• Seoul photographer Greg Samborski shoots it all -- commercial, event, engagement, wedding, portrait... Give him a mission, he will deliver.

Seoul Business Portrait Photographer

Yeouido South Korea: It’s rare I return home satisfied with my photos. They say that’s a good thing for artists, it’s what drives us to constantly improve. Today was a slightly different story. After my 30 minute business portrait session with Kim I knew, for the most part, I NAILED it.

Kim reached out to me by email looking to update his Linkedin profile photo ASAP. I explained my packages and pricing and less than three hours later we were booked! The plan was to travel to his office on Yeoido Island and spend 30 minutes of his lunch time making portraits.

I always ask my clients to share a current photo, explain why they aren’t happy with it and what sort of emotion/story they want their new portrait to convey. In Kim’s case, he wasn’t at all satisfied with the bland passport style photos his company had provided free of charge. He wanted something more natural, engaging and dynamic. He wanted his business portrait to look “smart, but not too serious”. Kim shared links to two Linkedin accounts with profile photos he liked.

My photo sessions typically start at two hours and I almost always end up going overtime. Kim was on a tight schedule and I needed to respect that. I spent an hour planning what poses we would try and visualized how I’d light the scene. From 12:00 to 12:30 I scouted the location for some good backdrops and had my wonderful assistant Erica VanHoosen stand in. At 12:40 we met Kim in the lobby and got cracking.

It was a good thing I scouted around his building because the meeting room Kim had reserved for our session was anything by dynamic. It featured the usual table, white walls and projector screen along with terrible florescent overhead lighting. The lounge was a little better so we grabbed a shot there, one in the hall, then headed out into the steam room also knows as Korea in July.

I had hoped we could shoot in air conditioned zones only but there was no choice, if we wanted the good stuff, we had to go outside. The shade offered us near perfect lighting and all the glass, reflections and layers gave us that modern, business-y feeling we were after. I coached Kim into some causal poses and had Erica reflect extra light onto his face to open up the shadows and create nice bright catch lights in his eyes. Once the formal stuff was out of the way we played around for the last 10 minutes.

Kim was awesome to work with. Having just arrived in Korea three weeks ago and being the “new guy” at his firm, he was a little nervous posing while his colleges wandered about on their lunch breaks. For this reason I tried to choose spots that were slightly out of view and always asked him if he felt comfortable in the locations and pose.

So why am I so satisfied with THIS session? I think it boils down to being very well prepared, having set out with a very clear vision of what I wanted to capture and actually capturing it. We kept the session short and simple. We got the important stuff done first and then played at the end. I also had a fast turnaround, within 24 hours the proofs were up in a private gallery for Kim to select. These I believe are some of the ingredients for a successful shot.

Do you need a new profile photo? Got 30 minutes? I’ll come to you, we will get a variety of looks and you’ll still have ample time for lunch! To setup a headshot use the “Contact” link above and let me know where you need me along with three dates and times that could work for you.

Seoul Business Portrait PhotographerSeoul Business Portrait PhotographerSeoul Business Portrait PhotographerSeoul Business Portrait PhotographerSeoul Business Portrait PhotographerSeoul Business Portrait PhotographerSeoul Business Portrait Photographer

 

Cornerstone Restaurant, Park Hyatt Seoul: Any day I get to take a photo is a good day.  The days I get paid to take photos it’s a bonus. And the days I get to photograph food, eat it and get paid are pretty much heaven!

Photographing the Italian Chamber of Commerce Italian Food Festival was my 2 hour visitors pass to heaven. Each of the 10 chefs in attendance this year cooked a dish representative of 10 of the 20 cooking regions of Italy.

My job over the course of the 2 hour event was to photograph the chefs, dishes, sponsors, speeches, atmosphere and attendees. Being event work, time was in short supply. I decided to photograph most of chefs in the glass entry area where there was more natural light but little wind. We then went outside to get a few closeups of the dishes. I put my new Genaray SpectroLED Essential 240 Bi-Color LED Lights to use. Powered off of a 6300 mha bettary they were able to add a nice rim/separation light to the chefs for that little bit of extra punch / depth. I also used them in the low lit areas of the restaurant to get better light on some of the foods. Over all I’m really happy with how it all turned out. Big thanks to my partner in crime, Dylan Goldby of WelkinLight Photography, who passed along this gig.

Looking for a food photographer to photograph your next menu? Contact me via the contact form above to discuss your project!

Proposal Photographer in Seoul Korea

Seoul Forest April 20th 2016: Everyone wants cherry blossoms in the spring. I mean really, who doesn’t want to propose, engage or pre-wed among those dreamy soft puffs of pink and white we’ve come to expect from those tear jerking Korean dramas. The reality is however, cheery blossoms are selfish beings and have no consideration for ANYONE’S schedule.

