From Today's Life...
Bare facts about bridal shots

More married couples are shedding their clothes for their wedding pictures, but here's a tip from photographers: Do get into shape before baring it all

By Loh Hsiao Ying

IN THEIR wedding album are four steamy shots of the happy couple - naked from the waist up.

'The idea was to do something natural and playful, but we didn't want full nudity,' says Mei, a 27-year-old software engineer.

As a result, everything was strategically covered.

The 'nude' photos, some in black and white, show the couple garbed only in jeans. In all four poses, the bust area of the 1.7-m-tall woman is cleverly concealed.

One photo has her husband's hands cupped over her bare breasts.

'We kept in mind they would be shown to other people,' Mei says, adding that their families loved the pictures.

'It doesn't show more than what I would show in a bikini. If I can take a photo in a bikini, I can take a photo with my husband's arms around my chest,' she reasons.

The shoot, which took all of five minutes, was also done tastefully, she says.

Her husband, Ming, 28, a freelance writer, says: 'We'd seen really cheap-looking, provocative shots at bridal shops which looked really sleazy.

'There was this morning-after look in bed and the guy looked like he'd just had a prostitute. We didn't want that.'

Out of 10 photographers Sunday Life! checked with, six say they offer nude wedding photography, but on the quiet. They do not advertise the services and only offer them on request.

Mr Travis Ong, 38, the owner of Utopia Photography, worked on Mei and Ming's nude wedding photos. He says he has had only three similar requests in the last three years.

But Attitude Photography's Eric Er, in his mid-40s, spots a slow but definite trend.

In the last six months, four about-to-be-married couples - all in their late 20s and early 30s - have asked to be photographed in the nude. But he has turned them all down - for now.

'I don't need them to have hourglass figures, but I ask them to slim down first before coming back,' he says.

'Otherwise the pictures may not turn out flattering. I don't want them to be upset and think I didn't do a good job.'

Mr Rovin Wong, in his early 40s, founder of makeover studio Cover Looks, receives one or two requests for nude shots every few months.

He says: 'Singapore men can't accept their wife or girlfriend exposing themselves in front of the camera.'

The work is strictly professional, he says. An assistant is always around. Contact between the photographer and his subjects is minimal. All negatives are also given to the customers.

He says: 'You have to think of it as work. It's like seeing a doctor, stripping for a medical check-up.'

Mr Y.K. Foo, 46, a freelance photographer, thinks there is nothing tarty about steamy couple pictures if they are done in good taste.

'You show a bit, but not too much,' he says. 'It's very sensual, almost art. You can even put it up on the wall.

'It's not what you'd see in Playboy.'

Angela, 31, agrees. The flight attendant, who also declines to give her real name, got married last October. Her husband is a 33-year-old financial analyst.

They intend to have a series of nude photos done, as a sign of their commitment to each other. But first, she needs time to 'tone up in the relevant areas'.

She adds: 'You need a lot of trust to do this with someone.'

Unlike Mei and Ming who only stripped from the waist up, she and her husband will go all the way.

Both are willing to go completely naked for the camera, and pay up to $1,500 for someone to do it. 'I'm comfortable with being fully naked,' she says. 'And we want professional shots, not those we can take with our digital camera in the bedroom.'

These Singaporeans may not be alone in their quest for wedding photos with a difference.

A recent e-mail has been making the rounds. It shows pictures of a naked couple from the waist up, with the man's arms around the woman's chest. It adds that these pictures were meant to be printed on wedding invitation cards.

The e-mail also indicates that this is a trend among couples in Taiwan.

However, Ms Wang Wen-ting, 26, a businesswoman from Taipei, says 'it's not that popular, but it happens'.

Her friend, who owns a photo studio there, receives such requests 'once in a while, and they don't necessarily have to be married'.