Her genius: Capturing clean, creative and content-driven photography. Her outcomes: Producing images that effectively market ideas, products and services while building loyal clients. Columbus-based portrait and event photographer Suhyoon Cho takes pictorial storytelling to I-feel-like-I-was-right-there heights.
She produces both engaging portrait and event photography that naturally connects, educates and grips audiences with perfectly timed clicks, awkward angles and unabashed direction to achieve narrative-worthy work. Because of the quality of her craft, she constantly collaborates with companies and individual clients in higher education, beauty/fashion, film/TV, military and government industries.
As this month’s featured photographer, Suhyoon wowed me with her no-holds-barred approach to my contemporary lifestyle as a fourth-generation farm girl. She flawlessly helped me share my Southern story, relating the content to my readers and brand partners using the following key strategies to create stunning photography:
Using the latest digital programs to edit images. My go-to program is Adobe Lightroom. I use it to cull and edit my images — two things that are easily streamlined by the program. If I have work that needs heavier retouching, such as a more advanced clone job, I go to Photoshop. I was introduced to LR a few years ago; it’s an incredibly well-thought-out program for photographers. It makes editing a breeze and has almost every tool necessary to turn a photo from “simple” to “stunning” without it being too laborious. As previously mentioned, Photoshop is another great photo-editing program; while it’s not as streamlined for quick editing, it has the tools needed for highly detailed post-processing.
Practicing before, during and after major projects. The best way to develop any craft is to push your own boundaries every day. Watch those who inspire you and mimic their actions. Soon, your own style and knowledge will begin to grow. In my own life, I started taking pictures when I was 11. I was encouraged by a family friend who said I saw things in an interesting way. I continued to follow my passion for years, always carrying my camera with me. I was active on art forums, where I shared my art and viewed art made by others. I quickly found myself taking college classes for it, eventually becoming a photographer for the Washington State Legislature. I never imagined myself working at such a prestigious place, considering my love for photography originated from a single photograph of hammock strings. What I mean to say is: Don’t limit yourself. What you’re shooting today may not be what you will shoot tomorrow, and that’s OK.
Knowing how to work naturally with animate and inanimate objects. To give context to my strategy, I’ll provide some information about myself: I’ve always grown up around those much older than me. My mom was a single mom and is a professor, so my “friends” growing up were really her friends — intellectuals, thespians and artsy types. Because of this, I’ve always been comfortable with those older than me. I even went to community college when I was 14, and earned my bachelor’s at 18, feeling relatively on par with my peers. The keyword here is “relatively,” and while I fare decently among an older crowd, there are certain aspects of me that scream “I’m younger than all of you” — my blue hair probably being one.
Although I tend to surround myself with older people, I play the awkward card, because it works. I do the same in my work as a photographer. I try to make my client think I’m weird. I push them to be ever so slightly uncomfortable, so that they may laugh with (or at) me, which relaxes them. I speak to them casually; I say “yaaaaas!” a lot; I’m really just my client’s “hype-man.” Making my clients laugh, feel beautiful and understanding their vision is of the utmost importance to me. As far as making inanimate objects interesting, I do this well because I see the world around me in terms of color, patterns and light. I’m a very aesthetically driven person, so I find patterns and details in things that others may easily pass up. I try to translate what I see — how I perceive the world — into my work. When I shoot objects, I try to place them in scenes that would stop me and catch my eye — something simple but strong and intriguing.