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Thread: Bridal Studio Photography - How bad really?

  1. #1

    Default Bridal Studio Photography - How bad really?

    On a wedding or bridal forum there are bound to have people happy with them and recommends them. They might see values in other areas, like the gowns and ease of service; ie photog and makeup artist all tied together. But I thought on a photography forum, people might have a better and more informed idea?

    My idea and impression on bridal studio photography has always been bad, if anyone if you had patronised their services or shot for them lately, and thus know better, please update me if things had changed.

    In a nutshell; they hard sell, they show clients portfolio of photog A but sends photog B in reality, the person selling is someone with good talking skills, and not the person shooting, who even then may not have good shooting skills. Their photogrs are instructed not to stray from the norm or be too creative, but instead to stick to the predesigned SOP poses and locations, so that its easier to replace staff if suddenly the good photogr stops working. No one is indispensible when things are standardised. Every couple gets more or less the same thing. The person shooting is not the person editing. They hire digital imaging 'artists' or retouchers to do the post process, whom often have poor understanding of photography and are more like amatuers playing with photoshop. The common thing they like to do is to over photoshop till the human skin look like plastic or rubber, very often the couples don't look like themselves after the photoshopping. They underpay photogrs, they may charge a client $800, but pay the photogr only $200. They often pay photogrs late. Some even require photogrs to shoot 4 free ones for then before getting paid. If there are complaints, they say they will retouch pics to pacify the client, but in reality just leave the photos untouched for 2 weeks and then return. Bad capture means bad capture, we all know photoshop cannot save bad photography.

    Please share info you know and tell me if the above are still happening? I think there good ones around, partnered with good photographers who work fully independently from them.
    Last edited by JasonB; 13th June 2012 at 05:58 AM.

  2. #2
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridal Studio Photography - How bad really?

    Once in a while you find one that is ok. My wedding photos were taken by a studio in Shanghai. In Shanghai, wedding studios take hard sell to a whole new level... But the one that I used was good. 4 fixed packages, everything listed. No hard sell after unlike the other studios. The chief photographer is from Korea and he is the only photographer for the top two packages. And yes, while browsing the packages and before any commitment, we were informed of who our photographers will be, and it depends on the package we choose.

    On shooting day, we were asked to fill up a questionnaire on what we prefer, what we like most, what we want to hide most etc... And the photographer is very good in posing us according to our preferences as well as what he sees as the best in us. Locations are pretty much fixed to 4 to choose from (we choose 2 out of 4), but the locations are huge, and our pictures are nothing like any other portfolio I have seen in the studio till date. And their studio is huge with at least 7-8 backgrounds sets (not paper/rolling background, but painted walls, furniture, installations etc...). Our shoot lasted 2 full days. One full day in studio, and one full day at 2 locations (half day at each location). And our entourage consist of 5 people, Chief Photographer, Photo assistant, wardrobe specialist, MUA and driver. Talk about service!
    Last edited by daredevil123; 13th June 2012 at 07:39 AM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Bridal Studio Photography - How bad really?

    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil123 View Post
    Once in a while you find one that is ok. My wedding photos were taken by a studio in Shanghai. In Shanghai, wedding studios take hard sell to a whole new level... But the one that I used was good. 4 fixed packages, everything listed. No hard sell after unlike the other studios. The chief photographer is from Korea and he is the only photographer for the top two packages. And yes, while browsing the packages and before any commitment, we were informed of who our photographers will be, and it depends on the package we choose.

    On shooting day, we were asked to fill up a questionnaire on what we prefer, what we like most, what we want to hide most etc... And the photographer is very good in posing us according to our preferences as well as what he sees as the best in us. Locations are pretty much fixed to 4 to choose from (we choose 2 out of 4), but the locations are huge, and our pictures are nothing like any other portfolio I have seen in the studio till date. And their studio is huge with at least 7-8 backgrounds sets (not paper/rolling background, but painted walls, furniture, installations etc...). Our shoot lasted 2 full days. One full day in studio, and one full day at 2 locations (half day at each location). And our entourage consist of 5 people, Chief Photographer, Photo assistant, wardrobe specialist, MUA and driver. Talk about service!
    The china big cities one's are huge booming market, they appeared in news frequent and are competitive.

    I am interested to hear if local scene had changed.

  4. #4
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridal Studio Photography - How bad really?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonB View Post
    The china big cities one's are huge booming market, they appeared in news frequent and are competitive.

