Pre-Wedding Photo Shoots in Taiwan: A General Guide to Selecting the Right Shop, Photographer, & Package

Pre-Wedding Professional Photo Shoots in Taiwan
Pre-Wedding Professional Photo Shoots in Taiwan

***I started my ‘Taiwan Wedding’ series over a year and a half ago, but it fell to the wayside for a while when I took a three-month blogging break last year. However, it is the one thing that people always ask about, so I am going to see it through to its completion. This post was written in September 2014 (!!) and it is finally making its way into the blogosphere.***

Like I mentioned in previous posts in my ‘Taiwan Wedding’ series, weddings are a big deal in Taiwan and wedding photos are no exception.

Pre-wedding photo shoots are a big business in Taiwan. And the industry doesn’t only cater to Taiwanese. My friend from Hong Kong told me that many of her friends have traveled to the island just to get their wedding photos taken.

There are several wedding photo shops in every city and major town in Taiwan, so there is no shortage of options. Taipei even has an entire area dedicated to photo shops.

Sometimes too much of something is not always a good thing, and the whole process of selecting which shop, style, and package can be overwhelming. However, I have compiled a list of items to ask about, consider, and get written on paper. If you keep these points in mind, then the entire process should be a breeze and hopefully, stress-free.

[1] Ask Around

A good jumping off point is to ask around for suggestions. Do you know a newly married couple? Then, ask them for advice. They will be able to give you a general idea of the prices and packages in your area. Also, they may be able to offer some advice about what you need to have included in the contract, and you may even learn from their mistakes.

[2] Know What You Want

Compile a list of what you would like to be included in your package. It is better to have all your wants and needs written down on paper, rather than forget one of your mental notes.

Because once the contract is signed, any additional requests may cost you.

[3] Photo Shoot Location

Wedding photo shoots usually consist of two portions: photos taken indoors and ones taken at an outside venue.

Have an idea of your ideal outdoor location in mind. Some people choose the beach as their background, while some choose mountain scenery as their backdrop. Other options include architecture, lakeside, or a famous landmark. No matter what your preference, be sure discuss it during your initial visit to ensure they are willing to and can meet your expectations.

**From what I understand, some [if not all] photo shops in Taipei expect you to provide transportation to the location (if this is not the case, please let me know). However, we got our pictures taken in the Taichung area and it was provided by the shop and included in the price. This is also something worth asking about during your initial visit as well.**

[4] Special/Unique Requirements & Requests

This was a big one for me. I was a unique bride with a special list of circumstances.

For example, when I learned that I didn’t get a proof of each photo prior to beginning our search, I knew that is something I wanted included in the package. To me, it is pointless to capture a day’s worth of pictures and only have thirty to show for it. My husband was skeptical that I would find any shop to agree to these terms, but low and behold, I did on the first try.

Also, I got it written in the contract that our pictures were not to be used for promotional purposes. I know I am by no means a model or anything, but I heard that foreigners’ pictures were often used without their knowledge nor consent.

Another big one for me was to have no English quotes included in the albums. I have seen so many couples’ albums with phrases like ‘Happy Marry Day’ or ‘We Happy Marry Today.’ They don’t know the difference, at least.

[5] Price & Package

Most stores have standard packages which include the following:

~ an entire day of photographing with a professional photographer, including three to four clothing changes [with dresses and suits provided for both the bride and groom], and three to four make-up and hair style changes

**Note – Some couples choose to have a two-day photo shoot these days, so that is another option.**

~ a large photo album, two smaller ones [for each set of parents], and a very some one [including 4×6 pictures]

~ a large photo [or two] which will be displayed at the wedding

~ everything you need for day of the wedding [ribbons for the car, guest book, etc.]

~ a beautiful bouquet of roses [well, mine did anyway]

~ wedding day attire for the bride [wedding dress, a change dress [or dresses], and accessories [make-up and hair styling on the wedding day, if you choose to get it done at the photo shop, will cost extra.]

