Pre-wedding Photoshoot in Taipei

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Unlike the many people out there who have done their wedding research, I'm the complete opposite. I got my pre-wedding photoshoot (PWS) package on an impulse. It was just a casual shopping day when the guy suggested for us to take a look at the wedding photography booths since the poster had my favourite flowers on it.

So we voluntarily walked into the trap, and ended up sitting through all the sales talk. When we left the booth, we walked away with a wedding photoshoot package. The guy thought the price of the package was worthwhile, and after trying to google them to read reviews on them and looking through the photos, we selected the first wedding photography company we talked to.

The reason why we both readily agreed to it was also because we fell in love with the photography style. I hated the typical dreamy, cute, romantic, princess kind of wedding photos. And when we saw their portfolio, they had some really cool, dark, MV-kind of photos. And I really liked their oriental look. The 复古风 kind of feel? Also, since we always take our own photos when we are abroad, we wanted something special which we, ourselves, know we can't take.

We told the saleslady that no matter how attractive or free gifts she'll throw in, we would only sign the package if we could choose the photographer. And only if he could make it during the hydrangea season.

So here's

Tip #1: Know what kind of styles you want to go for.

Before my photoshoot, I have had so many friends telling me their horror stories of how the photos did not turn out well, how the photographer and editor failed to capture the kind of mood and tone of the photos they wanted. This was the very reason why we personally picked our photographer. We loved his style, while the rest of the photographers' style did not appeal to us.

Do a lot of research and make sure you are prepared. It would help the photographer when you show him/her examples of photos and style that you want.

Tip #2: Look at their photos to get the kind of dresses they have.

This is very very important. Even if they can produce the kind of photos you want, it does not necessarily mean they have the right dresses. And we all know how important the dress is. Look at their photos to ensure that there are at least 10 dresses you like.

It is also important to check on the dresses. Some bridal studios charge premium for certain dresses so run a quick check with them to ensure the dresses you have you eyes on are not in the premium range.

Tip #3: Be clear on the costs, clarify and ask.

Another common horror story on overseas photoshoots is how they would charge you a certain base price and ask you to add on on the day itself. Therefore, you have to iron everything out with the person first.

For example, makeup usually comes with ampoule, fake eyelashes, hair accessories, etc. Ours was clear from the start that there will be additional cost for ampoule, which was optional (but highly recommended). So we were pretty good on that, and did not have to pay anymore than expected.

Transportation is another additional cost for us because we wanted to take outdoor photos. Again, the lady was very clear from the beginning about how much it would cost per hour.

And then the cost of additional photos. And you have to be clear as to whether the additional photos will be edited, whether it would be in softcopy/hardcopy, whether they will be included in the photobook.

And of course, always bargain. :)

After we have signed the package, the rest of the communication is via email and LINE. They would send a whole list of instructions on what you have to bring/do before the photoshoot. Pretty comprehensive list such as bringing your wedding heels and a pair of slip-ons so you don't have to wear the heels all the time, groom's shoes and socks, and also grooming tips such as shaving your hands/legs/everywhere visible, and even things to avoid doing the night before such as drinking too much water.

Day 1

We decided to push the photoshoot towards the front part of our trip because I didn't want to starve myself from all the Taiwan delicacies to be slim for the photos. Therefore, on our first day, we immediately went straight to select the gown.

We started at 1pm and the first thing we did was to confirm all the details with the lady coordinating our photoshoot. And after that was done, we were brought up to try the gowns.

I've heard about my friends telling me about how there were incidences where they could not find any nice gowns with the bridal studio and had to settle for dresses that they were unhappy with.

Tip #4: Always check the all the photos from the bridal studio and choose your gowns from there. 

This way, you will get a rough idea of what kind of gowns they have, and also save time trying on gowns because you can simply show them the photos of their gowns.

Of course, they will definitely help recommend dresses for you

There was a strict no photo taking during the gown selection so my husband could not sneak some photos and I could not get advice from everyone else. When choosing your gown, you should already have an idea of the kind of concept and photos you want to take because the gown can make or break the concept and idea.

The studio was really nice as there was no limit to the number of gowns you want to try. And she makes the guy take a photo on their iPad every time so I can easily select the photos from there afterwards.

Tip #5: Always take a photo of yourself in the dress.

I realised how important that was on the day itself. According the the lady, not only does taking a photo allow you recall what the dress looks like on you, sometimes, the dresses look differently in photos.

And that was so true because I was stuck between two puffy dresses - one pink and one brown. And my husband swears that when he saw me in the pink puffy dress, it was beautiful, and the only time he wowed. But when we reviewed the photos, we realised that while I looked good in it in real-life, the dress itself was not photogenic.

I was so tired of trying on dresses that I wanted to just give in to a black piece. I wasn't particularly fond of the dress, but I didn't hate it either. But the assistant was really nice and she realised that I didn't particularly like the dress. Thus, she went to look for another. And that's when I found the dress that I liked.

Tip #6: Do not give up on looking for the perfect dress.

While some might enjoy trying on different dresses, I know it can get tiring, especially after a long flight. But do not give up! I'm so glad the assistant helped by pushing me to try on another dress.

For the guys, they don't have a wide selection so it was only the typical black, grey and white suits. We got the list of choices from the wedding studio before we flew over as they would prep us on what we needed to bring.

We had to bring our own shoes, for him - socks. If we wanted a white outfit for him, we had to make sure we bring matching shoes and socks, and also another set of black socks for the darker outfits. We're not fan of the Prince Charming vibe so we went on the darker tone. In the end, the husband brought his own navy suit as the wedding studio did not have navy.

