Welcome to the third installment of my annual Year in Review series. In this blog, we’ll take a look at the goings on from July-September of 2022. Please do check out parts one and two if you haven’t already!
July – Proposal, Family, and Editorial Photography
July started out with a quick trip down to Jeju for Lai Sheng’s proposal to Brenda. We got a beautiful, but extremely hot and humid day for it. The full story of that one can be found on the linked blog post. Let’s just say, it was a challenge but the images went off without a hitch in the end!
Not long after getting back to Seoul, I took the train down to Daegu for another proposal. Vinnie knew the area well as it was one of the spots they loved to hang out as a couple. He had a specific location in mind and it looked great. So, I headed down a couple of hours early to see what it would look like in camera and if there would be anything we’d need to be careful of. It turned out to be the perfect day and a wonderful spot for a proposal.
To shake things up a little during this month, I traveled to Busan twice, as well. Once was for Herbert-Smith-Freehills’ alumni magazine again and the other was to photograph a new installation at the Busan Lotte World (production credit for this one goes to Roy Cruz Photography). Both of these were quite different from my day-to-day work, so it was a welcome change.
July was also a month for another run of family sessions before things got too hot. Here are a few of my favourites from those sessions.
First up was the Hwang family who, as you can see, had quite a lively and fun session. Despite the rising temperatures, everyone was up for plenty of action. Check out the full post for more images from that one. Next was a wonderful time with the Olsen family, which I will blog about in full early next year. Let’s just say, plenty of laughter was found in my guesses as to what dad’s name was.
Finally, here are a couple of moments from my session with Ha Joon and his family. This was a session that sped up, slowed down, sped up, and slowed down again. It was a great time, to be sure!
August – Couple Photographer
August is usually a quieter month here in Seoul as the summer heat kicks in and the local holidays begin. This year was no different, but I did have a few quick sessions to keep the month interesting. For the rest of the month it was ridiculously hot and we had some of the most intense rain we’ve had in a long time. Multiple floods caused havoc all over the country. My heart goes out to those who lost family and property in the disaster. With the images of Gwangwamun below, you would be forgiven for thinking they were photographed at night. In truth, that is mid-afternoon. The clouds were thick and the rain was incredibly heavy. That is just a sample of how things were for a few weeks here.
September – Travel, Proposal, Couple, Family, and E-Commerce Photographer
As Korea relaxed its re-entry requirements, we began discussing a family trip for the first time in years. It was my mother’s 60th birthday at the end of August, so we decided to meet up in Cambodia and take her for a trip around the ancient city of Angkor. Warm, (mostly) dry weather, and smiling faces were just what the doctor ordered for all of us and we had a great trip together.
I had planned to get some of our images from Cambodia ready to share with my family when we got back to Seoul, but work picked up immediately. Much like us, many people were taking advantage of Korea’s changing entry requirements to visit the country. In the remaining days of September, I photographed no less than five proposals, one couple session, one family, and a two-day e-commerce job. It was a frantic return to the country, to say the least!
In the first week, I worked with three young couples to realise their proposals here in Seoul. The first was with Marco and Tatiana at Seoul forest in the early morning. Being that it was a public holiday, we started very early and made the most of not only the gorgeous morning light, but the empty park before the crowds descended.
The very next day, Max and I planned his proposal at Cheonggyecheon in downtown Seoul. With this spot, there is really no avoiding the crowds, so we planned a contingency for every eventuality and discussed ways to ensure that they’d be the only ones on the (extremely popular) spot that he had chosen. Using WhatsApp’s location tracking and a few quick texts to each other, we were able to pull this off with only one random stranger showing up in the images as Max was about to put his knee on the ground.
Towards the end of the week, following the aforementioned e-commerce shoot, I planned and executed yet another proposal with Kyle, this time at the greenhouse in Changgyeonggung. His chosen spot is a hotbed for Seoul’s elderly flower enthusiasts to come with their cameras, so we needed to get there early in order to ensure we’d have a clear scene. Again, with real-time communication and a little persuasion of some early visitors on my part, we managed to make it happen for him.
Following this, I headed down to Jeju Island twice for another couple of proposals. Luuk had a very tight window for his proposal, so we ended up at Jeongbang Falls in the early morning. This place gets extremely crowded, but with a little patience and procrastination, we were able to have a clear scene for the couple. As we’ll see in the next installment of this year-in-review series, the afternoon here can be much prettier in terms of light, but the crowds get quite intense.
My final proposal for the month was with Joel and Nico. This was also down on Jeju Island but in a much more private area. The full story surrounding this one is quite interesting, so I do recommend checking out that blog. For now, here are a couple of highlights.
For a final couple session of the month, I had an hour with Veronica and Alvin. This time, both knew it was going to happen and there was no proposal involved. So, we met up early at Changdeokgung and got some beautiful light on one of the clearest days I’ve seen in Seoul for a long time. Look out for this blog in the new year as well!
September is usually busy for family photography, but this year I had only one session for the month. Young Thomas was a nervous little guy around strangers, but we still came away with some beautiful moments of him and his parents.
Between all of these sessions, myself and my colleague Roy Cruz spent two days photographing shoes and apparel for Foot Locker’s online presence here in Korea. This is a fun job that gives us a welcome break from our usual work of directing people and working with available light. We’re able to concentrate solely on making simple light that shows off the product on a pure white background.
Somehow, in amongst all of this, I managed to get out and make a few images of Korea in between sessions. So, to wrap up this third blog, here are a few of my favourites. See you in the next blog for the busiest section of the year! Thanks again for reading. Don’t forget to follow along on Facebook and Instagram.