Song, could you please briefly introduce yourself, and tell us about your first encounter with photography? Who has influenced you to start taking photographs?
Hello, I’m Song Choi professional fashion photographer based in Seoul, Korea.
I can’t remember my very first encounter moment with photography but definitely, it was through Vogue Korea magazine. when I was young, there were always my mother’s Vogue Korea magazines on the table in our living room. I often read them when I had nothing to do. There were many stunning editorial photos by great photographers and i started to be exposed to fashion photographs. Still, I’m into the 90’s and 2000s moods than recent trends.
And there was my father’s old Nikon camera. I started my photographs with it. So literally my parents have influenced me to start photographs.
From your point of view, what are the most difficult aspects of professional fashion photography?
Keeping myself fresh, passionate with decent techniques, and being survived in reality.
Living as a professional fashion photographer means you are belonging to a highly competitive market. not losing dreams and passion while living in harsh reality is quite hard but needed. Unless you will be just a professional robot holding a camera.
As the expert you are, what are the unique features of this kind of photography and the keys to master it?
This field is the most accurate field for explaining the meaning of commercial art.
Photographs can be used commercially.
and for that purpose, we should cooperate with other fields like fashion design, hair/makeup field. Amateurs can do it alone but on a professional level, each person can’t do multiple roles. And fashion photography is asking you a high standard of technique and being, decent senses, and shows the identity of each photographer than other photography fields.
To master what this field asks, the study shouldn’t be stopped and we should be open to new matters. In these days, there are many channels we can study. not like in old times when the only way was to work as an assistant to the senior photographer. (Still this way is really great though) most of all, not losing passion is essential. That can be the absolute answer.
In your opinion, how beauty is perceived at the present age? What does photography mean to you personally and what really makes a woman beautiful?
In my opinion, the meaning of beauty at the present age is a bit different from before. There were some standards and they tightened people like corsets. There couldn’t be a negative answer against it. Follow well or not only.
but nowadays people respect differences more than before. Different hair colors, different skin colors, different shapes of bodies, different appearances, and different ideas.
of course, still there are some standards about appearance but at least we are stepping forward. We had been forced by standards before and now each of us is making standards.
Photography makes me be myself.
even though I don’t shoot anymore, still I’m a professional fashion photographer and no one is doubting it now.
it is the same for women (and also men). Confidence about herself (and himself) makes her (him) shining, shimmering and splendid.
For getting it, trying on each other’s field and being positive about myself can make a person beautiful I think.
What type of models do you prefer to shoot with? Why?
Definitely smart models. I respect each model’s own mood and way of posing. As a photographer I try to give them more freedom, not to be tightened by poses in reference. when they suggest me better or different way of posing in front of the camera, I’m pleased with it. Even if that is not the one I prefer, I follow. But sometimes if that suggestion is not really great, I give model directions and start again.
All those things between photographer and model make what we call ‘conversation’. Usually, smarter models are better in this conversation job. I love this session and that is why i prefer smart models.
The model of this photoshoot is my muse. She is the smartest model I’ve met ever. This photo shoot is based on the inspiration from the Korean poem ‘The Flower’ by Chunsu Kim. To make the model understand the abstract meaning of this poem, I needed a very smart model and there wasn’t any hesitation in choosing her as a model.
Are there any other photographers you lookup? Who?
So many photographers are giving me inspiration but Paolo Roversi, Nick Knight, and Tim Walker these 3 photographers are always the best to me. They are like a lighthouse that shows me the way to the wonderland.
You are going about conducting a photoshoot, could you take us through the typical planning process for your images?
Mostly it starts from catching small ideas or inspiration. If they become bigger in my mind and when i can explain or write something about them, I ask models, makeup artists, stylists and other members.
The most important matter of my process is preparing mostly with text, not photos or even drawing. I want to keep our imaginations in our minds until right before the photoshoot.
For this reason, I don’t force my ideas on other members. Exchanging each other’s imaginations is much more helpful and we can make our imaginations bigger.
In addition to being sharp and well-lit, your photos are beautifully edited. What is your retouching/production philosophy?
We all know the retouching process is the last step of photography. retouching can change everything and sometimes there are some photos which need lots of retouching with technical reasons. I respect all those things but personally, only small retouchings do. To me, retouching is elaborating on small details. Almost everything ends at the moment i press the shutter.
What would be your tips/advice to models looking to expand their portfolio?
Basically contacting as many good photographers as possible is the best but better not sending like spam messages. Don’t be afraid of contacting them and show how much you want the opportunity to shoot with them.
Professional photographers get lots of askings for test shoots from individual models, model agencies, and even from amateurs. but we photographers always love having a shoot with passionate models. if the model shows strong passion and even has some stunning idea for the photo shoot, there wouldn’t be any photographer who doesn’t like that model.
What projects are you working on next, and what are your goals for the future?
I’m planning a beauty shoot project, a fashion editorial shoot based on a poem and an abstract fashion editorial shoot project. Especially beauty shoot will be a single project which needs lots of models so currently, I’m searching for good models.
Working with more good people, joining the greater projects, having a bigger studio, more income as professional photographer and so many other goals I want to achieve. But if I choose one goal for the future then it’s quite simple. Being a better photographer.
Where can we see more of your works and get connected with you?
Instagram is better for connecting promptly and watching very recent works. Website is better for watching simply.
Model: Daria Iva
Photographer: Song Choi
Makeup Artist: Jieun Kim
Fashion Designer: HYUNJO HA
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