One of the most sought-after and asked-about locations by visitors to South Korea is Nami Island. There’s a very good reason for that because, simply put, Nami is absolutely gorgeous. The picturesque tree lined paths, numerous forests with various types of trees, and just so much of nature’s beauty packed into a very walkable corner of the earth. This is especially true in the autumn season when a lot of those trees turn to bright, fiery colors. Unfortunately, there is a huge downside to having this much beauty in one place: massive crowds of people.
This is why I’d like to share a few best practices to make sure you get quality photos on Nami Island. Aside from the basic steps of checking the weather forecast and aligning your shoot date with peak foliage, here are a few best practices that I’ve learned from my shoots there:
1. Be there early. Ideally, try to be the first people out in the morning. Not only will you catch the flattering morning light and perhaps even some autumn fog, but you’ll also avoid the aforementioned crowds. Stay in a nearby hotel and catch the first ferry to the island. Or even better, stay the night before at the hotel that’s located on the island. Get your shoot done before 9 or 10AM and smile as you go in the opposite direction of the waves of people that are just getting to the island.
2. A second option would be to shoot as close to sunset as possible. The big tour groups usually come mid day, and you’ll get slightly more manageable crowds towards the end of the day. You’ll also get some nice afternoon and sunset light. Option 1 is still ideal though.
3. Avoid weekends. Just. Do. It.
Now that we’ve talked about a few tips, I’d like to share Clarinda and Cholo’s shoot at Nami Island. We had a great time exploring the various sections of the island, starting of course with the famous gingko lane. We also made sure to include the metasequoias, maple, and birch trees, with each area adding their own unique flavor to the shoot. Of course, we followed the best practices mentioned above, which gave us some very clear backgrounds and an overall stress-free shoot.
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Roy Cruz is a freelance photographer based in South Korea specializing in event, editorial, and portrait photography. Available for assignments nationwide and worldwide.