Choosing a Photographer: Korean Wonpan/Snap Photography (Part 1)

It was so confusing as a Korean-American planning a Korean wedding to figure out these Korean brides. Hiring a great photographer was my #1 on my priority list, and Korean brides seemed so content in getting whatever photographer they were given in their wedding package.  I soon figured out the reasons and here is how I went about in hiring my own photographer.

Note: I don’t know if it’s because most Korean weddings are indoors, but Koreans prefer the more sepia tone over the bright clear photos of American photography.

Korea has two types of Photography for weddings: 판 촬영 (Wonpan Photography) and 스냅 촬영 (“Snap” Photography). Wonpan photography is the traditional Korean wedding photography, where family members and guests are gathered at the altar at end of the ceremony to take formal group pictures.  This has been done for generations and it’s become a must for Korean ceremonies. Most wedding venues come with a basic wonpan photographer included in the package. (in korean: 결혼식원판- 결혼식날 단상에서 주례 선생님, 신랑 신부, 양가 부모님, 전체 가족사진, 친구 및 직장 동료)  Here’s an example of one of family and one of friends/coworkers:

Snap Photography is same in concept as American wedding photography, where the photographer captures your whole wedding day. Most studio packages start ‘snapping’ pictures from makeup/ hair salon as the bride and groom get ready (in Korea, there are really no make-up/hairstylist that travel, brides go to the actual salon) all the way to 폐백 (Paebaek), a korean-style wedding done after the westernized ceremony. As I explained in my previous post, Korean ceremony and reception are usually done in one location. To add to that, Korean reception is not a place to “party” or “dance” like American weddings, it’s a place and time for the bride and groom go around the tables to 인사 (to greet and thank) the guests who came. After they greet every guest, they go off to have Paebaek privately with their families. Guests leave shortly after.

In Korea, Snap photography is a bit of a new concept to the Korean wedding market and highly optional. This is because: 1. Wonpan photographers also take basic regular ceremony pictures to be included in the wedding album 2. many Koreans already own DSLR cameras and their friends and family take pictures for them throughout the ceremony. They feel it’s a waste of money to pay for a “snap” photographer. (Koreans are all pretty good at taking pictures.. Koreans bring DSLR cameras everywhere and even take DSLR pictures of food to be put on their daily blog)

But being the photography-nazi I am, I definitely wanted to have a snap photographer who would capture the special day. I started by looking through Korean wedding blogs and talking with my Korean friends, and came across a blog that lists the top current popular Snap Photographers in Seoul:

Because Snap photography is not as popular in Korea, the price is relatively low. It can start from $500~3500, depending on their experience and popularity like it is here in America. I heard Viva Touch was popular (and expensive), but it wasn’t my style. After thoroughly looking at blogs, I narrowed it down to one photographer that had amazing captures and beautiful color in his photos:

My snap photographer of choice: Follow Motion

They are gorgeous. After I looked through their albums, I booked right away. Although it was a bit pricier than most snap photographers, it was nothing compared to America’s price and it’s definitely worth it if it fits your style and what you’re looking for.

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