personalprofile: kim young-seon, born in the1970s, is a lovely man and a prominent photographer. one of the founders ofartiz studio, he is the best partner of allen shi, chairman of the jiahaogroup. he works as the designated photographer of rain, song hye-kyo and junji-hyun among other stars. he is a technical talent who has successfullyconverting technology into economic value. he has 17 stores across china insuch cities as shanghai, guangzhou, shenzhen, hangzhou and zhengzhou. he ownsover 100 million yuan.
as the chinese boys and girlsfall for such korean dramas as “mylove from the star” and “descendantsof the sun,” kim young-seon has risen to his fame as a top korean photographer forstars like song hye-kyo,park shin hye, jun ji-hyun,song joong-ki and rain. as we all know, prominent photographers are oftenartists with long hair and stylish mustache, surrounded by beauties,fault-finding, willful and cool. how about kim young-seon who has broughtauthentic korean style wedding photography to china? why does he become awedding photographer? what’s so special about wedding photographer? today wewill unveil these mysteries with kim young-seon at artiz studio.
born into a photographerfamily, influenced by the environment since childhood, held in good reputebefore coming to china
tencent: we know mr. kim is a reputedphotographer. can you share some of your stories with us?
kimyoung-seon:born into a photographer family, i have been exposed to photography since mychildhood. the picturesque hills and rills, dark rooms and the breathtakingphotos developed in the dark rooms have given me beautiful memories. i majoredin photography in college and worked as the creative photographer for “bird”magazine. a number of my works have won photography awards in korea. in 2004, iworked as the designated photographer at the 9th pusan internationalfilm festival. i am good at portrait and event photography. i have worked withjun ji-hyun and rain among other artists. i love taking photos of peoplebecause people move and have emotions. interactions during a photo shoot can bemore inspiring. as i took pictures for the stars in 2008, i learned that koreandramas were very popular in china and had the idea of opening stores here.
tencent: you owned wedding photographystudios in korea in korea. what inspired you to open stores in china? how werethings going?
kimyoung-seon: in2007, i founded artiz studio in pusan. as the korean dramas like “sorry, i loveyou,” “full house” and “my lovely sam-soon” became a hit in china in 2008, iwas inspired by the popularity of korean culture in china and thus had the ideaof opening stores and taking korean style wedding photos for chinese people.things didn’t go well at first, because i didn’t know china very well as aforeigner and there was no successful foreign-funded photo studio in china. weknew very little about the aesthetics and preferences of chinese consumers.then i met chairman shi. thanks to his exceptional marketing, packaging andoperating skills, things began to pick up. within a few years, artiz studio canbe seen across china and in malaysia. chinese stars like tiffany tang, mr.& mrs. lu yi, tong liya and song shanshan have come to us.
the perfect chinese-koreanpartnership
tencent:what is your role in artizstudio?
kimyoung-seon:first of all, i am a photographer. i am in charge of product manufacturing,technical improvement and service enhancement in relation to weddingphotography of the artiz studio stores across china. i am more responsible oftechnical stuff, but i don’t know as much about market operation and promotion,and chinese consumer demands as chairman shi does. so we complement each otherand give play to each other’s strengths.
tencent:what are the features ofkorean style wedding photos? what aspects of customer service speak more ofkorean style?
kim young-seon: while chinese wedding photography isbackground-focused, gorgeous and rich, korean wedding photography centers onpeople, expression changes and beauty of curves, and is refreshingly neat. butyou can’t simply copy the korean wedding photography in china. fusions of bothstyles are needed so that they can be accepted by consumers. it’s also arespect for chinese consumer culture. it can be said that we take korean stylewedding photos with chinese characteristics. it’s a fusion of aestheticcultures. we highlight the korean style in makeup, styling, costume, setcreation and photography methods to maintain its independence.
rise among multiple korean styles
tencent:i have seen a lot of photostaken by artiz studio, and other photo studios produce many similar photos.certainly it’s not plagiarizing. that’s because other photo studios also havekorean photographer and makeup artist teams for training and shooting.therefore, i am afraid that such korean style can be easily duplicated withfinancial support, and the strengths of artiz studio can be easily weakened.what do you think of that?
