Friday, January 19, 2018

London Prewedding Photoshoot with JR Studio

Travelling overseas for your prewedding photoshoot seems to be "in" thing right now. Apparently, Singaporeans are too cool for Merlion, Sentosa, and Botanic Gardens. While foreigners are flying to Singapore for their photoshoot, we fly to theirs for ours. And... so did we. Everything seemed like it was planned by God himself after one of Lady M's friend gave her a Hillsong Conference UK ticket for her birthday. We planned a trip around it, managed to book a prewedding photoshoot, and even fly to Iceland for a trip. Initially, we had plans to shoot ours in Korea, with all the annyeonghasaeyo K-drama style, but that would be another cost and another story.

Searching for a prewedding photoshoot online is no easy task, this I promise, it takes extensive hours of research of whether to go with either flying a photographer over, or go with a destination photographer, or signing up with an overseas studio. I will share the pros and cons of each to better help you plan yours, which you probably are since you are reading this post until this far.

Option 1: Flying a photographer over

Only if you are, either close to the person or absolutely worship the photographer's style, you may want to consider this. But again, you can find a destination photographer or studio whose style is similar. You may have to pay for the photographer's air ticket, accommodation, and even living expenses during the photoshoot period. In addition, you have to bring (and rent/buy) your own outfit, do your own makeup and hair during the photoshoot (tedious job btw), and carry your own barang barang (things). Do I recommend this? Hmm, nope.

Option 2: A destination photographer

Recently, destination prewedding photographers are on the rise, producing extremely competitive results and pricing. A major advantage over Option 1 will be the cost - because you will not need to pay for the photographer's air ticket (and probably other costs), since (s)he is already there. The disadvantage lies in its flexibility, as you will have to choose your destination based on the photographer. For example, if the photographer is in say, Bali from 1-5 February, you would have to travel during the period when (s)he is around if you decided to go with this certain photographer.

Option 3: Signing up with an overseas studio

And... that's what we chose. Studio packages vary a lot, so find a studio with a good reputation, find reviews online, do research on their packages and pricing option, read the contract and fine prints carefully. We searched for a few packages in London and decided with JR Studio - a studio specialising in prewedding and wedding photography, run by a group of passionate Taiwanese. The company's founder and experienced photographer, Ray Wu, is even featured in CCTV 4, China's national TV station, for his photography.
They have several packages listed under prewedding photography. We chose one of their packages which include:

Service
3 photoshoot locations in central London
3 bride's makeup and hairstyling (simple makeup and hairstyling for groom)
3 bridal gowns and three suits
Approximately 8 hours of service (makeup, hairstyling, photoshoot, travel, etc.) 

Products
45 licensed photos (including 25 digital enhanced photos)
One photo album (A4 size)*
One 60 cm * 40 cm canvas*
Photos delivered via online or USB drive

* We opt to exchange for all licensed photos (we got about 500), including 40 digital enhanced photos.
Although we did not get Ray as our photographer (he was driving us around instead), we have one of Ray's disciples as our photographer. She was absolutely fantastic. Don't worry if you feel awkward in front of the lenses, she has her methods in making you smile in the most natural way.

We chose to have our photoshoot taken at three places:

1. South Bank area (Photo 1 - 3, above), which has a nice view of the major tourist attractions in London, like the Big Ben and Westminster Bridge. Unfortunately, the Big Ben was in the midst of maintenance work so about 30% of it was covered with scaffolding, but it still looks kinda great.

2. Tower Bridge area (Photo 4 - 6, below), which also includes a nice English street (Shad Thames) beside the bridge. The lovely architecture of the London streets is a must-take for us. Unlike Singapore's buildings which are mostly cement or glass, there's something just so different in their buildings, their brick walls - it's just beautiful.
I am not joking when I say Chinese are flocking to the Western part of the world for their photoshoot. There were at least two other China Chinese couples taking their prewedding photos at the Tower Bridge area as well.
3. St Paul Cathedral area (Photo 7 - 9, below), which is labelled as a must-shoot area, especially for its grand and historical architecture. Unfortunately, we are not allowed to shoot inside the cathedral, but looking on the bright side, the exterior is just as magnificent.
For those wondering how a typical overseas prewedding photoshoot is like, here's a summary of events so you would know what to expect:

- Arrival at the country.

- A few days before the shoot, you choose the outfits (and maybe trial makeup). They may do minor alterations to make sure it is a nice fit. You may also want to communicate your ideas to the team (style of the photos, poses you want to take, etc.)

- Rest early the night before, do your facial routine, it will be a long day.

- On the day of shooting, you arrive early to make up and dress up (ladies usually take between 1-2 hours). If it's an outdoor shoot (or even indoor but at another studio), they may pack all your belongings and the rest of the outfits in a vehicle. Most likely, you will be ferried around to different destinations for the shoot. 

You may wonder - where do you change? We wondered about that too, but ended up finding the answers in the car or carpark for myself and public toilets/places with the helpers keeping watch (e.g., private staircase) for Lady M. Well, there might be other options, but that's where we changed.
Our experiences with JR Studio is nothing short of exceptional and professional, their team from the photographer to the customer service personnel, from the make-up artist to editors. Although the final photos were delayed for approximately three weeks, we are still very satisfied with them.

For those who are considering overseas prewedding photoshoot in London, do consider JR Studio. They are honest with their pricing - no additional charges unless you want additional products. They also have a nice selection of gowns. Albeit limited, most of them look great and they fit petite sizes too! More importantly, some companies may charge for what they call - "premium gowns". At JR Studio, the package covers all gowns, so yay.
 This post is partially sponsored by JR Studio, London.