~ A CD copy of the purchased photos

For the package above, we paid NT$35,000 about ten years ago [about US$1000 at the time]. A similar package in Taipei will set you back A LOT more. It all depends on what you want to have included. My brother-in-law, who got married the same year as we did, spent a whopping NT$100,000 on photos [about US$2850].

Now, this is where it gets tricky [and why my brother-in-law spent way more money.] Like I mentioned before, the photographer will take at least two hundred pictures, if not more, and only a handful of these are included in the package [our package included thirty].

If you want additional photos, the price of NT$600 up towards NT$1000 (US$20 – $33) needs to be paid to have the rights for each extra picture selected. Hence, the reason why no proofs are provided. I know a few couples that ended up spending A LOT MORE on photos than originally intended, meaning more money for the store.

So, be sure to keep this in mind.

[6] Select to Style that Suits You

Every photographer has their own unique style, so make sure it is something you consider as well. Each store has sample albums and one stood out for me as the photos were more natural and had ‘less cheesy’ poses.

We were so happy we picked the photographer we did. We had a lot of fun during the sessions and he even climbed high in a tree to capture the ‘perfect shot.’ 

This also applies to your wardrobe on that day as well.  They may pick outfits that don’t suit your style, and if they do, then keep searching. 

[7] Don’t Be Afraid to Compare

Some couples feel obligated and even forced into making a decision on the stop, but don’t be afraid to say you will think about it.

This is what happened to us. We were about to leave and the manager agreed to give me a proof of each photo. 🙂

[8] Stand Your Ground

Make sure the photo shop sticks to the contract. The package we purchased included albums with brown leather covers which I loved and paid a little extra for [a portion is seen in the intro picture]. Then, they tried to get me to change to a bright pink plastic design because they said the leather option was no longer available. When I said no and pulled out the contract, the brown leather miraculously became available again.

Also, if you don’t like something, speak up. I wish I had to taken my own advice on the day of the shoot as there were a couple of things I didn’t agree with. For instance, they had me stand on something, so I was nearly the same height as my husband, and it just looked wrong in the pictures.

[9] Don’t Pay Everything in One Shot

To ensure you still have some power and you will get what you agreed to, don’t pay everything at the start. It gives you a little power to make sure you are not going to get taken advantage of.

A year after we got married, the photo shop we got our photos taken at closed without noticed, and left several couples high and dry. Can you imagine how they must have felt? Some were getting married within days and had no photos to show for it.

I am not saying every shop is like that, but it is definitely another factor to keep in mind because this shop was one of the best in the area.

Now, over to you. Would you prefer a pre-wedding photo shoot or one on the day of the wedding?

Luckily for me, we had both [the pre-wedding photo shoot in Taiwan and photos taken on the day of our church wedding in Canada.] The next post in this series will give you a rundown of what each entailed, what we thought of each, and which one we preferred. 

Want to know about weddings in Taiwan?  Then, check out these posts!

Introducing My First Series: Taiwanese Weddings

What’s the Deal with Wedding Cookies in Taiwan

The Red Bomb – The Meaning Behind a Taiwanese Wedding Invitation

Differences in Receiving a Wedding Invitation in Taiwan and Canada

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27 thoughts on “Pre-Wedding Photo Shoots in Taiwan: A General Guide to Selecting the Right Shop, Photographer, & Package

  1. I don’t ever plan on having a photoshoot pre or post wedding for me. It really is all too extravagant for my taste, and what I would love to do is have one of my good photographer friends snap some shots of me and my significant other.

    But with that said, you are right in that pre and wedding photoshoots are a big thing in Asia. Very insightful points you brought up, and it seems that research is they key before settling on a company. I was very surprised to read that you only get photos for a handful of the hundreds of photos taken – good on you for speaking up. It seems strange to me too that you spend a whole day getting your photos taken and you get only a few to remember it all. Maybe the less photos they give you, the less post-processing they have to do…at least you have the proofs and I’m sure they are wonderfully done. Don’t think you mentioned this, but what about the weather for outdoor shoots – if it’s too hot or wet, is there a refund?

