Would you be surprised if I told you Korea is probably the most diverse and picturesque cities for taking pictures in the world? I wouldn’t have believed this myself four years ago, but after doing hundreds and hundreds of pre-wedding and engagements shoots in Korea, it’s a statement I can confidently make and firmly believe in! If you’re considering getting your pre-wedding pictures done in Korea, the studios are amazing, but why miss capturing the true beauty of Korea by only shooting indoors?
It’s difficult to find a city in the world that has so much to offer in terms of pictures. It’s for this reason Korea has become one of the major hotspots for pre-wedding and engagement pictures. So what makes Korea such a great destination for pre-wedding pictures? Let’s first begin with the different types of settings available.
CULTURAL / TRADITIONAL SCENERY
The most well-known cultural spots in Korea are at the Korean palaces. The biggest, most well-known palace is Gyeongbokgung Palace. It has the grandest architecture out of all the palaces due to it’s huge structures and massive courtyard areas. Even on a busy day, you can find pictures spots that are completely empty. The next popular palace is Changdeokgung Palace. This palace is most known for it’s “Secret Garden” which requires booking a tour. Unfortunately, this also means you can’t take pre-wedding / engagement pictures in that area. Then you have the smaller palaces such as Changgyeonggung Palace and Deoksugung Palace. If you like vibrant colors and want the traditional background in your pictures, the palace is a great spot. However, it’s important to note that they do not allow formal shoots there. If you are wearing casual outfits, it shouldn’t be a problem. If you plan to wear formal pre-wedding attire, it will definitely require prior approval. You might be able to get away with wearing a hanbok, but you would have to make sure it’s a small group without too much professional-looking photo gear.
A hanok is a traditional Korean house. Its main difference from the Korean palaces is the neutral colors. While the Korean palaces have vibrant colors with red, green, and orange, hanoks are mostly white, black, and gray. The most well known hanok area in Korea is Bukchon which is also next to the famous area in Korea called Samcheongdong. There is a famous street in Bukchon with hanoks lined on each side with a clear view of the city of Seoul in the background. Here are some pictures taken on this street.
Unfortunately, this area has become so popular that it’s pretty much impossible to visit this area when it’s not crowded…and when it’s crowded, it can be quite difficult to take pictures. One way to avoid the crowds it to go there for a night shot. Similar to the pictures below (got really lucky – some would say unlucky – and went on a night when there was rain one time with a couple).
Alternatively, you can also find side streets in Bukchon that aren’t as crowded as the main street. These were taken in other side streets.
Although I liked Bukchon initially, I do prefer avoiding this area these days due to the crowds. I think a better alternative is Namsangol which is a hanok village that is less crowded. A major plus is you can also see Namsan Tower in the background. All the pictures below were taken there. It’s also open until 9pm which means you can also capture some amazing night shots!
When people think of Seoul, it’s easy to think of technology and modernization – a major, bustling city. For people that live in Korea or have visited multiple times, they know that it is an absolute haven of parks and nature. Just a few minutes outside of the bustle of the city, you can find major parks in different locations. Some of the most well known parks are Sunyoudo Park (pretty much like an island on it’s own), Olympic Park, Dream Forest, Seoul Forest, and Haneul (Sky) Park. Most people just think of Nami Island, but I actually think shooting in Seoul gives you much better picture options in a short amount of time. You can definitely capture some amazing outdoor pre-wedding and engagement photos in nature in Korea! Here are some shots captured in various spots in Seoul.
If you’re interested in visiting Korea during a specific season, make sure to check out my galleries for each season:
Seoul is a city that never sleeps. In fact, some businesses don’t even open until night time! When I first began photography, I only thought of the typical locations to do engagement pictures. The first time my client suggest Myeongdong for a pre-wedding shoot, I was extremely skeptical. However, it ended up being one of my favorite sessions and resulted in many more people contacting me for similar shoots. It can be tough to manage the crazy crowds in Myeongdong, but that’s also the beauty of shooting in one of the busiest shopping areas in Korea. There’s something stunning about shooting in middle of a crowd of people, yet creating a feeling of intimacy between two people in the crowd. Below are some of these fine moments captured over the years.
Another one of my favorites spots at night is the Han River. You can get amazing pictures next to Han River capturing the water, bridge, skyline, and city lights at night!
A trickier spot is the DDP. You should be ok getting away with a casual shoot, but anything that looks too formal and you could get kicked out. I did a concept shoot at night that turned out amazing, but also took three times longer than expected due to being kicked out over and over again!
You can also find any random street in Korea and get some cool crosswalk shots. It can take multiple takes, but the resulting picture is well worth it. And there’s something exciting about running back and forth in middle of the street before the light turns green!
If you’re into cute graffiti, Ihwa Mural Valley could be a good choice to get some fun, casual engagement photos. Unfortunately, it’s become such a popular area that some of the residents complained and they had to remove some of the most popular pieces of art.
This isn’t really an outdoor location, but I’ve included it because it’s not a formal indoor shooting location. If you love cafes, you have an endless supply in Korea. The best part is the diversity of the cafes. You can find some really unique cafes with different themes. Cafes are generally ok about taking engagement or pre-wedding photos inside, but certain tourist areas (such as Samcheongdong) are becoming quite strict about allowing photography. While some cafes have a strict “no photography” policy, you should still be able to find some cafes that are friendly enough to allow it.
FUN & UNIQUE
If you want to do an engagement or pre-wedding shoot that captures more than just the typical couple portraits, you can incorporate activities or props that bring out different aspects of your relationship or hobbies. Engagement pictures riding bikes by the Han River always turn out great. Eating various foods at a Korean night market such as Gwangjang Market can be exciting and very different. Of course you can also bring your own food items and create your own mini picnic somewhere. Balloons are a popular prop, but can be difficult to manage due to the wind (always takes much longer than expected). Check the pictures below to see some samples of what’s possible.
I’m sure after seeing all the options in Korea, you would agree that Korea is an amazing pre-wedding and engagement picture destination! The next step is to contact me and start planning for your outdoor session in Seoul.