How To DIY An Overseas Pre-Wedding Photo Shoot

·4-min read
You can save a whole lotta $$$ if you do your research and exercise due diligence.
You can save a whole lotta $$$ if you do your research and exercise due diligence.
You can save a whole lotta $$$ if you do your research and exercise due diligence. | Photos: Gwen Tay

When the gahmen announced that the borders would be opened for travel (finally!), my husband and I instantly glanced at each other as if to say “overseas pre-wedding shoot ai mai?”

We initially gravitated towards getting a pre-wedding shoot package because who doesn’t want someone to bao kah liao? However, it dawned on us that getting a package to do our photoshoot overseas would be very expensive. Instead, by DIY-ing everything ourselves, we managed to shave 30-40% off the pre-wedding photoshoot package cost.

Interested to save $$$? Here’s how we embarked on the path less taken.

An unforgettable moment with my S.O. in the Tuileries Garden in Paris, France.
An unforgettable moment with my S.O. in the Tuileries Garden in Paris, France.
An unforgettable moment with my S.O. in the Tuileries Garden in Paris, France. | Photos: Gwen Tay
Engaging a photographer who is accustomed to pre-wedding photo shoots will save you plenty of time.
Engaging a photographer who is accustomed to pre-wedding photo shoots will save you plenty of time.
Engaging a photographer who is accustomed to pre-wedding photo shoots will save you plenty of time. | Photo: Gwen Tay

Pick a destination that’s mainstream enough

I get it. You want to shoot at a magical destination that none of your friends have ever been to. Realistically, that would also mean getting local vendors who specialise in pre-wedding shoots – a possibly uphill task.

While shortlisting potential destinations, we found that certain countries (such as France, Italy, or Australia) are popular for pre-wedding photos, and therefore already have a pool of vendors to choose from.

You might think to yourself – how hard can it be finding a photographer who specialises in weddings to do your pre-wedding photos? Photog is photog, same-same, right? Not necessarily.

Having a photographer who is accustomed to pre-wedding photo shoots would save you a lot of time while shooting as he/she would be experienced enough to guide you through the poses and position you, in addition to knowing the best spots to shoot at.

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Research, but also exercise due diligence

I’m not going to sugar-coat it – shortlisting vendors by yourself is no walk in the park. It took me countless days of searching through Instagram to find the right people for the job.

One thing for sure, it gets easier as you discover more vendors. Photographers usually tag make-up artists, florists, gown rental providers, and vice versa. Occasionally, they even tag their clients.

One thing I tried to spot was whether the “clients” were ordinary folk like you and me, or whether there was a high percentage of influencers in their marketing material or social media posts. This is a red flag for me, because their portfolio might be built through paying influencers to advertise for them.

After shortlisting a few contenders, I spent more time going through reviews on multiple sources (Google, Facebook, and Instagram) to see if there was any negative feedback (even if the bulk of the reviews were positive). Call me kiasu, but I even DM-ed a previous client to get her honest reviews on the whole experience.

I had a lot of questions for my photographer. A. Lot.
I had a lot of questions for my photographer. A. Lot.
I had a lot of questions for my photographer. A. Lot. | Image: Gwen Tay

Don’t always go for the cheapest quote

While we Singaporeans love a good bargain, cheapest may not always be the best. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Make sure your vendors provide you with a quote that includes the nitty-gritty details so that you can do an apple-to-apple comparison. For instance, a photographer may quote you significantly lower than others for the same number of hours of shooting, but may only provide you with very few edited photos. You can avoid rude shocks like this by being thorough and asking about everything in advance. I managed to do all this through e-mails, video calls and even a dedicated WhatsApp group chat long before our scheduled trip.

Another thing to take note of is their deposit policy – anything that requires more than 50% upfront payment is quite sus and warrants further negotiation to bring it down. For all of the vendors I identified, I did not have to fork out more than 30% upfront to secure their services.

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Prepare for contingencies

In this case, over-planning is always better than under-planning. Think of possible scenarios that might ruin your plan – from flight delays, to wet weather, to public transport strikes.

For example, you can discuss with your photographer on a “what if?” wet-weather plan – things like postponing the shoot to another day or time, shooting indoors, or even going ahead with the shoot but with certain props to make the photos look like they came straight out of a K-drama.

Pro tip: In my case, I brought along my faux bridal bouquet from Singapore for the photo shoot. This was so I could avoid having to fork out an exorbitant sum for a fresh bouquet in the event that my luggage went missing. I also packed my bouquet in my carry-on luggage for peace of mind. Settle liao.

Photo: Gwen Tay

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