    You and your husband look gorgeous in the photos you shared. Love the way you wore you hair. It’s so elegant 🙂

    1. Mabel, I always said I would never,ever do the this type of photo shoot, but I did. There are several reasons as to why I gave in at the end. Something I plan to discuss sometime in the future.

      I am glad that I asked about getting a proof of each photo as well. It was something that I was determined to get included, because why waste the entire day taking photos, when you only have a select sample to show for it. I think they do it this way because they want you to purchase extra photos. It is actually quite smart on their part because they know the couple, especially the bride, will want all the awesome shots as memories.

      And thanks you so much for your kind words about our photos.

      1. And that would be a great topic for another day – why I chose to do a wedding photoshoot 😀 But in all seriousness, I respect your reasons for doing so. After all, capturing moments is important to quite a number of us.

        I often wonder how much post-processing is done on the photos. You could compare the pre-proofs (if they allow you to see the original photos) and the final photos.

        1. Oh, we actually saved money because we got the photos done. I know that doesn’t really make sense, but there is a huge reason why I chose this particular store that I haven’t mentioned.

          I know they do A LOT of touch ups with some couples’ photos – especially making their skin whiter. I remember going to a wedding where there are two couples getting married at the same venue, and my colleague and I couldn’t figure out which one was our co-worker in the picture. We ended up calling someone to come out to the lobby to get us.

          Our photos is basically ‘what you see is what you get.’ I specifically asked them not to do any touch-ups. I was wearing makeup, so that was enough.

  2. Oh the pre wedding photo shoots. Though our pictures ended up great as well my wife still had to put her foot down to get some stuff done in a better way. Furthermore it is just something I don’t enjoy at all, after the whole day of this torture called taking pictures I was just dead tired and my face hurted from all the fake smiling :p

  3. Not just Hong Kong, there’s a lot of Malaysians and Singaporeans who go to Taiwan for their pre-wedding photoshoots too! In fact it is quite a lucrative business. Every year, there would be Taiwan Wedding Fairs held in most major cities in Malaysia where those Taiwanese studios come and offer attractive packages. Sometimes they team up with travel agencies to make it a vacation + photoshoot package.

    1. I had no idea that couples from Malaysia and Singapore would also come to Taiwan to get their wedding photos taken. That seems like a long way to travel just for a day of taking photos.

      They have the fairs here as well. We went to one before we got married, but quickly left – too many pushy people trying to get your business.

  4. We got one engagement photo as part of our package with the wedding photographer. But we didn’t do it in our wedding gear, and most Americans don’t. There’s still a superstition about the groom not seeing the wedding dress until the actual ceremony. (Probably because there’s no time to crack jokes about the dress.)

    I wish I had gotten proofs. It would make it much easier to put pictures in my blog! 😉

    1. There is no superstitions like that here. Most brides will wear a couple bridal gowns during the photo sessions as well as some other gowns.

      I got copies of all the pictures taken in both Taiwan and Canada. And they are all save on discs which makes life a lot easier as well.

  5. Haha! “Happy Marry Day”? Found it all most amusing as I’ve never bothered with such things. Like Mabel – grab some photographer friends, have plan for friends to share candid shots, voila!

    That said I was at a print awards ceremony and saw some of the insane things done now with wedding photo albums… including garish glitter glinting off the page to make the gold jewellery look even more bright and the wedding finery even more bling! (shudder) It was a reminder of what never ever in a million years do! 😉

    That said – enjoyed reading all your tips.

  6. Lovely photos, Constance.

    In this corner of Turkey, personal recommendations can be a hit and miss thing. Perhaps there’s more to it than meet the eyes. Some of the services offered are food for thought. Granted, Turkish are generous people.

