10/12/2015 – Paju, South Korea

Continuing on from the piece I wrote last week, here is part 2 of my favourite images of the year.

08 – Autumn (Paju-si, South Korea / October ’15)

Autumn had begun by this point, and the green rice paddies of the summer were now the yellow rice paddies of the harvest season. I like this shot a lot just because it was completely different from every other autumn picture I saw. Watching autumn happen through the lenses of other photographers is always awesome, and some beautiful imagery was captured this season, particularly the work of Nathaniel Merz and John Steele.  But I liked my photo, because it was different.

This was another of my pictures that was a featured photo in “Photographers in Korea”. This image is freelensed, using a 50mm f1.8 after I had removed the mount and aperture ring, and taped the focus ring to infinite.



09 – Going Home (Gyoha-Dong, South Korea / October ’15)

I have a cautious relationship with street photography. I love looking at it, but dislike taking it. This largely stems from the fact that I believe people’s image rights should be protected. But this shoot was not about what was happening on the street, and more about the lights.

The lights. The thing that took me aback the most about Korea, when I arrived here a few years ago, was how many lights there were. On every building, shining, blinking, there they were.


10 – Above (Unjeong-Dong, South Korea / November ’15)

Korea is littered with high rise apartment blocks. They are everywhere. And they rise above everything, except for Korea’s gorgeous mountains.

Note: After reading in numerous places that the best thing to do is underexpose and image to capture all the dynamic range, I did that. This picture was black coming out of the camera.


11 – Candid (Paju-si, South Korea / October ’15)

Adam and I had done a portrait session earlier in the year, and Adam had mentioned that his girlfriend was coming to visit. I’d said to him to contact me if he wanted to grab some snaps with her. When we initially talked about it, we were thinking of sunset, gorgeous autumn colors and warm weather.

We weren’t thinking of 19h30, in the dark, in a park. Mother Nature had decided that sunset was to be far too early for us to be able to work with. Luckily, I had run some test shots before with Ivory in a nearby park, so that’s where we headed.

This is my favourite image that we took that night, because of the naturalness of what was happening in front of the camera. My lighting worked out as well, and I was happy that my “alternative” couple photo came together. This could easily have been an awful, missed and useless shot. But it came out as I wanted it to.

Seoul Korea Photographer - Tim Van Der Merwe Photography

12 – Some, just want to live free (Noho Studio Seoul, South Korea / November ’15)

My favourite image of a portrait / lifestyle / friends shoot that I did with three lovely American girls in early November. I had been in contact with the girls about it for a while. They had reached out to me after seeing some other work that I had done, and we all settled on Noho Studio as the ideal place to shoot.

There were many wonderfully beautiful pictures that came together that session, but this was my favourite. I loved what free lensing did to the portrait. It added so much more power and mystery.


13 – Seoul (Seoul, South Korea / December ’15)

Perhaps my favourite picture taken all year. This picture has such a cinematic draw to it, such a powerful mood, that I can’t help by love it. It’s amazing to think that my favourite picture was taken with my cheapest lens, my broken 50mm 1.8. Money definitely isn’t everything.

This was taken in a chicken restaurant, while we waited for our beer, just before we went to watch the new 007 movie (not such a fan of it). “Date a photographer, and even date night’s will look like something special” was the slogan my girlfriend read on a local photo studio’s recent ad campaign.


14 – Kirstie (Nemo Studio Hongdae / December ’15)

My last shoot for the year, and a favorite because it was it wrapped a good year in photography. Many of the techniques that I had been learning about posing, lighting, editing and general technique came together in this shoot. Kirstie, a model from the U.S. pulled off some great work, and considering that we didn’t have a lot of time to plan things, it all came together very nicely.

Seoul Portrait Photographer #10 | Tim Van Der Merwe Photography

About Seoul photographer Tim Van Der Merwe

Seoul photographer Tim Van Der Merwe services Seoul and her greater area, with a primary focus on portraiture, couple and pre-wedding photography. His photographic style is inherently influenced by photo-journalism, with a love of genuine emotion and untouched, moments of humanity and expression. The aesthetics of his photographs are informed from years as a musician, a love of the ocean, an appreciation for a wabi-sabi outlook on life, and a love of strong colouring. If you are looking for a Seoul photographer, you can view his portfolio here, view his recent work here, or get in contact with him here.