What are the odds of capturing the blossoms during your visit to Korea? If we’re lucky, we will get a 3 day window where blossoms are at their peek and tiny window can occur anywhere from the start to the end of April. If we’re even luckier, the weather will cooperate during this brief window. And if we believe in miracles, perhaps all 24 million inhabitants of the Seoul Capital Area will choose to stay home during one of the most highly anticipated events of the year – so that we can have a nice, peaceful unobstructed photo session.

A Typical Cherry Blossom Crowd in Korea

I explained all of the above to Nicole who would be visiting Korea from the Philippines to propose to the love of his life, Prax. I also mentioned that cherry blossoms were already on the verge of peeking and thus his April 20th proposal date would happen long after the last blossoms had fallen. Nicole agreed that we should find a new concept.

Nicole: Which place do you recommend? I did think about Namsan tower but I think its too cliche and too crowded, right?

Greg: Yes it’s really not a great location for shooing as it’s generally way too crowded. Sonyudo park is beautiful. Seoul forest is also said to be really nice.

Nicole: I want to propose in a park, somewhere serene and peaceful. I’m thinking with a line of trees.

And with that tidbit of information I got to work on finding nice lines of trees and discovered they could be found at Seoul Forest.

This was going to be a Paparazzi proposals, meaning Prax would have no idea I was hiding in the bushes to capture it all. Paparazzi proposals  require much more planning than engagement shoots. It’s akin to a live performance by a band, or giving a speech your job depends on to a large group of coworkers. There is NO room for error. Every detail must be thought out so that when that brief 30 second event happens, when he goes down on that knee, shows you the ring and you embrace each other – you get photos that captured the setting, expressions and emotions. The lighting, background, time of day and positioning of your bodies have all been taken into consideration to make for the most romantic experience and allow us to create something beyond snapshots, to allow us to create ART!

Proposal Photographer in Seoul Korea

Clockwise: A. My beautiful drawings depicting our places. B. The path I traveled scouting Seoul Forrest with my six-year-old daughter. The numbers represent images taken in those areas. C. Choosing the best time of day for session.

For the most part things with Nicole and Prax went according to pan.  Nicole and I stayed in contact via whatsapp on the morning of. He had planned a visit to Seoul Park into the itinerary with Prax.  The couple travel at quite a leisurely pace video blogging their journeys and posting them up on their youtube channel. Thus Nicole couldn’t rush Prax whom was taking her sweet time to get ready, then eat, drink and photograph along the way. Had he pushed her it would have been a clear indication that something was up. By the time the couple got the our designated proposal spot we were almost two hours behind schedule! I always factor in about an hour leeway on each side for this exact reason but I started stressing a little this time because I had an event to cover in the afternoon!

Finally Nicole and Prax arrived the proposal that unfolded in front of me was absolutely beautiful. Prax lit up so bright, she was all smiles, hugs and kisses. I never grow tired of watching this fireworks display of emotions. Even though I had to get to my event I couldn’t just go without getting a least few posed shots. We did a lighting fast photo session in the area and then said our goodbyes. I wish we could have hung out longer. Instead I will have to visit them in the Philippines!

Enjoy the photos!

 

Proposal Photographer in Seoul Korea

Proposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul KoreaProposal Photographer in Seoul Korea

Sit down, put on some tunes, grab some wine and start proofing!

Sit down, put on some tunes, grab some wine and start proofing!

So your photographer sent you some “proofs”. What does that even mean and what should you do next? Here’s a quick guide with some advice well worth reading before you go about selecting your photos. Let’s get started!

 

proof |pro͞of| – Dictionary Definition

a trial photographic print made for initial selection.

Proof – Greg’s Definition

“Proofs” are a batch of images that are typically:

  • unedited ~ the main purpose of proofing is to determine which images are desirable and should be prioritized for editing
  • small in size ~ 800 pixels on the long edge
  • low in resolution ~ they will look OKAY on your monitor at 100% size but pixelated when zoomed into or printed
  • watermarked ~ usually with the photographers name or logo

Small, low resolution files are created for three reasons:

  • to save space
  • to increase upload, download and viewing speeds
  • to deter unlawful usage of images

Watermarks are applied:

  • to deter unlawful usage and distribution of images
  • to identify any images that were unlawfully used
  • to brand an image / like an artists signature

Proofing – An Analogy by Greg

I love analogies. Here’s the best one I have for proofing… thus far. Think of a proof like a raw steak in your local supermarket meat section. You ALWAYS want to select the best cut to begin with. BUT, keep in mind steak can be prepared many ways and even if you like it raw, it is often significantly better once seasoned, seared, plated and paired with a nice red.

