Welcome to the third blog in my Year in Review series for 2023. This section takes us through the dramatic weather of summer and into the calmer month of September when autumn starts to show its hand. Despite the heat, summer offers beautiful greens that we don’t get at any other time of year and the beginning of autumn can be equally as beautiful as when all the leaves change (but it lasts a lot longer!).
July – Family, Event, Proposal, and eCommerce Photography
My first shoot in the heat of July was a sunrise shoot in Olympic Park for Arron’s proposal to Keerthana. This pagoda is a hot spot for the elderly getting out for a morning walk, so we made sure to get there early so we’d have a clear space. Arron asked me to organise a violinist to play a song as they arrived and it really made the morning. More to come in the full blog of this session.
Then, of course, another shoot for Foot Locker Korea. This time, Yohan brought the goods and helped us to make yet another shoot flawless. Scouting the studio for interesting props, we wrapped up the shoot with yet another fun team photo.
Tyler’s proposal to Natalie was my next shoot. We settled on the beautifully understated Unhyeongung for this one. The simplicity of this palace is what really makes it stand out amongst the others. It made a great backdrop for an emotion-filled proposal.
Shortly after, I took a trip out to Gangwondo with TEAMAX ADVENTURE and the Gangwondo government to test-ride their newly designated bike routes. While not a WelkinLight Photography venture, it was a truly spectacular ride that allowed us to explore areas of Korea we don’t normally see. I wholeheartedly recommend it if you have the time, legs, and, preferably, a camera with you!
Back in Seoul, I met up with Jules and her family for a wild morning of family portraits. Four young children at a family photo shoot makes for a busy time keeping track of all the personalities, but we came away with some great shots and had a lot of fun.
Straight after that session, I hopped down to Jeju Island for another proposal. This time, it was Yong and Tasha. The weather was touch-and-go as it tends to be in summer, but we ended up with a dramatic sky that looked fantastic no matter how it was photographed. Below the proposal here, you can see another way of treating this scene. Even when the sky looks a little threatening, we can always use the camera to give it a softer feeling that works better for a proposal.
After catching the last flight back to Seoul, I managed a couple of hours sleep before heading out on a four-day nation-wide adventure with Veterans Affairs Canada for their participation in the Korean War revisit program. This involved a morning in the baking sun at the Canadian Monument in Gapyeong, a cooler time visiting the War Memorial in Seoul, a visit to the UN Peace Memorial Hall, another baking morning at the UNMCK on the hottest day of the year, along with several other activities. It was quite a packed week!
August – Event, eCommerce, and Proposal Photography
The first couple of weeks of August, as per usual, were quite empty as Korean businesses tend to have their summer holidays around this time and everything slows down. But, we got a surprise call from Foot Locker asking if we could make a last-minute shoot happen that kicked us into high gear. Luckily, this lull in an otherwise busy year allowed us to make it happen. Thanks to our MUA, Gene, for this month’s team shot concept. This was a super busy shoot as we’d lost one member of the team to summer holidays.
After a typhoon warning and a couple of days locked inside because of pouring rain, I jumped on another flight down to Jeju for Shulong’s proposal. This time, we convened at the Secret Forest and made use of one of their lovely avenues of trees. The sun was poking in and out of the clouds for the whole shoot, but as you can see from the last frame here, the rain was on its way again. Summer is our wettest and most humid time, but it brings with it the deep greens you see here.
After a couple of days back in Seoul to cover some additional government events, I flew back down to Jeju. This time, Mike wanted to propose along the coast at Hamdeok Beach. His schedule meant that we’d only have a few minutes to shoot, but the scene really came to life with a beautiful summer sunset after some rain the day before. We rushed around in the last 20 minutes of light the day had to offer and came away with some beautiful moments to celebrate this day.
Then, it was back up to Seoul for a couple more events. The first was the Tuv Sud Sustainable Business Forum, which was thankfully held inside. The rain was quite intense that day! Of course, the moment the event was over, the rain stopped and we got a stunning sunset! My second event to wrap up August was a wine tasting held by the South Australian Government in Seoul. Both the B2B and B2C sections were packed-out events that unfortunately had to be held inside because of, you guessed it, summer rains! Nonetheless, quality wines kept everyone’s spirits high!
September – Proposal, Event, Family, and Travel Photography
September is one of my favourite months of the year for photography. The heat of summer is beginning to leave and with that change comes beautiful light. My first shoot was no exception to this! I swung by Jeju Island again for Bryan’s proposal to Anita. We’d chosen Seopjikoji overlooking the ocean and while I was waiting for the couple to arrive, the sunrise kicked off in quite a spectacular fashion. As they walked into the scene, the soft early morning light from the cloud cover provided us with the perfect conditions for our shoot. As soon as the shoot was done, I drove myself back to the airport and flew to Seoul for a Foot Locker session in the afternoon.
It was around this point that I started checking real-estate value down on Jeju Island. Skipping back down there for Sean’s proposal felt a lot like going home! As I needed to scout a little for upcoming shoots, I decided to spend a couple of extra days before the proposal driving around the island to collect images for clients. But, being me, I also stopped by the coast for some gorgeous sunrise and sunset shots along with a portrait of a farmer. When it came time for the proposal, we had one of the clearest skies I’ve ever seen on Jeju. We could make out all the details on the island in the background and white puffy clouds gave a different feeling to a familiar scene.
Again, I took the last flight out that evening to get back to Seoul in time for the Always On Tour event at Signiel Seoul. This event was all about enterprise-level backup, which is a topic close to my heart as all the same principles apply to small businesses like mine. So, while I was photographing the event, I was also listening carefully to ensure that everything I am doing is in line with best practices. As a photographer, the most important thing I have is my clients’ images!
Back in Seoul, the first hints of seasonal change were coming through. The deep greens of summer were starting to be replaced with the first bronze tinges of autumn. This is when parks like Seoul Forest, Peace Park, or Olympic Park really begin to shine. My first session at Seoul Forest was with Jen and Daniel. As you can see, some of the leaves are beginning to yellow, giving a much more varied tone to the images over those shot in summer. Then, I headed over to Peace Park for Miguel’s proposal to Erin. We had a thin layer of clouds that day, which brought a softness to the light and really allowed the colours to stand out in the scenes we worked in.
By the time I went back to Seoul forest a few days later, the trees were really beginning to show their autumn hues. This fun session with Damien and his parents was one of my favourite family photo shoots of the year. The light, the weather, and the moments all came together and we were able to freely make images all around the park.
Before finishing up my shoots for September, it was time for one more trip down to Jeju Island. This time, another sunrise proposal at Seopjikoji, but a different location and a very different-looking scene. As you can see, over the course of three weeks, even Jeju has gone from deep summer greens to slightly yellow hues. These come to life in the gorgeous sunrise light at this time of year and I can’t recommend it enough if you’re planning to be in Korea around that time.
With that shoot done, I headed down to Hoi An with my wife for a short trip to meet up with my mother. We spent a week relaxing and enjoying the best that Vietnam has to offer. The people and food in Hoi An are some of my favourites anywhere in the world and it’s always a pleasure to get down there, even when we take the summer rains with us!
That brings us to the end of part three of this series. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride as much as I have. See you again next week for the final piece in the series. Happy New Year, everyone!