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Changgyeong Palace & Han River Engagement | Monica & Lehsung

 

Changgyeong Palace & Han River Engagement | Monica & Lehsung

Changgyeonggung Seoul: If you can book your engagement and wedding session with the same photographer, I highly recommend it. Spending a half day with Monica and Lehsung a month before their wedding really gave us a chance to get to know one another. The nearly-weds got a good feel for how I worked and we were able to talk over the details of their wedding and how they wanted it covered while cooling and refueling between shooting locations. Speaking of locations, lets talk about choosing locations in a little more detail because it really is the hardest part.

Choosing an Engagement Location in Seoul

Seoul has so many great backdrops it makes choosing a spot for an engagement, wedding or any photo shoot for that matter a challenge. First, consider the length of your photo session and how many locations can comfortably fit into it. My rule of thumb is 90 minutes per location. (Just to be clear, a “new location” for me is defined as fifty meters past the furthest point BOTH of you would be willing to walk in high heels) The 90 minutes per location rule allows 50 minutes for photos, and 30-40 minutes for travel which in Seoul seems to be the amount of time required to get ANYWHERE – be it five blocks down the road or the opposite end of the city… strange I know, I can’t explain it either.

Once you know how many locations will fit comfortably into your session narrow them down by category. Do you want urban, traditional or natural? From here it’s worth sharing your top choices with me, your photographer. There’s a good chance I’ve been to the selected locations and can offer my insights as to how they will work photographically speaking. I can also suggest how sequence the locations to get the best light, avoid the crowds and flow from point A to point B smoothly. This is exactly how I helped Monica and Lehsung as can be seen in our email excerpts below:

M&L: We have listed some places we thought could be good below.
Changgyeong Palace – (Tickets until 5:30pm, open until 6:30pm) There are many trees(nature) here alongside with the traditional palace buildings and little more modern looking building (like the botanic garden). We thought this place has all the elements we would like in the pictures but it will close a bit early.
Samcheonggak – This was one of the places we thought about as the wedding venue. Similar to Changgyeong Palace (but much smaller) with some trees and traditional looking buildings. It is higher up in the mountain, so has a good view.
Samcheong-dong  – As you mentioned, around Samcheong dong area is good too. If possible, we would like to have more modern feelings in Samcheong-dong mixed with the traditional Korea scenes from the places above.
Hangang River – As you mentioned, Han River shortly after the sunset would be great as well!

Greg: That’s really interesting that you mentioned Changgyeong as I’ve been wanting to photograph there for some time. My colleague told me it was much more quite and relaxed palace to visit. I spent a while researching all the areas you suggested this afternoon. Our two hour time frame is definitely too short to fit all four locations in but we can definitely do two. Based on my research I’d prioritize Changgyeong and Samcheongdong. As nice as Samcheonggak looks it just doesn’t offer the same variety that Changgyeong has. Furthermore it looks like we loose the great light sooner on the mountain than down in the city. Changgyeong is also close to Samcheongdong so we won’t have to spend a lot of time commuting. The Han River is quite far from our main shooting area. Let’s see how we all feel (you’ll have had a long day by now), how my baby sitter and daughter are, and how the traffic is. If everyone is good for it I’ll happily throw in another hour so we can go and shoot a sunset down by the river.

This post is getting lengthy, perhaps even intimidatingly long for some so let me wrap up by saying the engagement session with Monica and Lehsung was superb. There were a few little plan changes on the fly. I booked Monica a hair appointment in Myeongdong and had my favorite Seoul makeup artist Natasha Che show up and work her magic. Everyone was ready a little ahead of schedule, yes EARLY, so I suggested Monica and Lehsung meet me at a cool cafe I had discovered with some irresistible light to familiarize them with how I work and grab a few photos!.

From the cafe we hit Changyeonggung which was both calm and beautiful in the late afternoon light. We ended up having a lot of fun with the fallen fruits we found lying around there. When we were all done at the palace Monica and Lehsung made the executive decision to swap Samcheongdong out for the Han River. It had some pretty serious significance for the them:

“It was the last day before I was going back to the US in January. We were already wedding planning, but Lehsung knew that I wanted a formal proposal. He made a reservation at a French restaurant, and then after dinner we went to the Han River. I had lived near the Han River in college and had walked there many times. When I visited Seoul the year before I really wanted to bring Lehsung there and said that when I was in college I walked it alone and hoped one day to be able to walk there with my boyfriend. Lehsung remembered this and brought me there. After walking for a bit he brought me to a pier and proposed. He mentioned that comment I had made the year before and said that while our paths had been apart for many years, we would walk our paths together going forward.”

