All About Korean Self-Studios And My Personal Experience

Self photo studios are visited by many celebrities in Korea. We visited one to find out if it's worth the hype!

Jihyun Lee
3 years ago

korean celebrities black and white self photo

Raise your hand if you awkwardly freeze when you're on camera!🙋‍♀️🙋‍♂️

I want to capture beautiful photos too but I always freeze when the cameraman shouts "One, Two, Three, Smile!" 

Well, all your fears are gone now at these self-studios in Korea! You will be able to take some amazing shots at your own pace. 

printed photo and envelop

Self-photo studios are quickly rising to popularity in Korea. I also took a trip there the other day. 😄 

Shall we learn more about these studios in my personal, authentic review?


son na-eun photoSource: Son Na-eun Instagram

Usually, if you go to a studio to take a picture, a professional photographer is there. However, in these self-photo studios, there are no photographers!

It's only you and the camera in these studios. Meaning, you literally take these professional photos yourself.

How? These studios have remote controls. 😊

girls day YouTube channelSource: 소진스럽 on Youtube

This video is from the 10th anniversary of a girl group called Girl's Day uploaded to its member Sojin's YouTube channel. 

Can you see the small wired remote control in her hand? 

She presses it to take the photos! 😉

girls day sojin YouTubeSource: 소진스럽 on Youtube

What you see behind Sojin is the self-studio! As you can see, there are professional lights, cameras, and mirrors!

You can shoot your photos while checking your reflection in the mirror. 

self photo studio In KoreaSource: Young Hyundai

Also, since the photos are immediately displayed on the monitor you can check how the photos are turning out. 

So what are the results of Girl's Day's photoshoot? 

Source: Girl's Day Instagram

Isn't it so pretty? Now, do you see why a lot of celebrities, idols, and people like you and me go to take photos on special days?

self studio post Malone posingSource: onandoff.studio Instagram

Even celebrities outside of Korea that are known worldwide such as Post Malone, are said to have visited a self-studio in Los Angeles that's run by a Korean! After taking the photo, Post Malone said that it was "fun" in Korean!

Why are so many people so attracted to self-studios?

The Secret To Self-Studios

1. Capture Natural Moments

twice photoshootSource: Instiz

What's the secret to taking beautiful photos? It's to look as natural as possible!

If the person posing is awkward, the photo will reflect that. But we don't get many chances to go to professional studios, so when we do, usually we don't know what to do! 

Also, it's kind of awkward to pose naturally in front of a professional photographer that you never met before. So the photos are bound to turn out weird until you get the hang of it.

oh Yeon seo, jung chae Yeon InstagramSource: Oh Yeon-seo & Jung Chae-yeon Instagram 

But in a self-studio, all these problems are solved since there is no photographer in front of you snapping away. 

Since you're taking the photos yourself, you know your angles, poses and you can go at your own pace!

If you pose in a comfortable, natural environment, how can the photos NOT turn out beautiful? 

hyuna couple self photoSource: Photomatic Instagram

Also, since it's taken in a private space, you can take photos while having fun without being conscious of other people. 

It's great to be able to take some playful photos as HyunA and Dawn did for the photo above. 

photoshoot with dogs Source: Photomatic Instagram

Or you can even take photos with your pets in a comfortable atmosphere like this! 

Sometimes, animals can be afraid of strangers so if you want some professional shots of you and your adored pet, these self studios are the best option for you!

2. Unlimited Shots

Korean couple self studioSource: Photomatic Instagram

One of the benefits of self-studios is that you can take an unlimited number of photos! Of course, there is a time limit, but you can take as many photos as you want within that time!

lee na-eun posing in studio with flowerSource: Lee Na-eun

Since you can take as many as you want, it gives you more time to perfect your poses. If you continue to press the button on the remote control, you'll capture the most naturally beautiful and candid moments.

Then after you're done shooting, you can pick a few of the hundreds of photos taken. Since there are so many to choose from, it's quite difficult to narrow it down!

3. Photoshop 

Have you ever gotten so used to taking selfies with filters in an app that you were shocked when it's time to take your ID or passport photos? 

Well, at these studios you won't need to worry! After choosing the photos you would like, they will photoshop your photos for you so they always turn out beautiful. 

Source: Seo Ji-soo Instagram

First, you choose if you want to shoot in color like the left, or in black and white! 

korean girl short hair and glasses black and white studioSource: Photomatic Instagram 

And most importantly, photoshopping your face!

