Hop Onto The Self-Photo Studio Trend in Seoul
Bring home a different memorabilia the next time you visit!
· 40 min read
Photos have long been one of the best ways to capture moments that you want to remember. Way back in the early 2000s, neoprints and photo booths used to be really popular all across Asia. It fell out of trend towards the 2010s, but in recent years, with selfies becoming trendy due to the growth of smartphones and social media, self-photo studios and photo booths have also started to re-emerge. This wave of popularity began in South Korea, and has started to spread to major cities across the world. But if you are looking for a unique and personalised memorabilia for your next trip to Seoul, why not check out some of the self-photo studios?
What is a Self Photo Studio?
As its name suggests, a self photo studio is a space where you can - well - take your own photos. These studios are dedicated spaces which are usually equipped with all the necessary tools and equipment that allows you to capture amazing photographs yourselves.
The set-up differs from studio to studio — some providing a room and actual studio set-up, while others are simply just photobooths. But generally, the studios are also often equipped with a variety of backdrops or an environmental set-up and a vast collection of props that you can use in your photos. Some studios even offer outfits that you can change into for your photoshoot. At the end of your shoot, you can typically expect to get a print-out of the photos that you have selected (the format of the print out differs according to studio), along with access to a download link to get a digital copy of the images.
Exciting Self Photo Studios in Seoul
Located in Gangnam, 45ID primarily has a film-like theme that also carries a little bit of a vintage vibe, with polaroids being the main medium of the photos that will be produced. There are varying packages to choose from, depending on the style of photos you are looking for. 45ID has 4 main packages, with options to upgrade some of the items in the packages if you want to:
- ID:P (300,000KRW): recommended for 2-4 pax. Includes a pack of special polaroid film (4-photos in one polaroid), a photo frame, and digital scans of the photos. Estimated total time: 1 hour (inclusive of explanation and post-production of photo frame)
- ID:W (150,000KRW): recommended for 3-6 pax. Includes 2 packs of polaroid films (20 images) and a photo frame. Estimated total time: 1 hour (inclusive of explanation and post-production of photo frame)
- ID:C (200,000KRW): recommended for 4-6 pax. Includes the I-type polaroid camera, 1 pack of films (8 images), rental of vintage camcorder (with mp4 output). You will also have a full 1-hour access to the 45Apart space (total of 3 floors).
- ID:B (55,000KRW): Includes the BIG SHOT camera rental, 1 pack of film (10 images), and a mini frame. Estimated total time: 20 minutes.
Munei Studio has a unique Garden concept, where a tilted camera angle, circular frames, and flower patterns being key elements of the photos. The studio has a white backdrop and great lighting, resulting in very clean and natural-looking photos. You will have about 15 minutes in the studio to take your photos. The basic package costs 50,000KRW for 2 pax, and includes a 2 edited photos and decorative stickers so you can decorate your own photos if you'd like. You will be able to add on to the basic package if you would like more photos or have more people in your party. However, do note that you will not be able to collect your photos on the spot, and it will take about 3-4 working days after the shoot to receive the edited photos and files. And if you purchase the original copies, you can receive it via KakaoTalk the day after your shoot.
The studio is located on the 3rd floor of the building, and on the second floor there's a cafe and bar that you can enjoy some dessert and drinks after your shoot.
Located conveniently in Sinsa-dong, Self Studio Seeik provides a diverse range of services that can satisfy your photo needs. For self-photo shoots in a studio, they offer a number of rooms with varying concepts. The cameras in the rooms are voice-controlled, giving you way more freedom to pose and move around the room. There are also free photo zones that are nicely decorated, which are great photo spots if you would like to take some Insta-worthy shots. And if you just wanted to take some ID photos, photo booths are also available! The best thing? There isn't a minimum number of people required, and you are free to take solo shots if you would like! Prices are at 35,000KRW for 20 minutes in the room, and you will get to choose 10 digital photos. And if you would like to engage a professional photographer to help with your photos, or to engage post-processing and editing services, these are also offered at additional charges.
Hiiphoto does away with most of the fancy things, and goes back to basics. Instead of decorated backdrops or frames, Hiiphoto uses different coloured lighting to create different concepts. While there are some props available for use, the overall set-up of the studio is fairly simple, providing a good environment if you like your photos clean and minimalistic. The studio is completely unmanned, so if you are the type who might get conscious that other people are around while you are doing your shoots, you don't have to worry about that here! Prices are based on the number of people in the shoot (25,000KRW for 1 pax, 40,000KRW for 2-3 pax, 55,000KRW for 4-5pax, and an additional 10,000KRW per pax thereafter with a cap of 8pax). The number of printed photos that you will get also depends on the number of people in your party, and additional photos and editing services can also be requested if required. The entire session will last an hour, with 30 minutes being for the shoot, and the remaining half an hour for photo selection and printing.
If you are looking for something that is more energetic and college-style, then B Key Photo might be a good option! B Key Photo has a couple of locations over Seoul, located in trendy districts like Hongdae, Itaewon, and Geondae (Konkuk Univ.). Instead of providing you with a camera, B Key Photo's set-up utilises photo booths. But what sets it apart from other photo booths in Korea is the college-themed backdrops, frames, props, and photo zone. B Key Photo has two main themes — Tokyo and LA, each providing its distinct style of backdrops and frames. And if you would like to complete the look, school uniform rentals are also available! The shops also usually have a photo zone that is decorated with college-style props, and you can feel free to make use of the premises to take your own photos (with your own cameras)!
Similar to B Key Photo, Haru Film offers photo booths rather than studio shoots. And while there are tons of options for photo booths across the country right now, Haru Film is possibly one of the most popular ones. While it has special frames from time to time, as well as some props available, the collection really isn't all that extensive and the set-up not entirely special. But what gives Haru Film the edge over the photo booths is their filters and the tone of the photos, which are widely accepted to be one of the best among the many options, probably due to the softer tones it uses.