kimyoung-seon: togain the favor of consumers, you can’t simply copy or imitate the korean stylewedding photography. artiz studio is the most successful studio among studioswith similar photography styles because we provide not only specialized koreanstyle wedding photos, but also services beyond customer expectations. differentfrom other photo studios offering one set of accessories for one dress, forinstance, we have several sets of accessories for the customers to choose from.while others provide one dress for thebride, we give the bride two more dresses free of charge during the photoshoot. we also have our own decoration environment, photography methods andideas. it’s not something you can copy.
his wedding photographyphilosophy: natural, loved, true, relaxing and happy.
tencent:many brides may have the sameproblem during a photo shoot at other photo studios. they are required to“smile” so often that their faces are stiff before the photo shoot is over. asan experienced and leading photographer, do you think it’s ok not to smileduring a photo shoot? what’s the right state of mind?
kimyoung-seon: aphoto shoot should be a playful time. the guidance of the photographer isimportant, but you don’t have to smile all the time. every bride is attractivein certain way. some are more charming with laughter; some are more elegantwith a smile; and some look better without a smile. that’s something thephotographer should perceive. requesting the bride to smile all the time so asto catch the moment of happiness may produce the opposite effect. the coupleshould look natural, true and relaxing during a photo shoot.
the bride is always the mostbeautiful in artiz studio
tencent:will the korean style weddingphotography of artiz studio be too simplex to meet diversified user demands?your photography skills are indisputable. but how can you assure that thephotos taken in other stores in china are as good as yours?
kimyoung-seon: weknow that we can’t satisfy all consumers, but we strive to satisfy more. ipersonally oversee the artiz studio stores in shanghai, beijing, guangzhou,shenzhen, zhengzhou and other cities. in the spirit of perfection, i haveguided and participated in the design of each set to keep pace with artizstudio shanghai. each photographer is subject to korean style training onrigorous standards on shooting angle, shooting location and light selection.only qualified photographers after training can service the customers. in termsof service, we insist on the many-for-one policy in which a team is designatedto service one couple. communication with the couple will be conducted promptlyin respect of makeup, styling, set and post-shoot refinement to maximally meetcustomer requirements. for example, we partner up with international designerbrands to provide the latest and the best wedding dresses. if a bride doesn’tlook beautiful in artiz studio, it will be the fault of the makeup artist, thestylist, the photographer, the team and artiz studio. the bride is always themost beautiful in artiz studio.
tencent:why do you think the chinesepeople love korean style wedding photos? if one day we don’t love it any more,will you be out of work?
kimyoung-seon: thereason why the chinese people love korean style wedding photos has a lot to dowith the popularity of korean dramas in china. it’s a reflection of the koreanwave, including the aesthetic similarity of chinese and korean consumers. tostay on the job, we will keep innovating and maintain the vitality of ourworks.
how does he deal with cultural differences?
tencent:have you conflicted with yourchinese partner? how do you handle the conflicts? settle in a fight? (haha)
kimyoung-seon: certainlythere are conflicts, but they are properly handled. for instance, i wanted totake authentic korean style wedding photos, but chairman shi hoped toincorporate some chinese elements to meet consumer demands. eventually i tookhis advice. that’s because he is chinese and knows exactly what our targetconsumers want, and i believe in him.
korean people also takewedding photos
tencent:what korean people areconcerned with when they are getting married? are there many korean couplestaking wedding photos? how much do they usually spend?
kimyoung-seon: koreanpeople also take wedding photos, 70% of them will have a photo shoot at a photostudio, and 30% of them will choose wedding day photography service. the budgetof a photo shoot will range from several thousand yuan to several hundredthousand yuan. wedding day photography service is usually chosen by financiallystrong couples, because it’s relatively expensive at a starting price of 10,000yuan.
tencent:if national sentiments are notconsidered, will you choose to be a chinese man or a korean man?
kim young-seon: culturally speaking, i preferto be a korean man. actually there are many differences in chinese and koreancultures. take the female role in the society for example. the chinese womenare strong and independent. the korean men tend to have superiority complex.
tencent:what do you want to say to thechinese consumers?
kimyoung-seon: iwill try my best to provide the best wedding photography service for chinesecouples.
as expected, he has had manyrelationships, but is unmarried (as i suspected, haha)
tencent:are you married if i may ask?will you marry a chinese girl?
kim young-seon: no, i am not married, butsoon. i have been in a relationship for several times. the longest i have is 5years. as i often take photos and meet a lot of girls, i tend to be quite pickyin a girlfriend.
tencent:thank you for your honesty.thank you for your time.