    Last month, I was taken to a hair dresser by a Turkish colleague. Let’s us say, I was not happy.

    Couple of weeks ago, another Turkish colleague took me to a professional photographer who recommended the photographer highly. The studio was rather plush. It looked like someone’s sitting room. Beautiful wedding photos lined the entire studio. I wanted some passport photos done. It’s not an onerous task, is it? My forehead had to be shown in its entirety free from any hair. I thought I was in good hand and I didn’t ask for the proofs before it was processed. When I was handed the photos, all I could mutter was ‘hideous.’ It truly was.

    Recently, the wife of a senior manager invited me to have coffee with her at a high end cafe. She was very late but that was another story. I asked for Turkish Coffee. The waiter gave me latte instead. He told me there was no Turkish Coffee. I refused the latte because it was not what I ordered.

    In recent days, I met my English friend for a coffee. He asked for tea (Turkish tea). It was a disappointing pale colour. This wasn’t some kind of greasy spoon cafe, far from it! Turkish like their tea very strong and it has to be the colour of rabbit’s blood. They will not not accept anything less.

    The Turkish do comment on the politeness of the Brits. Well, I will stand my ground and query on the price of my shopping from now on wards. It’s no point being meek.

    1. Thank so much!

      I feel your pain with regards to passport photos. I could write a whole post on the nightmare I had when I got passport pictures done here in Taiwan for the first time. The Canadian government is very strict and they did everything that was not allowed – photoshopped the pic, the pic had shadows, the background wasn’t white, etc. Luckily, I did find one photo shop who listened and the pictures were perfect.

      I think a lot of things vary from shop to shop, and it also depends on the person preparing the tea/coffee/food. I know the local coffee shop is very inconsistent here – the quality depends on who is working.

  7. There’s also a whole street full of wedding photo shops in Suzhou! And there is a wedding gowns market too… I think Suzhou is considered the wedding capital of China, haha.

    Before I was totally against pre wedding pictures as I just couldn’t see the point. Now I think it might be fun if we do something stupid, like wearing superhero costumes or old Chinese style clothes. Let’s see what I decide in the end! But I would rather get ALL the pictures in a CD, I don’t want those books for anything…

    1. I was the same way. I told everyone that I would never ever do this type of photo shoot, but I did in the end.

      I think getting the photos on a CD is a good idea. The only time our album was opened since we got married was when I took a picture of it the other day.

  8. I didn’t have a formal pre-wedding shoot (we were offered one as part of our packaged but traded it in for something else instaed as I was feeling a little shy) but my best friend who is a keen photographer did a kind of pre-wedding shoot of sorts in the same park in London where we had got engaged, so that was lovely! You look lovely in these photos and lots of your tips are so useful, even for people wanting to book proper wedding photographers, as when I went to a first went to a wedding photographer meet up, I realised how many questions I should have written down and come prepared with and quickly made a list to take to each meeting!

    1. Thanks so much! Yes, most people in western countries opt to have engagement photos taken. I think Asia is the only place I have ever heard of taking wedding pictures before the actual wedding.

      You are right! You need to be prepared and some of these points even apply to those who plan to hire a professional photographer on the day of the wedding.

  9. Beautiful photos! Thank you for sharing them. It seems that Asian countries are very serious about wedding photos.

    For both my daughters’ weddings we had day-of-the-wedding photos by freelance photographers. They bought all the negatives and had the photos developed themselves. The photos were of the bride and groom, the wedding party, the families, the wedding, and the reception. Owning the proofs, my daughters were able to give photos to all the family members and to the wedding party as well as put together an album for themselves.

    1. Thanks so much, Nicki!

      Yes, wedding photos is a big business here. They have their own way of doings the wedding photos as well.

      My husband and I had a similar arrangement as your daughters with our photographer in Canada. It was much easier for us to pick the pictures we wanted to enlarge. It didn’t make sense to transport large photos back to Taiwan.

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