Welcome back to my 2022 Year in Review series! This post will take us from spring in April through to early summer in June. There’s plenty of family, event, proposal, and pre-wedding photography here, as well as a sprinkling of commercial and e-commerce photography. I hope you’ll enjoy this beautiful time of year as much as I did photographing it.
April – Event, Family, Couple, and Travel Photography
Korea finally began to lower its entry requirements and that, coupled with the relaxed local restrictions, meant that work began to pick up again. Over the course of April, I photographed several events for the Australian Embassy here in Seoul. The first of these was a wine-pairing dinner held by the ambassador. It was a pleasure not only to photograph each of the dishes with its paired wine, but to have the opportunity to taste the dishes afterward. There are certainly some perks to this job!
Next was to cover the ANZAC Day events led by the defense section of the embassy. This is always a pleasure as I am reminded of the reason I am able to live in Korea today. Lest We Forget. On the second day of shooting, the Dawn Service, the kind folks at Four B joined us and made coffee for all the guests. To thank them, we also made a photograph of them with the defense section to hang in their shop.
Plum and cherry blossoms this year started out slowly, but lasted a little over a week here in Seoul. A couple of my families were lucky enough to have time during those days. We kept on the dates together and made a final decision for session time when it started looking like the blossoms were going to peak. Both sessions were first thing in the morning. That way we could avoid the crowds and make the most of the gorgeous moments we would get with the early morning light.
My next couple of sessions were towards the end of the month when the weather had well and truly warmed up. The cherry blossoms were long gone but we still had beautiful light. Early spring brings with it a clean and crisp kind of light. It results in beautiful images on both sunny and overcast days. The warm, but not hot, weather makes for the perfect temperatures to get outdoors for a family photo shoot.
My first couple session for April was also under the cherry blossoms. Shermon and his soon-to-be had flown in thanks to the relaxed entry requirements and he hired me to set up a proposal spot for him under the cherry blossoms. While the blossoms weren’t fully out yet, we made the best of what we had. Once we were done, we walked around Seoul Forest park and got some lovely images in the first hour of light before the crowds started to take over. It’s a beautiful time of year, but it can be hard to see the blossoms for all the people at times.
The next pre-wedding photo shoot of this quarter was with Jeff and Christine. We headed down to Jeju Island with the best of intentions. Jeju, as it often does, had other plans. We got hit with quite a violent storm. Luckily, I was able to stay an extra day to make the shoot happen. We decided to take what we were given, though, and shoot through the storm wherever possible. We managed some beautiful moments, even with the lashing rain and thick fog. You can see those in the linked blog post. For now, though, here are a couple with blue skies.
To give you an idea of what the other days down there looked like, here are a couple of frames of the fierce ocean during the storm and the foggy morning we woke up to.
As I saw my schedules for May and June filling up, I knew that I’d also need to get the cycling I’d planned on the calendar before things got too busy. I wanted to complete the next of the Four Rivers courses, which for me was Seomjingang. This river winds its way across Jeolla Province and past the mighty Jirisan National Park with its towering peaks. It was a beautiful ride and one that I’d love to do again in the autumn. I’d highly recommend it for anyone looking to cycle South Korea.
May – Family, Couple, and Event Photographer
Locally, May is known as the “family month” and this year, it was definitely all about family photography. Kicking off the month, I spent an hour filled with smiles and laughter with the Martin family. My next session with little Hayoon was a little longer and slower-paced. You can see the full set from that session here.
Next up, I got to see my friends from the George family again as they revisited Korea. Following that, I got to meet the Arnold and Townsend families as they completed their adoption processes. Both sessions were full of love and tenderness, as well as a little bit of raucousness on the Townsend side. Good times to be had by all!
Just five more family sessions remained this month. Did I mention this was the month for family photos? First up was the Nelhuebel family. Toddlers, especially little boys, tend to be very busy. So, that’s how we played things. We let the little man dictate our direction and turned his desires into pictures. That meant a lot of walking, running, and swinging! Then, I got to meet up with another family I worked with several years ago and photograph them with the newest addition to their family. One of the surprises I always get, since it’s usually a few years between visits for my families, is that kids seem to sprout up so much each time! This one was no exception, the girls were huge!
To wrap up the family sessions for this month, here are some images from another couple of fun sessions with lots of smiles. Firstly, the Hetrick family, who had just finalised their second adoption. This was a beautiful session where we all pitched in to help the little lady feel welcome and loved. Finally, I photographed the Pung family from Australia on their first international trip with their little guy. It was great to be a part of such an important trip for them. Look out for the full blog of both of these sessions coming in the new year.
Doing a complete about-face for a moment, I had the pleasure of working with the team at Sofitel Seoul Jamsil to create a series of portraits for their staff. The goal for the day was to create a set of conceptual portraits that showed off the mood of the hotel and its staff. Using several different floors of the hotel and working with their job titles, we came away with some fun and unique images over the course of a nine-hour shoot. Here are a few from the day.
May is also the time of year when nature here has its most beautiful greens. The young leaves that have made their way out after our long winter are spectacular during this period. Before the summer heat gives them a darker tone, they shine for just a little while. Darryl timed his proposal at the absolute perfect point in the year for these greens. Nami Island was awash with these tones everywhere we looked. It was honestly hard to stop shooting!
Finally, May was also the time when events started to become more commonplace again. Our restrictions had been relaxed and larger social gatherings were possible. During this time, I was able to work with the South Australian Government, the KGCCI, Austcham, and was invited to help shoot a graduation at Dulwich College Seoul with my colleague Roy Cruz. Of course, the regular Foot Locker catalog shoots snuck their way into the schedule and provided a welcome change of pace.
June – Family, Couple, and Event Photographer
June was, thankfully, somewhat slower-paced than May. As the summer heat begins to build, Korea tends to look towards the August break and things slow down for us. I began the month with a couple of beautiful proposals, though. One was in Seoul and one was on Nami Island.
First up was Brandon’s proposal. His love for the Han River, and the water in general, sent us on a search for a beautiful, mostly private, corner of the river for the proposal. I suggested a few different spaces, but in the end, we went for the confluence of the Han River and Jungnang Stream. It’s a beautiful quiet park with panoramic views of the city.
I then headed out to Nami Island for Bryan’s proposal. Just a month had passed since my last visit and the trees had become far darker and were headed toward their summer tones. Below you can see the metasequoia avenue again, which we used for the proposal, and also the Ginkgo avenue that we visited afterward. The day before Bryan’s proposal was quite rainy and Nami Island was shrouded in a thick mist. However, that cleared by morning and we had a gorgeous, if slightly damp, morning for the big moment.
I had a great time with my three families for this month as well. The Song Family joined me for a Hanbok shot and we wrapped it up with this shot you see below. Then I had a couple of families for adoption post-custody shoots. I was able to capture some beautiful moments of bonding and, of course, some laughter and fun as well.
Finally, there were a few large conferences and tradeshows that I was invited to photograph. These included Bio Korea and Smart Tech Korea, both held at CoEx in Seoul. The final show was Seoul Food 2022 at Kintex.
To round out this lengthy piece, I’ll share a few images I shot on the walks between these various jobs over the course of the quarter. I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey with me and I thank you for taking the time to view these images. If you’d like to see more, please follow my Instagram and Facebook. And, if you’re looking for a photographer in Seoul, or Korea in general, please get in touch!