wasn’t ready to let them go, yet. That wasn’t going to stop us, though!

Dinosaurs and Running

Martin Family Portrait

Smiles and Dinosaurs - Family Photo Shoot

We got a few minutes of giggles in dad’s arms as we played a little peek-a-boo and made some faces. This was great as it meant we were making in-roads. But we weren’t done running off and doing our own thing yet. A lap around the buildings together, however, gave us a few more minutes for some quick frames with each of his parents before a break was in order.

Flying Again

Mother and Son - Martin Family Photos

You may notice a subtle change in the next image. We might have discovered something almost as important as dinosaurs – survival. Water is one of those things that stops us from keeling over and that makes it just as important as at least one dinosaur. For a short while, anyway.

Letting Go of One Dinosaur

Family Fun - Photo Shoot in Seoul

Quick moments of playing around allowed us to get this gorgeous little portrait of Hanbhit. But, that was it, though. He was hungry now. So were the dinosaurs. So we needed another break. Once we were refueled, though, it was back to running and playing hide-and-seek. This gave us some more beautiful smiles and some additional variety for the set.


Time for a Break - Feeding the Dinosaurs

One for You, One for Me

Peak-a-boo - Changdeokgung Family Photos


Playing Catch - Martin Family Photos

Since the presence of the second dinosaur was required again momentarily, I decided we should test the waters and see if we could play a game of chase by tossing the dinosaur back and forth. This produced some of the cutest frames from the session for me. I just love these genuine moments of interaction. Soon, though, we were ready for another walk. I suggested we turn it into a run for something different. The results of this were guffaws of laughter.

Dinosaur Kisses

Running with Dinosaurs - Family Photos in Changdeokgung

We were getting ready to wrap the session when another game of hide-and-seek ensued – this time, with me! We finally had some interaction, but it wasn’t to last. Tired out, Hanbhit, decided walking was a good idea again. When we reached a good spot, dad decided another air toss was in order, so we set up this quick frame to make that happen.

Hide-and-seek - Family Photos

This Way!

One more Fly

Then it was time for our final walk. The little man was well-and-truly ready for a nap and it wouldn’t take him long to pass out as we left the location.

A family Walk - Photo Shoot in Seoul

Family Photos at Changdeokgung

Again, a big thanks again to the Martin family for working with me at this transitional time for their family. I had a blast and hope to see you guys in the future if the world allows it!

As always, please follow my Facebook and Instagram for more of my work. Please also reach out to have your own family photos in Seoul when you visit! Take care and stay healthy!


As a side note, for those who might be interested, this blog was actually written here at a small pagoda overlooking that Nakdong River on my recent cross-country cycling trip. Here’s my portable office for that trip.

Portable Office

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.