Perfect stage for creative side
Nowadays, people are not satisfied with the norm, and self-expression is definitely the trend. Brides and grooms are also showing their creative sides by highlighting their personalities in their pre-wedding photos.
Take the fun 30-year-old 'high-school student' groom wearing red shorts, a Champagne-coloured shirt and a red bowtie, playing school games with a group of 'classmates' dressed pretty much the same. The bride is adorned in a Chinese traditional wedding gown with her girlfriends in simple dresses, and all are having a laugh in a school yard.
Then there is the masculine-feminine couple posing in a gymnasium - the 'body-builder' groom lifting a heavy dumbbell with one arm showing off his well-toned physique, while his bride is sitting on the dumbbell shelf behind him in a ruffle wedding gown.
There is also the couple who show their strong individual characters as the bride dresses as a ballerina and her groom embraces hip hop.
Ming Chan, who started his professional photography career in the 1990s, doing affluent weddings and commercial photography, says: 'For many newly-weds, taking pre-wedding photos provides them with a stage. They make their own storyline and create the themes that do not exist in their daily life.'
The wedding photographer will usually get a sense of the couple and who they are by finding out how they met and how their love story developed, and then they will discuss the couple's preferences on style and storyline for the pre-wedding photos, Chan says.
Popular locations for Hong Kong couples' pre-wedding photos range from a studio to a signature hotel and landmark, or the set of their favourite movie, overseas or in Hong Kong. Couples also prefer the location of where they first met or were proposed to, or even at the school they both attended.
Keith Cheung is a renowned wedding photographer who makes use of his work experience in photojournalism and fashion photography to produce unusual pre-wedding photos. He believes that the involvement of the couple makes an album unique.
'I firmly believe the uniqueness of the photo album comes from the story and thoughts [of the couple]; I am keen on encouraging our clients to participate in the creativity of the album,' he says.
Other than being attentive to customers' needs, paying special attention to details is imperative. 'While it is vital to be creative with the couple's portrait, the position of a piece of jewellery, the design of shade, the colour tone, every detail adds colour to the main theme and makes the album stand out,' Chan adds. Cheung says there are couples who like unique styles for pre-wedding photos, but many clients still prefer the classical and everlasting look which 'will not be outdated when they look back at the album with their grandchildren, because they believe pre-wedding photos should be elegant and solemn'.
Nevertheless, he believes that couples can have it all through a themed approach to making their wedding album.
Couples usually have different customs on both sides of the family, so there is room for a variation in styles and ambience and therefore some clients choose to create more than one album.
'For example, one album may feature a classic look in which the couple are photographed in a studio, or in front of their favourite historical buildings ... while the other one may feature a country theme, showing photos taken in a natural setting,' Cheung explains. 'Some may even choose to include their pets.'
Pre-wedding photography accounts for the second-highest expenditure among all wedding expenses, Cheung says.
'Clients pay attention to not just the production of a photo album, but how to present the photos in the best way to maximise the impact on the audiences,' he says.