Tourists from China and Hong Kong love having their ID photos taken in Korea because of the flattering magic studios here perform in no time.
Kim Jing-sung, who own a photo studio in Sinchon Seoul, said he has 15 to 20 Chinese customers a day. "Most of them bring photos of Korean or Chinese celebrities and ask their ID photos to be taken that way," he added.
A Chinese woman came to have her ID photo taken in a studio near the trendy Hongik University. "In China, they spend just a second taking your ID photo, but in Korea you get the image of a lifetime and for a great price."
An ID photo shoot costs around W20,000 at these studios, rising to W50,000 with hair styling and makeup (US$1=W1,135).
Photo studios are investing to attract more Chinese customers. One studio in the Hongik University area recently put up a sign in Chinese. The owner of another photo studio in the area said, "I'm in talks with a couple Chinese travel agencies about including my studio in their tour packages, and I hired a Chinese interpreter a month ago."
A woman from Hong Kong has her ID photo taken in a studio in Sincheon, Seoul.