    I am interested to hear if local scene had changed.
    Actually the ones in shanghai are mostly unscrupulous. Hard sell to the max, cost cutting... hidden costs... you name it... It is refreshing to find one that is upfront and does very good work.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Bridal Studio Photography - How bad really?

    Quote Originally Posted by daredevil123 View Post
    Actually the ones in shanghai are mostly unscrupulous. Hard sell to the max, cost cutting... hidden costs... you name it... It is refreshing to find one that is upfront and does very good work.
    I have an Angmoh friend who works there in one of those studio with his Chinese girlfriend, he look like the quiet humble sort, but I guess the people doing the selling are different from those doing the shooting...

  6. #6
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridal Studio Photography - How bad really?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonB View Post
    I have an Angmoh friend who works there in one of those studio with his Chinese girlfriend, he look like the quiet humble sort, but I guess the people doing the selling are different from those doing the shooting...
    Just imagine... sales staff outnumber shooting +production staff 5 to 1.

    The two biggest ones there are probably the worst... Paris wedding and Dragon photo.
    Last edited by daredevil123; 13th June 2012 at 08:48 AM.

  7. #7

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    I totally agree that wedding packages are being hard sold locally. Frankly speaking, the standard package sucks, and they will tell you if you want this add $200, want that add another $500. Photos only give you 18-24, if want addition add at least $70 per piece, 1 page of magazine style can easily have 3 photos in it. So you go calculate the cost.

    I was pressured into committing to a package during a road show when I was just in the vicinity shopping, and buying a wedding package was the last thing on my mind. Luckily, I only paid $500 deposit. Package includes ROM and actual wedding day. I use the service during my ROM, such as gown, make up and bouquet etc....happens that my wedding was 2 years after the ROM and I did not make up the remainder payment after the ROM. One day while walking in Tmn Sentosa in JB, I decided to check out the bridal shops there. I end up signing for my wedding package there, at same price, but in RM$. I gave up the local package, and the staffs did give me regular calls to go down to try gown and suit etc...I just totally ignore and tell them I do not want it anymore. Very Heng...

    End of the day, how often do you take out the photos to view after the wedding reception? Mine is already full of dust....
    "Time is often the best editor" - Alex Webb

  8. #8
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridal Studio Photography - How bad really?

    bridal shop packages are just like buffet, you want everything included and still want cheap cheap, wait till you see the foods you may lose appetite.

    my advice is read the menu carefully and ask lots of questions before you sign up. Go for ala cart if you want everything to be in your control.

    The worst place to sign up packages is at the shows, the sale person who serve you may not be the permanent staffs, they are the promoters who work in the bridal shows only, they earn commissions on the packages customers who sign up. In order to boost their sales, some of them will not hesitate to promise the heaven to customers.

    By the time customers go to the bridal shops for first appointment is already few months later, if the owners of the shops kind enough, they will honour what is written in the invoice, those verbal promises......, I don't need to tell you you also will know the answer liao. That is one of the key reason what so many people are not happy about bridal shops.

    anyway, bridal shops are open the door to do business, not charity work, in order to make the packages attractive, they will have to price it low and hope to upsale it later.
    if customers is contented with what they have, usually will not have any problem, but if they don't set a budget to upgrade what they want later, all the problems and unhappiness will sure arise.


    one more thing, if customers see their wedding photos as photos, my advice is don't have to spend so much money on it, cos it means nothing much to them.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Bridal Studio Photography - How bad really?

    How about actual day wedding photography?

    It used to be $400 to $800 to add a photographer to shoot your actual day. That photographer himself gets paid $200 to $300 only and is often a newbie who just bought a camera hoping to be a wedding photographer, or a bored guy 'just doing his job' and keeping things simple, very often a Malaysian guy coming in for the weekend to shoot unload pics (no edit) and go back.

    Nowadays I heard price increased to $1000 at some places. Is the $1000 ones better? How much the photographer actually get paid?

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    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridal Studio Photography - How bad really?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonB View Post
    How about actual day wedding photography?

    It used to be $400 to $800 to add a photographer to shoot your actual day. That photographer himself gets paid $200 to $300 only and is often a newbie who just bought a camera hoping to be a wedding photographer, or a bored guy 'just doing his job' and keeping things simple, very often a Malaysian guy coming in for the weekend to shoot unload pics (no edit) and go back.

