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Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

Getting The Shot

Often when I see new articles on Ulsan Online, I see articles with great colour and style but the photos seem more like an afterthought. I know that may sound harsh but the reality of it is that the photos will draw the interest of your audience and make for a great looking article.

With that being said I thought that I would put together a little article about how to get decent shots for articles and possibly even for yourself as well. I am not going to get technical; I am just going to give some pointers on how to improve.


Get to know your camera

No matter what you shoot, before you point your camera at something, learn how to use it. This goes beyond “off/on” and pressing the buttons. Learn how to get the best out of your camera. This also goes for point-and-shoots and even your smart phone.

If you are using a DSLR, then learn the basics and what lens to use in the exact situation that you will be shooting in. If you have a point-and-shoot, learn which setting is best as there is not always one setting that will get the best of everything. So learn with is the best for indoors, outdoors, food, night time, etc.

If you are going to be using a smart phone, make sure that you have the ability to edit the photo as well. There are many different apps that will get the best out of your photos and I am NOT talking about “instagram”

Planning also means timing. This shot would have looked different if I had shot it during mid-day


Plan your shots

This may seem strange as most people that I know enter into an article, thinking that simply bringing their camera is all the planning that they need. However, if you want to get some quality shots, then it is best to make a rough plan for your shots.

First, start with the location. If you can and you are shooting during the day, try and shoot in the morning or later in the afternoon and avoid the harsh mid-day light. Find an attractive location or an angle that will the reader a “sense of place” rather than just a random shot of people standing around.


Clean table, neatly arranged and taken using natural light

If you are doing a food review, find a table near the window if you are shooting during the day or a brightly lit table if it is dark. Give the table a once over and make it look neat if you really like the place. Your goal is to entice people to come to enjoy the food, not show them a dirty table or how messy you eat. Also, let your party know that you are intending to photograph the food before it comes. That way they don’t start chowing down before you are ready.


What’s your message?

The photos that you include in your article must convey the same message as the words you write. So if you are covering a foreigner concert and you want to show the energy of the performers, get the shots show the singer and the bands rocking out or the crowd dancing to the music.


a good shot of the singer along with a bit of the crowd.

If you want to show how nasty a restaurant is the focus on the dirty tables and grease-splattered tableware. However, don’t write about how great a place is and then show dirty tables and a dimly lit establishment.

this would not fit with an article about how delicious this restaurant’s food is…


The right tool for the job

Often the shots people take end of looking perhaps less than attractive. However, if I could offer some tips, I am sure you can improve your shots in the future. The first are your tools. If you are out at night, bring a tripod or something to steady your camera with. You can find little ones for your smart phone and point-and-shoot as well.


wide angle shots give a sense of place or even size.

For the DSLR shooters, make sure that you have the right lens for the job. Faster lenses with wider apertures (the low f-stop numbers like F/2.8) will give a nice feel to your food photos and give better lowlight performance without having to jack up your ISO. A good wide-angle lens will give a great sense of place for outdoor scenes.


The F/1.4 aperture used draws the attention to the insides of the burger and not the surroundings.

Edit your Photos

Once you got your photos and you are back at home, please take the time to edit the ones that you want to include in the article. This doesn’t involve anything technical at all but you should take a little bit of time in some areas. This also doesn’t mean you have to buy and learn photoshop either. Free programs like GIMP and Picasa have everything that you need to do some basic edits.


The areas that you want to improve are; sharpness, size, levels/curves, and colour. It you adjust these things (which any of the current photo programs will have) your photos will greatly improve. Also, most of the programs will have auto-features so that if you really don’t want to spend the time, you can just quickly go through and make the needed adjustment. However, just a word of caution on the use of auto features, they may give mixed results and that goes even for expensive programs like photoshop.


Colours, levels and sharpness were adjusted to give the image more detail. What could have been a dark boring image now has more character.

What to shoot

There is nothing worse than getting home and realizing that you got half the pictures you should have. Now that memory is cheap and even the most bargain cameras are coming with a 4 gb memory card, you should shoot as much as you want. In this case, I have provided some lists for a few of the more common articles on Ulsan Online.



  • Wide shot of notable location



  • Interesting features about the location



  • Places of interest



  • Beautiful spots and views



  • People enjoying themselves (shoot wide to give a sense of place)



  • Transportation



  • Food



  • Interesting event that took place


Food/Restaurant Review


  • Shot from the outside



  • Interior shot



  • Table shot



  • Close-up shots of individual meals (use a fast lens or macro setting/lens)



  • Food cooking (if at Korean-style restaurant)



What not to shoot

Granted I just let you loose with your camera and I know that you are going to be like a sniper in the crowd but there are some shots to avoid or just not include in your final article.


  • Drunken Friends



  • Dirty tables



  • Half eaten meals



  • Random streets with no specific location



  • Self shots or “kimchi poses”



  • Blurry/out-of-focus shots



  • Dark/under exposed shots



  • Random inside jokes that only you actually get (it’s a bomb truck! A… what?)



  • Business cards (just include the information in your article as it would be much easier to read)



Lastly, when writing your article make the photos dominant and big… but not too big. About 600 pixels x 400 pixels is perfect for this blog style format.  Other than that, make sure that your photos cover what you experience and you will make a great article that will convey your message or have people lining up to find that tasty spot you wrote about. In the end, you don’t have to be a pro with an expensive camera to get great shots, but you do have to take a bit of time.

If you want to get out and get some great shots of Ulsan, come down to the Taehwa River Park on October 13th at 4:45 pm for the Worldwide Photo Walk. I will be there along with many great photographers who live in Ulsan. We will all be more than happy to answer some questions and help get some great shots.