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View Full Version : My experience with an Taiwanese engagement photo session


mwang452
18th of October 2005 (Tue), 16:32
Hi,
I'm new here but I wanted to share my experience in Taiwan when I went to an asian engagement photo session. Some of you may know about the experience but it was my first time ever experiencing this at I just thought it was amazing. We went to Taiwan late in June just for this experience so if you include airfare and everything it was about $3000US. The session cost about 2000 for the package which included 2 30x40 framed pictures, 2 mini family albums, 1 large wooden wedding album, 5x100 give away cards for friends and cds of all the pictures.

Our session took about 2 days to complete. The company we went with is called Sophia, its pretty popular in Taiwan and recently did photos for the Taiwan presidents son. Our first day consisted of dress picking and family photos. I went there with my wife and her mom and dad. We arrived at about 11am and the first order of business was the dress selection. On the first floor there were, I'd estmate, about 300 dresses that the ladies can try on and select from. My wife tried on about 20 or so dress before selecting the two that she wanted to use. The whole selection process took about 4 hours. (yes it was painful) After the dress selection it was time to take the family portraits. My father-in-law and I had bought along our suits and my wife and mother-in-law were going to wear the dresses from the wedding. On the second floor of the studio there was a 4 chair make up area with make-up artists and hair stylists. Just seeing that was pretty impressive, they had hair and make up stations and all types of hair extensions and different accessories. I've never been to a glamour shots but I think this would be pretty close except the ladies really knew what they were doing. They must have spent about an hour or so with my wife and mother-in-law. We went into the studio and took about 100 pictures of us which took about 2 hours. The studio was a black box room with about 5 different pull down back grounds and a simple 3 strobe setup. The photographer was using a Kodak 14dnc? I think thats the name of the camera. He also had an assistant to help him point lights and set up props. By the time we left we had spent about 8 hours in Sophia. And that was just for the family pictures.

The next day we arrived at the studio at 8am and started to prepare for the day. My wife first went to the make-up ladies and they easily spent about 2 hours working with her hair and trying on different makeup schemes. I, of course, did the husband-waiting-for-wife shuffle and did a lot of sitting around waiting. The guys really just get light make up and some hair color and gel and we are ready to go. The girls get hair extensions, color and a few make jobs depending on the dress. We finally started to shoot some pictures at around 10:30 am. Apparently a photographer/assistant team is assigned to each couple for the duration of the shoots and you can request certain photographers for a little extra money. I think the company has about 5 photographer and assistant teams. Our first shoot lasted about an hour and then there was a costume change. I was able to borrow a white tuxedo as part of the package. My wife changed into another dress and went back to the makeup and hair people for another look. That change took about 2 hours and then it was back to shooting. This time instead of being just in the studio area we went to different parts of the office which had different backgrounds. The lighting setup was very simple when we left the studio. The photographer would have his assistant hold a small flash that was set to slave and that would be the strobe when we were walking around. He would just have him hold and point the flash. From what I saw all the photographers use this setup. After about 2 hours of shooting around the office it was back to the dressing rooms for another change.

I changed back into my suit and my wife went back to the makeup people. After about 2 hours or so it was time to go to do some location shooting. We went to a small park about 10 minutes away from the office and did some outdoor shots for about an hour or so. After that it was off to the beach for some pretty standard seaside pictures. After about an hour there we went back to the office and did one more costume change into traditional chinese clothing and one more short half hour studio shoot. We ended up leaving at about 10pm that night, making it a 14 hour day.

You can see the pictures on http://photos.yahoo.com/lk2talk" https://photos.yahoo.com/lk2talk. Look in the Sophia folder.

What do you guys think? How much would a service like this cost in the US? Why do you think it isn't more common in the US? We have a few companies in the LA area that do this service but I dont think its very common. Is it because of the cost? I assume it would cost a lot more than 2000 to do a package like this.

I know its long but I wanted to show what the asian countries are doing for engagement pictures and see what people thought. Thanks!

