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  • Writer's pictureTongRo Images

Stay Ready: Interview with Jaeseung Choi

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

“Chance favors the prepared mind.” A quote by Louis Pasteur has come to my mind while interviewing Jaeseung Choi. Meet his instinctive sense of art, refined with endless practice and preparation to create a meaningful outcome.

Q. Please introduce yourself.

I am a portrait photographer, Jaeseung Choi. I collaborate with TongRo Images., Inc, and Korea Joongang Daily Magazine while running a photography studio located in Seomyeon, Busan. Besides that, I am also an adjunct professor at the Busan Institute of Science and Technology, teaching senior models how to pose for the camera and runway.

Q. Define your own style of photography in a sentence and tell us why.

I think photography is another form of sport. Regardless of their category, athletes practice thousands of times so that their bodies could move ‘automatically’ at the match. It can be applied to photographers. Before shooting the shot on the spot, I always look for the weather forecast and prepare by simulating variables that can happen. By doing so, I can move instinctively during the photo shoot; selecting A-cuts or B-cuts is a matter for later.

Q. How did you build up your career with TongRo Images., Inc.? If there is a memorable anecdote during the collaboration, please share it with us.

Eight years ago, I was thinking about a new career path as a photographer that can be done long-term. That’s how I decided to contact the photography department; not knowing the full details of stock images, but with the determination to pursue it consistently. Gladly, the head of the department thought highly of my passion and that’s how I continued my collaboration with TongRo Images., Inc.

One of the memorable anecdotes happened in Busan. It was either at the end of January or the beginning of February – with the concept of a woman traveling to Busan all by herself. The whole concept and direction were fully negotiated with the model, however, the issue happened on the D-day of the photo shoot. Normally, Busan is rather warmer than other places during the winter. Nevertheless, it started to snow quite heavily.

Due to the concept, the model was wearing spring clothing, which made her hard to act comfortably; and it was a big issue since stock photography requires a variety of facial expressions and acting. Having to go through that situation, I could not help myself but think that this photo shoot cannot be completed. The looks on the faces of the staff, assistant, and makeup artist were almost the same as mine.

We managed to finish the shooting by cheering the model and everybody up, however, I was not sure whether the outcome would be successful. I put down all the expectations and anticipation by talking to myself, “At least I met the deadline.” A surprise came to me a few months later. That photo shoot became one of the best-selling images of TongRo Images for two years in a row! I was quite surprised.

Q. Explain the process of the photo shoot with TongRo Images., Inc. and the elements you consider the most important.

TongRo Images and I normally develop photo shoots that feature the models. It is not possible to have a joint photo shoot session with the director since most of my work is done in rural areas, still, I send the progress of it in real-time via messenger. By applying her feedback, there is no chance of being unable to shape the concept into real photographs. Of course, in the beginning, everything was worrisome including concept · location · model · costume · item · props due to my lack of experience. Fortunately, those melted away one by one as time went by.

Q. Let us know the devices and the program you use the most and tell us why.

A shift of power in the camera market is happening from DSLRs to mirrorless cameras. Yet, I’m still working with Nikon devices including DSLR D850-750. I appreciate its durability, and I think Nikon is surely enough to express if you have a great concept or item. Speaking of the program, I use Capture One to develop the pictures digitally since I deal with a lot of RAW files with high resolution and detailed colors, and then give them a finishing touch on Adobe Photoshop.

Q. What is your advice for people willing to start their careers as stock photographers?

There are a lot of people with the camera these days, but it is quite hard to find stock photography manias. I believe stock photography is a department worth putting into your time and effort if you are a commercial photographer. Since it is just like YouTube which cherishes diligence and effort, you can surely achieve income and synergy as a photographer.

Q. Share your tips on creating stock images.

It is an era of versatility; you need to create and build up various styles for various departments. For example, as a portrait photographer myself, I am trying to have a photo shoot session in more different locations, rather than taking somewhat traditional themes like business, lifestyle, and beauty. Additionally, on a personal level, I am also aiming to transform my field into fashion advertising as well.

Q. How do you catch up with the ever-changing trend as a photographer?

As a photographer, an ability to catch up with the trend is a requisite – therefore I consider an open mind and numerous challenges to be the most important quality of photographers. I also pay attention to opinions and advice from outside of the photography industry. Furthermore, since trends from the past get reinterpreted quite often, I take my time to investigate the trend of the past and present.

Of course, as a photographer living in the digital era, I cannot look at the AI idly too. The technology of the AI that is grafted onto the stock image itself still has a long way to go though, the importance of it will grow significantly. I cannot predict the future relationship between the traditional photograph and AI, but pondering upon it is surely an important assignment for photographers.

Q. What is your dream as a photographer?

My dream is to create a studio that has a commercial/stock photograph production team that supplies images all around the world. Without a doubt, I want to show my gratitude to TongRo Images., Inc. and the director of mine who gives me numerous, constructive feedbacks whenever I get to work with.

After establishing his own ground in the world of stock images with TongRo Images with his grit and diligence, now he is working on his brand-new evolution in the fashion industry with senior models. We hope this interview with Jaeseung Choi could be an opportunity to refresh your standpoint as a professional photographer.


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