Portrait photography has long since moved on from studio images with dark backgrounds and stiff poses that look as if they come from the Victorian era. A family portrait no longer means austere faces, rigid bodies and formal settings. Photography today is only as limited as the imagination of the photographer, and creativity plays a big role. Backgrounds are becoming more imaginative, subjects more relaxed and photographers increasingly eager to produce something that is different. One company that aims to be all these things while capturing the personality of its subjects is La Sposa Wedding Services. Potential clients can be forgiven for assuming the company specialises only in wedding photography. In fact, their services also embrace photography for magazines and advertisements, professional portraits, family portraits and mother-and-baby portraits. The latter comes in the form of a mum-to-be-package. It includes sessions of photography of the mother before the baby is born, and four sessions that record the baby's growth at different stages in its first year. Photographer Francis Sung is a former film director who set up the company with his wife 18 years ago. He believes that emotion is the most important element in a photograph. Many of La Sposa's customers who go for the mother-baby package are returnee clients who had employed the company to take their wedding photographs. Clients are mostly young Chinese couples who take their wedding photographs very seriously. When La Sposa began, the company used a studio for backdrops for wedding assignments, but today most couples prefer to have their wedding photographs taken outdoors, and parks are especially popular for photo-shoots. La Sposa encourages clients to incorporate their personal story into their wedding pictures. For example, couples might choose to have their pictures taken at the school where they first met, or their favourite rendezvous points, such as a restaurant. One couple wanted their pictures taken in a cemetery that had a special significance for them. The company's latest experiment is to offer overseas photography packages for couples. Several set packages at different locations are available, with prices starting from around $60,000. The packages can be tailor-made to the clients' requests. Over the past two months, Sung and his team of assistants have photographed half a dozen couples on locations ranging from Taiwan to France and Spain. The general uncertainties that go with any overseas endeavour generate a spontaneity that makes for unusual, creative photography, Sung said. 'In the case of one couple on location in Spain, we used nearby crowds as extras.'