    Nowadays I heard price increased to $1000 at some places. Is the $1000 ones better? How much the photographer actually get paid?
    I just saw one recently... where the bridal shop offer a special add -on of AD photographer for $400... pics are all direct flash and F8.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Bridal Studio Photography - How bad really?

    A search on Clubsnap bridal studio thread found lotsa unpleasant stuff:

    A clubsnap classic 10 page thread about lousy actual day wedding photography from Bridal Studio:
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/consu...otography.html

    Be careful for anyone thinking about working/shooting for bridal studio; especially note the insights from ckuang, a well respected wedding photographer:
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/photo...-business.html

    Bridal studio stole images from photographer:
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/kopit...my-images.html

    Bridal studio use Malaysian singer's photo without permission ending up in lawsuit:
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/photo...idal-pics.html

    Bridal studio pressuring clients to use photos for portfolio:
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/gener...idal-shop.html

    Bridal studio collected money from clients then close shop and disappeared:
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/kopit...runs-away.html
    Last edited by sjackal; 14th June 2012 at 12:48 AM.
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Bridal Studio Photography - How bad really?

    Quote Originally Posted by sjackal View Post
    A search on Clubsnap bridal studio thread found lotsa unpleasant stuff:

    A clubsnap classic 10 page thread about lousy actual day wedding photography from Bridal Studio:
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/consu...otography.html

    Be careful for anyone thinking about working/shooting for bridal studio; especially note the insights from ckuang, a well respected wedding photographer:
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/photo...-business.html

    Bridal studio stole images from photographer:
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/kopit...my-images.html

    Bridal studio use Malaysian singer's photo without permission ending up in lawsuit:
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/photo...idal-pics.html

    Bridal studio pressuring clients to use photos for portfolio:
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/gener...idal-shop.html

    Bridal studio collected money from clients then close shop and disappeared:
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/kopit...runs-away.html
    Enlightening.

  13. #13
    Member kwanhan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridal Studio Photography - How bad really?

    i haven't seen the output... but a recent wedding I was helping with.. the main photog from a bridal studio used a gripped d300 with 18-200 and sb900 (without any additional diffuser) for the entire AD... gate crash in bright day light... to dim church auditorium.. to dim dinner venue.

    don't think he had 2nd body or other backup lenses.

    am I being judgmental?

  14. #14
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bridal Studio Photography - How bad really?

    Quote Originally Posted by kwanhan View Post
    i haven't seen the output... but a recent wedding I was helping with.. the main photog from a bridal studio used a gripped d300 with 18-200 and sb900 (without any additional diffuser) for the entire AD... gate crash in bright day light... to dim church auditorium.. to dim dinner venue.

    don't think he had 2nd body or other backup lenses.

    am I being judgmental?
    when photographers sent by bridal shops, their style is very traditional, shoot tea ceremony, group photos, everybody look at the camera and smile is the standard shots. Shoot everything with flash, so the color is consistent, don't need post processing and send to lab to make print will able to get very fast and decent results.

    bear in mind that some of these people shooting weddings day in day out, no time for arty farty shots, no time to sit in front of computer photoshop here and there.

    if you asking for shoot with RAW, shoot with prime lenses pro lenses, 2nd body, available light, off camera flash thingy, PJ style..... so sorry, you are looking at the wrong people.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Bridal Studio Photography - How bad really?

    Quote Originally Posted by kwanhan View Post
    i haven't seen the output... but a recent wedding I was helping with.. the main photog from a bridal studio used a gripped d300 with 18-200 and sb900 (without any additional diffuser) for the entire AD... gate crash in bright day light... to dim church auditorium.. to dim dinner venue.

    don't think he had 2nd body or other backup lenses.

    am I being judgmental?
    Your post reminds me. So it had not change much all these years.

    5 years ago, at a friends AD wedding the bridal studio assigned photogr was having a D200 18-200mm SB800 and that's all. I am fine with that seriously, for $700 the couple was paying. Though it will be nice to have backup gear. But he only have one battery and D200 have a famous battery life problem. So he was charging his battery in the brides house and shooting intermittently for the SOP shots only and only when he is needed. End results are not very good lah, when it was shared on Facebook a year later, I thought it was snapshots from guests. Turns out its the real thing.

    It's not totally about the gear, but sometimes, both skills and gear are lacking. Sometimes professionalism too.

    I actually recommended a friend to shoot and he could discount $200 and charge $800 only, but they went with bridal studio becoz it's $100 cheaper and the bridal studio staff sweet talk them, and my friend is an older man they scare he not creative.

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