Photo: Marcie & Shawn Photography

A beautiful, outdoor photoshoot at Yosemite National Park, California
Professional photographers Marcie and Shawn Fajardo took their own formal wedding portraits at Yosemite National Park, where their reception was at. The photos turned out to be a stunning photographic diary of their talent for the craft, and the love they share between them.

“Shawn and I decided to photograph our own wedding day because we planned our wedding in two weeks and just didn’t want to scrape up money we didn’t have, for a photographer to photograph our thrown together wedding day, honestly. All of our friends are photographers, but we took the adventure to do it ourselves, and it was so fun. We are both self-portrait artists. We own a photography business and it was the ten millionth time we have been in front of a camera, so it was not a difficult task for us. Yosemite Park was amazing. It’s such an enchanting place to spend intimate time, explore and just be in love.” (See 5 simple points to note for your outdoor shoot, and wedding dresses to match your destination shoot)

Must-have items: “To those considering that are less experienced with self portraiture, make sure you have a tripod, although propping the camera up on random things works as well, but tripods are essential if you can obtain one. A trigger remote and self timer are your best friend. Your connection with your lover on camera will be a no pressure job because you don’t have someone hovering over you telling you to kiss and be intimate, it’s intimidating!

Hardest thing to do: “Hitting a self timer, running five to 35 feet in under 20 seconds and getting In a lovey dovey groove and pose can be hard for those that have not done it before. For us, I set Shawn up, I focus on him, then hit timer and run, often running in heels over boulders, tall grass, up hills, I’m a woman who loves a challenge, especially a challenge for a beautiful creative shot. I fall sometimes, its hilarious and makes for great blooper shots.

The best part: “The best part of taking your own photos is that it’s intimate, you feel and create what you feel. You see the moments you want and you capture them, you know what angles you look good at, and what side to stand on. The only downside is, you have a camera in your face most of the day, which is normal for me, but most people want to be fully engulfed in their wedding and don’t want to worry about the little details.

Tips: “One, shoot some film. Film is so raw, grainy and gritty and fun, it captures pure essense of little quiet and explosive moments. Two, make sure you know what you are doing, if you have no idea how to use a camera, don’t do it. As a professional photographer myself, I get totally offended when people say just hire a friend to shoot your wedding (see how much it costs to hire a professional photographer). Photography is a learned and practiced art, know your equipment, know your style and are considering taking on the task of your own big day photography, do it. It’s worth the memories.”

Photo reproduced with permission from Joy Chua

A smashing time with a selfie studio in Hong Kong
When Joy Chua and Roy Chan were in the midst of planning for their wedding in March 2016, the couple thought of customising their wedding invites by including personally taken photos. 

The result? A whimsical photobooth-like collage, which showcased their exuberant personalities. The photos, which were later printed and fashioned into their invitations, were taken at a selfie studio in Mongkok, Hong Kong.

“As we live in Hong Kong, the selfie studio we chose, is located a few doors down from where we live, in a very convenient part of Mongkok. They have two themed rooms and both come with different-coloured backdrops (there are eight to 10 per room), which you can control with the wireless remote. There is even a swing in the room that will descend (with the remote) if you choose to use it,” says Joy.

How it works: “The selfie studio provided a wireless remote control (so we didn’t have to struggle with self timers) and a selection of wedding gowns were available in the “prop room” for no extra cost. The DSLR was on a tripod hooked up to a 42 inch TV to help us view the photos before each snap in real time (like a real neoprint machine)!”

Potential issues: “There were problems in not knowing how to pose or finding it hard to keep a straight face (but all the laughing did give the photo shoot a playful and carefree vibe which I liked a lot).

Also, each pose had to be strategically calculated to provide an avenue to hide the wireless remote (eg. behind the girl’s back). There were also timing issues as the popular studio was fully booked and we had a strict one hour time slot to do whatever we wanted to do.”

Best thing about the shoot: “The memory of experimenting by ourselves. The props were extensive (there were helium balloons and chalkboards to write “save the dates”!). From designing, posing to choosing the photos, we were very hands-on in every aspect and we enjoyed the total control we had over the final output. One flaw though is that you get all photos in its raw form without photoshop so unless you are well versed, or have access to a trusted friend (in my case, my sister), the studio will not be able to assist in resizing and doing touch-ups.”

Savings: “We saved a lot! We paid S$9 per 30 minutes and this included the wedding gown and all props. In the one hour which we booked, we managed to take 280 photos and we could keep all of them in a thumbdrive which you would have to supply yourself. By using this service to customise our wedding invites, we spent less than S$100 in total inclusive of printing 100 cards on thick embossed paper.”

Tips: We think this is a great way to save money and create good memories as a couple. Given that it is not expensive, book a longer time slot with the studio. This would help make the process less stressful and definitely more fun.”

Photo reproduced with permission from Chen Cailing.

A romantic bridal shoot in Korea
Chen Cailing and Ling Chun Feng, who tied the knot in May 2016, opted to have two wedding photoshoots in Taiwan and Korea. The couple took their own photos in Korea, and opted for a full bridal shoot with a professional wedding photographer in Taiwan. (See also: the 5 places to check out in Taiwan for gorgeous photoshoots)

Looking for locations: “As it was our first time in Korea, we actually spent a fair bit of time locating the place, where I wanted to have our shoot at. One of the places we wanted to have them taken at, was The Princess Diary Cafe, which offered packages including the gown, props and venue.”

Learning to take print-worthy photos: “It was pretty tough at first, as we are both not experts at taking professional photos. It was also a hassle as we had to tote equipment such as a professional camera (which was quite heavy), and a tripod stand. Posing and trying to fix the angle of the camera, as well as ourselves, were also tricky, as we had to watch the time (we only had an hour there).

“It was also quite tiring, as we didn’t have the remote for our camera, we had to run up and down between the seats and the tripod, to shoot, and make it in time before the timer. But as we were the first customers, the owner of the cafe managed to help us take a few shots, too.”

Go during off-peak hours: “If you’re looking to take photos at popular or crowded places, head there early to avoid crowds.”

Savings: “I think I saved about 80 per cent as compared to hiring a professional photographer. We only paid for the rental of the gown, and the food and drinks in the cafe.”

DIY hair and makeup too: “As we didn’t hire a hair and makeup stylist, I had to do everything myself. This also means I wasn’t able to experiment with various makeup and hairstyles, and had to do basic looks.” (See 4 simple ways to get your hair, makeup and veil right)

See also: wedding budget tips from real brides, ways to slash your wedding budget, and 5 things newlyweds waste money on.