PhotosGuy
19th of October 2005 (Wed), 11:36
Your link takes me to "Sorry, the page you requested was not found."
It's interesting that that was just the "engagement photo session." I wonder what they'll do for the wedding? It seems overdone to me, but it's all about the bride & the groom becomes a prop for her big day. :D Cost isn't relevant when it comes to "Daddys little girl"! ;)

mwang452
19th of October 2005 (Wed), 12:04
Sorry, the link is http://photos.yahoo.com/lk2talk (http://photos.yahoo.com/lk2talk). Typo. :o

Yeah apparently this is a huge thing over there and is a must when you get married. I'm happy I got really nice pictures for the memories and the results were worth the work but I wonder if american couples would be willing to go through all that for engagement pictures. It might be a business idea to explore for me. I dont think they even do wedding pictures, at least I didn't see any. I'm pretty sure they only do engagement pics.

jennyoung1
29th of October 2005 (Sat), 11:52
Hi, I was interested in getting my wedding pictures done in Taiwan by Sophia. My friend had it done 2 years ago and her pictures were amazing. I haven't seen anything like it in the US. Do you know if it would be easy for someone who did not speak Taiwanese to have this set up and done? Or will it not work unless I have a translator? Did you set this up while you were in the US or did you have to go to Taiwan and set it up? Thanks.

MattyB
29th of October 2005 (Sat), 16:28
if i had the money, i'd hire charlesu ;)

Andy_T
29th of October 2005 (Sat), 18:26
Hi MWang,

nice pictures :D
Just some question ... how did you get them digital?
Did you receive a CD or did you scan them?

My wife (who is from Taiwan) and I also had our pictures taken in Taiwan, back in 2000. Unfortunately, at this point in time I was not yet interested in photography, so I even do not know what kind of camera was used in the shots :o

I don't know how much it was (was a present form my wifes sister), but I think it was a tad less expensive ... it lasted only one day (from 08:00 to 23:00 hours with something like a 30 minute grab-your-lunch-out-of-the-lunchbox) in-between. The standard package also included the loan of a bridal dress and two evening robes for our wedding. They even loaned the dresses for about 2 weeks ... sufficient for my wifes parents to pick them up in Taiwan, come to our wedding in Europe and go back. When I listen to what friends of ours paid for wedding dresses, we broke even just on that item of the package... :D

As to the pictures ... they are absolutely stunning, and everybody who sees the album (you receive a wonderful bound and professionally set album in something between A4 and A3 size) is totally amazed. Only problem I have is that because of the printing material of the album I can't get them - at least as small versions - into my computer and getting reprints over 8,000 miles is a bit tedious, too.

I think the important thing is that it is 'the normal thing to do' in Taiwan. There is a road (don't remember the name) where you have one of these studios by the side of the other ... I assume there's dozens available, all set up according to the same principle. The photogs are seasoned pros who are extremely efficient at getting 'the important shots' in some short sessions, they do it 14 hours a day 365 days of the year. Compare that to the experience a 'normal' wedding photog can get anywhere else...

My wife is very attractive, but I've also seen the albums from other women who hardly qualify as anything more than 'average girl' who looked stunning like movie stars with the makeup and hairdo in their albums ... of course, the downside is that they have to explain that it really is them in the pictures :lol:

Hi, I was interested in getting my wedding pictures done in Taiwan by Sophia. My friend had it done 2 years ago and her pictures were amazing. I haven't seen anything like it in the US. Do you know if it would be easy for someone who did not speak Taiwanese to have this set up and done? Or will it not work unless I have a translator?

Jenn, I don't think you'll have to speak Taiwanese. Mandarin will do nicely :wink:

Still, as to the original question whether you have to go to Taiwan to do that ... I've heard that in some cities in Germany (e.g. Dusseldorf, Germanys 'Japanese capital') there are similar studios now ... I think this kind of studio can be found in Chinese/Japanese/Korean communities large enough... so I'd suggest to inquire first whether the service is not available in the US as well before visiting Taiwan (Of course Taiwan is a very nice place to visit)

And if you go to Taiwan, don't forget to take a dark suit or tux with you. In Taiwan, you obviously *only* wear a white suit at a wedding. And most were of some pretty garish designs, to that (with gold embroidery all over them :lol: ) I had to go to the corner 7-11 to get my first pair ever of matching white socks :wink:, so we called my wifes sister to bring my tux at least for the afternoon session.

Best regards,
Andy

PS: Don't know how many of your pictures you put online but the company I went to 'The Best Lover' might have/use more interesting backdrops for the studio pictures like a fake library or staircase etc :p