And part of what we did was to match the guy's outfit to the girl's. Since I have already confirmed on my dresses prior to going over to the guy's boutique, we could decide on the outfits for the guy better. Again, no photos allowed but I secretly snapped a photo :)

Tip #6: Prepare ahead and bring what you need.

You also have the options to bring casual outfits if you wanted to take some of the shots, and even props. The wedding studio informed us ahead that we could bring anything we wanted for the photoshoots. So there was a lot of preparation involved prior to the photoshoot.

After we were done with the guy's selection, we headed back to the studio to meet up with our photographer to decide on the theme and places to shoot. It was already in the late evening by then. He walked us through what kind of styles we wanted for the photos, and tried to accommodate our venues driving route, ensuring we had enough time to cover everything. He would also work with us to decide what outfits would match which venue better. We were an ambitious couple who wanted to do different scenes, from the sea to the flowers, to the city. So he had to plan with us and told us what was possible and what was not.

Unfortunately, my makeup artist was not in that day so I could not discuss my hair and makeup with her prior. We were supposed to discuss through Line that night but I think I missed her messages so we did not in the end.

Overall, it was a long Day 1 as we worked out the details for our shoot with the team.

Day 2

Our day started at 8am. They have allocated 2 hours for our makeup to be done. I absolutely adore working with the makeup artist they've assigned me for my shoot. We topped up extra prior to have her follow us throughout the day because I wanted different hairstyles for different locations. So glad we did that.

I never knew a makeup session would take so long but she was very meticulous with her work. I am really grateful for that. After me, she went on to proceed to help my husband with his. Light makeup and his hair styling.

At one of my shoots, my hair was not long enough to have the proper effect so she even took out an extension to give more effect. She also carried all her accessories along out and gave me the options to choose. I told her I hated the princess-y vibe and I didn't want anything too princess-y, and she nailed the looks I wanted.

What was most interesting throughout the day was the places we had our clothes changed. They will drive to a 7-11 nearby the location and have the change there. On occasions where the toilet was not available for us to change, they even had a changing tent set up for us!

And this is me having my makeup touched up in a 7-11 while the husband gets to have his lunch there. I guess the cashiers at the 7-11 outlets were used to seeing people like us coming in to use their space.

More behind-the-scenes of the shoot, how I would hide under umbrellas when they are taking photos. I've gotten a hydrangea bouquet too because we paid to enter the hydrangea photo spot as a wedding photo group. Hydrangeas were the only reason why we chose to come to Taiwan to take the photos. It was also the reason we signed with them. We asked the wedding studio the first time we met them during the roadshow.

Tip #7: If you see a particular photo style that you like, secure the photographer.

Another interesting thing was that we secured our photographer and date before we signed on the package. We realised that all the photos we liked were taken by the same photographer. So it had to be him and only him. We didn't want any other photographer because we felt like the other styles did not match what we wanted. And since we wanted to take our photos during the hydrangea season, the staff had to phone the photographer on the spot to check his schedule to see if he has time to squeeze in us.

We also took a lot behind-the-scenes videos and photos, which the photographer had said that it was ok to do so. We were initially afraid because we didn't know the rules.

Anyway, this was our team that day. Our photographer had an assistant to help him with the lighting. Honestly, a great team to work with. Our day only ended at 10pm and I remember feeling so exhausted by the end of the day. But I am really grateful for the team for their hard work and working till late at night to get our shots.

I usually end my posts with a video but that was not the end of the pre-wedding photoshoot experience. But I'll just show you a glimpse of what happened during our Day 2 in this short video. We brought along our own drone to take some shots towards the end of the day as we were not rushing for time as badly as the earlier parts of the day.

Day 3

We have not finished our PWS work! We still needed to come back to select our photos. For us, we decided to go straight to Hualien the day after our photoshoot so we arranged to come back a 3 days later to select our photos. (Check out my previous post on my Hualien adventure) I think the team also appreciated that as it gives them more time to upload the photos and stuffs. We were also not in a hurry to get our photos delivered since we do not have a date for our wedding yet. So the flexibility worked out great for us because we could get someone to go over to pick up the photos for us in Taiwan as opposed to paying for the delivery costs. (The husband's sister is a SIA girl so she flies frequently)

So fast-forwarding to the day we went back to look at our photos. We ended up having 300 photos to choose from. We narrowed it down to 80 in the end, forking out more to pay for the extra photos that were not included in the package. But since the cost of each photo was relatively cheap (cheaper than what it would cost in Singapore), we didn't really mind. After all, we were so happy with how the photos look even before the edits. 

They didn't have much edits to our photos in the end. The only edits they made was to cover up my pimples and scars, etc. Neither did they beautify by making us look slimmer or anything. Overall, we were really happy with the photos. We took back the unedited photos from the photoshoot while we waited for the edits to come in via email, which we later had some more improvements after I gave some feedback to their edits. 

They did try to get us to pay extra for photobook design but we never wanted a photobook in the first place so we turn that down. Thus, we did not get any fanciful layouts for our photobook, and instead had an image per page, which was fine with us since we never thought the photobook would be important to us. 

Overall, we had a really fun experience working with the team and we absolutely adore the photos.

You can find more of our photos on the wedding studio's website or here. Apparently, we've become their models for their photos. Drop me a comment or email if you're interested to know more about the studio we've worked with and I would be more delighted to help you out.

This is not a sponsored post, and we paid in full for our photoshoot :)

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  1. Hi Michelle, I chance upon your website while looking for Pre Wedding photoshoot idea and It is beautiful! Would you mind sharing more details about the photo studio, prices, photographer.etc.
    Much appreciated! Thanks!