This is my collection of favourite photographs from the year.

A word…

2016, a year that made many wish super powers, time turners and other such time bending mechanics did indeed exist. World happenings aside, it was a good year for me photographically. I didn’t manage to quite hit the goal I had for year, but as I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking back on my year, I can see how portfolio has strengthened, how I’ve learnt and how my technique and style have been shaped.


Quickly, I ended the last year by purchasing the 58 1.4G, and finding it’s subsequent awesomeness to relegate my trusty 85 1.8G to the bench. The 58 was worth every penny, and I’m in love with it. And so my 85 was cashed in for the 24 1.8G, a light little beauty. I’d been hankering for something wider than my 35 Art for a while, especially when I was home in Cape Town with it’s breath taking landscapes. I also introduced metal and glass sliders to induce flare to my work, as well as a convex lens. They joined my prism and freelens. I also bought an F100 and shot Portra and Ektar throughout the summer, and ended this year by getting the Lomo’ Instant Automat instax camera. Yeah….that aforementioned goal I had, that I didn’t quite make? It was to not spend any money on camera gear. So I kinda failed.


I used multiple exposures more, used my lights more in the studio, focused A LOT on colouring, and spent a lot more time in prep for shoots. With the couples I shot this year, I walked those areas a week before the shoots with the them, looking at the light. It was one of the best exercises I did this year. The other was studying the lights, and not shooting. The 3 months I spent in Cape Town had me so captivated by the light. After living and working in Korea for 6 years, having the freedom at any time of the day, in a city as full of gorgeous light as Cape Town, helped me to a bunch.

And so the pictures…in no particular order

Mal & Riaan
I’ve known Mallory ever since she landed in Korea. Shooting her one year pics with her boyfriend Riaan (an solid guy, if there ever was one) was pretty fun. Mallory has been one those people who has encouraged me a lot with my photography. From our days in Paju, when 90% of the work was for the school, to the days when I started branching out into studios, models, couples and everything else, Mal is one of a bunch of friends who has also encouraged me to keep going. Having friends like Mallory (and I know it’s a crime not to mention the rest of them) is a blessing I’m very grateful to have in my life. The rest can be found here.

Seoul Photographer Tim Van Der Merwe

Skin Full of Seoul
Katherine has a rapidly growing K-beauty orientated instagram and blog. If you’re into that, you should definitely check her feed out. In my conversations with her on the day of the shoot, I was struck by how seriously she took her review process, taking care to let her audience know when she was being comped something. I respect that. I love this image because it’s a full reflection. I do love prisms. This image was part of a series for UK based beauty journal Beauty East. You can see the rest of the images here.

I did some work for Ivory and her friends. You can read about it here. I adore this photo for a few reasons, but mostly because it’s because Ivory has been a constant in my photographs for the last 2 1/2 years now. Considering the amount of time we spend together, the amount of adventures we’ve been on, and just the sheer numbers of my photos that she’s been in this year alone, a photo from the southern tip of Africa, on the edge of the ocean seems a fitting tribute to it.

Robyn & Gareth
I missed their wedding. I’m that friend. To be honest, I did try make it home, but Ebola outbreaks and Korea having the outlook it does on the outside world kinda prevented that. But I did make it home this year, and I did have the privilege to take pictures for them. Robs and I used to write songs, lead music teams, and have known each other since we were 3. Gareth I’ve known since I was 12. They’ve been dating since I was 16. Yeah, they’re that cute couple. Adored by everyone.

Tim Van Der Merwe Photography

Afternoon dreaming
Kirstie approached me with the concept for this shoot back in January, but circumstances meant we had to delay until August. It was my second time working with her. I asked her what she wanted from the pictures, and she told me to “make her look hot.” So we did.

Seoul | Tim Van Der Merwe Photography | Town

I’d been wanting to go to Gyeongju for the longest time. I posted WAAAAAY too many pictures from my trip there on the blog. I thought about going back and slimming them down, but no. What’s done is done. Gyeongju is probably my favorite city in Korea, because it feels authentic and old. And Bulguksa, along with Seokgoram, and two crown jewels in Korea’s buddhist history. I love this shot because, against all sense and reason, I made a sunstar out of the 11am sun. Yeah, madness. People knock the D750 for it’s flaws, but it remains a beast I’m proud to partner with.

Seoul Photographer

Rock stars
I’ve seen these guys play a few times now, over the last few years. I took picture of their concert in early 2014, and I wanted to do so again. They have a great energy onstage. It’s one of those aspects of a performance that I find can be completely tricky to capture. So I went into this with one lens (my 35 ART), and my prism. The pictures came out exactly as I’d hope they would.

Take a classy English girl, in the middle of winter, add in a healthy dose of vanity, a touch of American Apparel, and you have this image, and these others. Charlotte’s not going to be apologise for taking your attention. It’s exactly how she wants it.

Kalk Bay
One of my two favourite images of the year. My parents live just around the corner from Kalk Bay in Fish Hoek. I went for a sunday walk, with my camera. It was one of the clearest days I’ve ever seen in Cape Town. As I walked along the harbour wall, a pod of dolphins even swam by. I went walking down one of the middle piers, and this scene came into view. It summed up my whole morning, the atmosphere and my feelings. It now hangs in my parents living room.

My other favourite image of the year. It was 5h30 pm, the sun was starting it’s descent, and I walked over the train tracks to sit on the edge of the rocks, by the ocean. The waves washed in and out. The spray was everywhere. And I was at peace.

I freelensed this. I took a bunch of pictures, aiming to deliver images that would be unlike anything the wedding hall photographer was going to deliver. It was the only lens I packed in. And lets face it, the wedding hall photog thought I was nuts. Until he saw this picture.

Twenty Sixteen – A Collection
TVDM • KR X CT | Circ. 2016

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.