And with that I leave you to view the gallery. Don’t forget to check out their wedding photos after!

Changgyeong Palace & Han River Engagement | Monica & Lehsung

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Engagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & Ross

Engagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & Ross

“Hello! My brother and his fiancée will be visiting Seoul in June and are looking to have their engagement photos taken around the city. They are both excited about their visit – Clair is Korean American and has introduced Ross to so many aspects of Korean culture, particularly food, so it’d be great to have their surroundings reflect that. A temple or palace backdrop, a food market like Gwangjang Market, cafe scene, subway station chaos…”

-Ashley Chan

Of course I was elated when I got this email, I contacted Ashley immediately and let her know that I had always wanted to do a shoot in a traditional Korean market at at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP). As I’ve mentioned in many of my previous blog posts, there’s nothing I like more than weaving a couple’s back story and locations of significance into an engagement shoot.

Ashley, the thoughtful sister gifting this engagement photo session to her brother Ross and his fiancée Clair, CC’d them in once the planning commenced.  The trio wanted to get in photos at Gwajang Market, DDP, Cheonggyecheon Stream and Changdeokgung however I advised against trying to cram too many locations into our two hour session. Getting ANYWHERE in Seoul takes a minimum of 20 minutes. Four locations would mean spending over half of our shooting time in transit. Changdeokgung posed a challenge due to it’s early closing time. I proposed that we start with the covered traditional market while it was still hot and bright out, then move to the DDP for the best light of the day and up to Seoul City Wall (our Changdeokgung alternative) which was stones throw away for sunset. Everyone liked the plan.

Clair, Ross, Ashley and I met near Gwajang Market. It was awesome having Ashley around to assist on the photo shoot. She also shot some cool behind the scenes stuff on her phone. Clair and Ross were a blast to hang out with. Talk about a photographers dream, they did exactly as I suggested a went full on fun and flirtatious for our shoot. Clair had a knack for knowing when to bend her leg, flick her hair and give Ross a peck on the cheek while I was shooting.

The pictures are coming up next but just before that here’s a little back story on our couple:

“Clair: Ross and I both met in college. We met at a bar where his fraternity was throwing a party. We became friends from there. We took classes together and hung out more. We just clicked from the start. I love his smile and laughter. He knows what he wants and is very driven. He is very friendly and can spark up any conversations. He is intelligent, charismatic, and of course very handsome. He’s thoughtful and caring.

Ross: Clair brings happiness and joy into the room every time she walks in. She is kind and always thinking of others. She has a lot of perseverance whenever the times get tough and I know that I can always count on her. She is gorgeous. She makes me the happiest person ever.”

Engagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & RossEngagement Photos at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Gwajang Market & Seoul City Wall | Clair & Ross

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Post Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement Photographer

Post Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement Photographer

Deoksugung Palace, Seoul Korea: I appreciate routine in many parts of my life. Photography is not one of them. Of course it makes perfect sense couples wanting engagement photos in Korea actually want to actually SEE elements of this country in their images. I mean why come all the way here, then shoot a set of photos in bushy area that could just as well have been taken in a park back home. Just because I’m Gyungbokgung Palace’s most frequent visitor doesn’t make it any less exciting for a couple visiting Korea for their first time. I learned one must strike a balance between fulfilling a couple’s needs whilst still feeding my own desire for adventure and inspiration. I figured out how to achieve this balance with Hieu and Nam.

It may seem simple in retrospect but all it took was a slight change of venue. I’d never been to Deoksugung, a palace which lies in the heart of Seoul right across from city hall. Hieu booked my “Variety” package so with the 4 hours of shooting time it afforded us we were able to leisurely explore the palace then head to Samcheongdong for a drink, snack, wardrobe change and a few more images. It was balanced bled of iconic Korean scenery, fused with nature and a little urban style.

I picked Hieu and Nam up at a great salon in Myeongdong where I had arranged hair and Makeup by Tessa Jeon. It was the first time Tessa and I worked together and it definitely won’t be the last as she did a great job. Hieu and Nam met in high school and while they each followed their own paths through life their paths never diverged too far. Eventually they eloped and it was my job to makeup for some of those photos that were never taken. (I’m on a two for two elopement streak it would seem, check out Robin and Luke’s Post Elopement) Hieu described Nam as joker but also as her source of stability, the one who cares for and protects her. I feel this photo shoot conveys that message

Post Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement PhotographerPost Elopement With Hieu and Nam | Deoksugung Engagement Photographer

 

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