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Monday, January 04, 2016

Pre-Wedding Photoshoot with Bridal House or DIY or Freelance Photographer?

" Who should I engage for pre-wedding photoshoot?"
"Should I engage the bridal house or freelance photographer?"

These are the questions that are always asked by the couples when it comes to choosing their pre- wedding photoshoot. It is also a dilemma to both of us when we wanted to pick a vendor for our pre-wedding photoshoot. 

In Malaysia, there are a lot of Bridal fairs organised in a year, lots of options and bridal houses to choose from. The part of Bridal fairs that we fear the most is when you walk into the hall, everyone look like werewolfs attempting to eat you up by pulling you into their booths or like those credit card salesman  haunting you one street down after another trying to get you sign their package (no offence to anyone, it is just my personal feeling). We went to those bridal fair a few times but my hubby is not convinced by their offers based on their quality and price. 

The issues that I always heard from family and friends are those bridal shops do not keep their promises. Package that they signed up and items that are offered often do not match with the items they received. The most complaints I heard are the gowns, Bridal shops frequently promise all gowns can be chosen for photo shooting but when it comes to the day to pick the gowns, the couples are offered the old and out of fashion gowns. The newer gowns will need extra charges, and the extra charges often come in RM 500 and above for each gown. Second complaint is that the photos given were little and any additional photos will need to pay extra excluding editing charges. By the end of the day, you will need to pay more than you have budgeted.

So, by the end of the day, he decided to go on a DIY pre-wedding photoshoot.
Here are what you need to DIY your own pre-wedding shoot:
1. Camera
2. Flash
3. Flash Wireless Transmitter and Receiver
4. Tripod & Stands
5. Reflector
6. Wireless camera controller
7. Buy own gowns and suit
8. Choose a beautiful place for photoshoot.

Here are some photos we took on our own for casual look:

If you do not have all the camera gadgets like we do or getting one will be troublesome to you, plus you don't like to engage bridal shops, you can opt for freelance photographers which I think it is easier to negotiate and communicate with them.

We did engage a photographer and makeup artist (MUA) individually without going through the bridal shop. Since we booked our trip to Bangkok for suit making 6 months before our wedding, we decided to have a pre-wedding photoshoot there as well. Getting all the camera gadgets to Bangkok will be a burden to our luggage weight, so we decided to let go of the DIY. We have two options at that time, to hire a Malaysian photographer and MUA and fly them to Bangkok; or get the local photographer and MUA in Bangkok. After a long consideration, we decided to hire from Bangkok which is more cost efficient and they do provide transportation as well. We picked the one that can communicate well in English (most of them don't reply or can't reply in English). But bear in mind, if you engage a Bangkok MUA, you might end up looking like a Siamese in person as their make up techniques are more tuned to their style. But from the photo, you don't really see much difference because photo shooting will need heavy make up than normal.

Below are the photos we took from Bangkok. We picked three places for photoshoot in Bangkok- Floating market, Suan Luang Rama 9 park and China Town.

We edited the photos ourselves although they do provide 250 edited and special effect photos. For me I would think 250 photos are a lot as you only require around 40-50 photos for 40 pages of photobook. We then made our own photobook in Malaysia since it is not covered in the photoshoot package.

As for our attire, I got a customized white gown from lovely gown (I will review more on the customized gown in the next post) and bought a night gown from a boutique. He did both his Chinese suit and Tuxedo in Bangkok. You can see my previous post review on the suit making in Bangkok. Of course, if you do not want to own a gown, you may also rent it from some of the wedding gown rental shops. I bought my own because after counting the number of times I needed to wear (pre-wedding photo, wedding day and two wedding dinners), the cost of purchasing is much more lower than renting. And by the end of the day, I am able to keep it for the rest of my life or maybe pass to my daughters.

Overall, it costs us around RM 6600++ for pre-wedding photoshoot (RM 3600++ for gown and suit, photographer and MUA around RM 2000 ++ (depends on currency), photobook and canvas printing around RM 1000++). It doesn't look very cheap comparing to some Bridal houses' price (as some can offer as low as RM 3500 for whole package include gown rental on wedding day) but it really depends on individuals. If you engage a bad bridal shop, it isn't worth the frustration and it may ruin those happy moments. We choose the option that we are able to take control and be flexible at the same time.

We did both DIY and hired photographers individually, and we are happy we experienced both as it makes us understand the difficulty of taking our own photoshoot and also the way of  communication with the photographer to get the photoshoot style we wanted.

So, I hope this post will give you more knowledge and info when comes to picking the options for your pre-wedding photoshoot.

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