014-Raw-Steak

Proofing – Give it 3 Rounds

Round 1: Start with emotion. Don’t focus on technical elements such as lighting, colors, background elements etc, those can all be changed (see below) rather ask yourself if that photo made you feel something in the first few seconds. If it’s hard for you to decide than it probably didn’t. The impulse to select a photo should be a gut reaction. Don’t limit your selections your first time around. You might end up selecting everything – that’s fine.

Round 2: By now you have already seen all the images so it should be easier to discard images that are visually similar. You don’t need three slightly different facial expressions in what is otherwise three identical shots. You may also choose to discard entire segments of the photos session. Maybe those 5 shots in the bamboo just don’t fit with the rest of the story.

Round 3: Okay, round 3 is tough! You need to be relentless an KEEP CUTTING! Remember LESS IS MORE! If  you really can’t decide, you can always purchase the extras 🙂

Korea Event Photographer Peroni Promotion

Proofing – Things to Keep in Mind

As mentioned above, it’s important to start with an emotional mindset, not a technical one when proofing. In this day and age we photographers have more ability than ever to change the way a photo looks but even for us there are limitations. Keep these things in mind when making your selections.

  • EASY TO CHANGE
    • cropping/composition
    • exposure/brightness
    • contrast
    • color
    • small blemishes, scars, wrinkles, wardrobe malfunctions
Cropping can bring the subject into focus and eliminate distractions. Notice just how drastically you can crop, about 70%) and still maintain a crisp looking image. Cropping any further could lead to pixelated looking images.

Cropping can bring the subject into focus and eliminate distractions. Notice just how drastically you can crop, about 70%) and still maintain a crisp looking image. Cropping any further could lead to pixelated looking images.

Notice how we can recover a very over exposed/bright image.

Notice how we can recover a very over exposed/bright image.

We can also recover under exposed/dark images. Note I also cropped in to make our subjects a little larger and improve the composition.

We can also recover under exposed/dark images. Note I also cropped in to make our subjects a little larger and improve the composition.

Cloudy days cast a very even light which can make images look a little washed out or faded. Contrast can be added a number of different ways quite easily in Lightroom.

Cloudy days cast a very even light which can make images look a little washed out or faded. Contrast can be added a number of different ways quite easily in Lightroom.

Images can be "cooled down" or "warmed up" in seconds so don

Images can be “cooled down” or “warmed up” in seconds so don’t despair if your skin looks too blue/orange.

Colours can easily be desaturated, enhanced or even changed in Lightroom. Not that the colors need to be fairly similar in tone to get a natural look. You can

Colors can easily be desaturated, enhanced or even changed in Lightroom. Not that the colors need to be fairly similar in tone to get a natural look. You can’t turn black to pink, for that more extensive editing is needed.

  • HARDER BUT POSSIBLE TO CHANGE *
    • facial expressions – IF there in another photo in the same sequence/set with a better expression
    • backgrounds and distracting elements
    • *These changes often require work in Photoshop ranging anywhere from 3-30 minutes per image
Doh! We missed dad

Doh! We missed dad’s great smile in the first shot! He’s looking at the camera in frame 1 but in frame 2 tiny Ted is looking away. There’s a trick we can use called “face/head swapping”. It works here because our lighting, angle and most elements in the frame are identical. Dad’s body is stationary enough in both frames that we can take his head in frame 2 and place it on his body in frame 1 in photoshop. You could also switch Tiny Ted’s head from frame 1 to frame 2 but that’s a much more difficult edit as the background behind Ted’s head (mom’s hair and clothes) is much more complex than the blue wall. Ted’s arm has also moved which could affect body position alignment. As you see for head switching the photos should be nearly identical in every other way.

No one would know even know a head/face transplant had occurred!

No one would know even know a head/face transplant had occurred!

See that distracting yellow licence plate in the background. We can remove that! You could also remove the whole car but it would go from a 2 minute quick fix to a 10-15 minute photoshop mission.

See that distracting yellow licence plate in the background. We can remove that! You could also remove the whole car but it would go from a 2 minute quick fix to a 10-15 minute photoshop mission.

 

  • IMPOSSIBLE TO CHANGE
    • emotions/facial expressions that don’t fall into the category above
    • body parts that are hidden/cropped
    • out of focus areas to be sharp again

Get Going!

Okay, you are now a pro on proofing. Someone asks you “what does proofing mean?” and you be like, “Well imagine a proof is like a raw steak…”. Grab your partner, friend, family, get comfy, grab a drink, throw on some music and enjoy viewing and choosing your images together. Once you’ve finalized your selections let me know by email and I’ll edit and send them to you. One more thing, remember that you can leave a comment on every image so if there’s something you want changed, i.e. you want to swap faces, please give me a detailed description: “Please replace my head in this image with my head from image 132” or “Please crop police man cuffing my fiance out of the frame.”

Thank you and happy proofing!

China-Wedding-Photographer-Chinese-Wedding-135