The great thing about Korean studios is that they are amazing at photoshop. They won't make you look like an alien since they pursue natural beauty. 

So you know you're in good hands!

4. Time-lapse

Source: KLAB Youtube

The last secret to a self-studio is the time-lapse video. Some studios offer to take time-lapse videos while you take your photos. 

It's fun to watch these after and keep them for sweet memories of you and your friends or lover!

korean guys self photo studioSource: Photomatic Instagram

After reading about its benefits, you can see why it's so popular, right? 

Just a year or two ago, these studios still felt like a place only celebrities and influencers went to but it's so fun to go with your friends. 

screenshot of self studios in korea

It's a great place to go if you want to take photos with your family in a comfortable atmosphere, or with your partner to celebrate an anniversary, or make memories with friends, or even just by yourself to get some professional shots!

In fact, if you search up #selfstudio on Instagram, there are a whopping 120,000 results! 

My Experience At A Self-Studio

Now, it's my turn to have a go! I decided to go to a self-studio to get some special photos. 

First of all, you have to decide which studio you want to visit! A quick Instagram search will help you find the best studios around you. 

Since most studios run an official Instagram, it's best to compare the style and color of the studios. 

Bukchon self studio outer interior

After much thought, I decided to visit the Bukchon self-studio located next to Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul. 

I wanted to take photos in color and this Bukchon studio has the most natural-looking photos among colored photos. 

Address: 서울 종로구 윤보선길 65

Black & White: 40,000 won
Colour: 50,000 won

Instagram: @self_bukchon 

screenshot of Kakao reservation for self studio

The reservation process is very simple. After clicking their Kakao link on their Instagram, you can send them a message on Kakao Talk (Korean chat messenger).

photo shoot poses illustrationSource: 페이스북 자취생으로 살아남기

It's great to think about what poses you would like to take photos of in advance. Since we have a limited amount of time, we might waste a lot of time just trying to figure out which poses to do. 

Since self-studios are so popular, there is a lot of content online that gives you some tips on posing or you can refer to photos of others on Instagram! 

bukchon self studio framed photos

Bukchon self-studio not only operates a self-studio but also a professional photo studio. 

As I entered the entrance, these framed photos were on display. They were all so pretty I began to look forward to my photos as well. 

korean girl photo in front of mirror

Before taking the photo, I was guided towards the dressing table in the studio. Here, you can check your face for the last time before you begin taking photos. 

Simple cosmetics and hair products are prepared for you to freely use. 

photo shoot studio white background

When the reservation time approached, I was then guided to a private space inside the studio. 

The white cloth hanging on the wall first caught my eye. Since the background is white, it goes well with whatever clothes you wear. 

And do you see the different props on the left? Not only are there chairs, but there are various props for you to freely use such as bouquets and hats. 

korean girl infront of white background photo shoot

To be honest, it was a little hectic in the beginning. No matter how comfortable the atmosphere was, I still felt awkward taking these photos for the first time, as you can obviously tell. 

But soon enough, I got used to it and was able to shoot freely. 

As I fooled around with my friend, 15 minutes passed by quickly!

screenshot of photos

After the time limit was up, it was now time to pick a photo! Bukchon self-studio lets you pick 2 photos to photoshop, and prints 9 photos!

It was so difficult to choose only a few that were the best out of 100. After picking the photos, they told me to come back in an hour and a half to pick them up. We were so hungry from taking these photos that we went out to eat. 

Are you curious about how they edited our faces? It is quite embarrassing, but here are the BEFORE and AFTER shots for our Creatrip members to visualize. 

Since I wear a mask all the time due to corona, I've had some issues with my skin so they fixed it for me. With the technology of photoshop, I was able to say goodbye to my dark circles as well. 

They also edited my jawline to make it more defined. They asked what other parts I wanted to fix but I was satisfied enough that they printed it right away!

bukchon self studio print

Here is the result of my first ever self-studio shoot!

I got two 4x6 photos and a print that had 9 images split! I liked it so much I framed it and put it on my desk. 

In addition, we received all the original photos as a file for a special promotion they were doing for the month of March. Even if it weren't for the promotion, the original files can be bought with only 5,000 won!

korean celebrities self studio

In my opinion, after personal experience, self-studio in Korea is definitely worth the hype!

How about capturing special memories with your friends the next time you visit Korea? 

If you visit the Bukchon Self-Studio after reading this, you can even get a special discount! 🥰

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