Tips + Ideas

Planning for an overseas shoot

Whenever I go to a foreign country, I don’t know what to expect. The surroundings are unfamiliar, I don’t know where the best angles are to shoot from, what time the sun rises and goes down, whether we will get chased away from locations (which did happen)… there’s just so many uncertainties. But the thrill of being in an exotic country shooting portraits is every photographer’s dream.

It’s only been a few days into my trip, but I’ve already learnt a few things, which hopefully will help brides and grooms plan for a pre-wedding / engagement or portrait shoot overseas.

1. Do your research about the locations you’d love to shoot at. How far is one location to another? Do we need to allocate more days for the shoot? Edwin and Dawn, my couple in Turkey, did an amazing job researching all the best places to go to and knew exactly what they wanted. It helps the photographer a lot!

2. It is best to travel with a make up artist, if possible. It gives you flexibility as you can decide when to start your shoot. And it’s a lot easier communicating with a Malaysian make up artist than one who speaks a foreign language! Unless of course, you’re like Dawn, who has an amazing Turkish vocabulary even though this is only her 2nd time in Turkey. For your information, a make up artist in Turkey is called a makyaj (pronounced mak-kias).

3. Do bring your own gowns and outfits (I think that’s quite obvious!). Though you can do some portraits in a casual outfit, I think it’s quite different wearing your wedding gown or a beautiful evening gown against a scenic backdrop.

4. Depending on the season you travel in, there are pros and cons – for example, if you go in summer months when there are heaps of tourists, you may have to visit major tourist hotspots in the wee hours of the morning or at night if you want to get shots without tourists in the background. For winter months, the sun sets earlier, so do plan for that, because it means less daylight for your shoot!

5. If you plan to go inside a tourist location, be prepared to be chased away. Most locations require some sort of permission – but in our case, even if permission is granted, sometimes it can be taken away! Nothing is certain when you are traveling… just be prepared to be flexible and not get upset when things don’t go the way you expect it to.

6. Be prepared to walk a lot. So do bring along a good pair of walking shoes, especially when you are not posing with your heels!

7. For photographers, here’s a tip – tripods and monopods are considered “professional” gear – at some locations, you will be required to check it in before entry. If you don’t need one, leave it behind. We had a monopod with us as we’re doing a bit of video, and the trained guards spotted it a mile away!

At the end of the day, have fun, enjoy yourselves and create memorable images!

Why shoot a pre-wedding?

Some couples tell me that they are into candid shots and don’t really want to do a pre-wedding shoot. All they want are candid shots that show how people are having a great time in their wedding. While that is absolutely important, I do think that it’s equally important to shoot pre-wedding photos. Or post-wedding. Or set aside time on your wedding day, (if only for an hour!) for portraits.

Ok, I am not trying to sell you more of my services (though of course, I’d LOVE to shoot more pre-weddings!).

What’s my reasoning for portraits? Well, how often in your life, have you done a professional photo shoot? And what’s the best time for that than your wedding… when you have most probably slaved at the gym for months to be in your best shape, gone for beauty treatments and spent a thousand dollars or more on your gorgeous gown?

To be honest, I never had a pre-wedding shoot for my wedding, but I set aside some time on the wedding day for portraits. I did realize though that I was constantly chasing after time, (hurry, we gotta get from my house to your parent’s place, or we gotta head to the hotel like NOW!!). On hindsight, I think I would have enjoyed a pre-wedding shoot, done on another day, at a more leisurely pace. Sometimes, I still have crazy ideas like donning my wedding gown (which I haven’t tried on for 4 years, but still hangs in my cupboard, or is in a box?) and doing a post-wedding shoot!

Some of my clients come up with absolutely creative ideas for their pre-wedding shoot, and I love that. I think the first thing that people think of when wanting to shoot a pre-wedding is the question, “Where should we go?”. So here are some tips for brides and grooms who are planning on getting a pre-wedding shoot done.

1. What is your personality like?

Are you a bubbly person, an extrovert who loves to laugh a lot and chat nineteen to the dozen, or are you an introvert who prefers to sit with your books and enjoy quiet moments with just yourself and your hubby? Are you a hopeless romantic at heart? Your photos should reflect your personality. So if you’re a quirky, non-conforming kind of person, the type of location you choose would reflect that.

Simple and glamourous

Dramatic and moody


Just love to have fun!

Simple contentment

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That rectangular shape…

At approximately 1pm everyday, the postman would arrive in our neighbourhood. When I was a child, I looked forward to letters in the mail box. Did it contain a letter from my penpal in Turkey? Or was it a postcard from my brother in New Zealand? Or perhaps some photos from my aunt in Australia? Whatever came through that mail box, I would save all the stamps from those envelopes, some more special than others. But the years went by, and soon, the letters would be few and far between.

Nowadays, I mainly receive junk mail and bills in the mail box. And so, whenever the odd mail with the handwritten address finds its way to my mail box, I know for certain that it’s a wedding invite. Like an excited school girl, I would usually tear the envelope ungracefully, and peek into the envelope, excited to see the contents of that mail.

And what delight it is to find that people do pay attention to their wedding invites. I love it when I receive beautiful cards in the mail. The texture, the fonts, the colour… everything screams perfection. Just like this Save the Date card that was sent to my home recently. What creativity!

And as a note to my clients, I do enjoy receiving thank you cards in the mail too! :) *hint hint*

Wedding Ideas

Where does a would-be bride go to for some good recommendations on vendors and wedding ideas? Overseas, there are heaps of wedding portals to visit for ideas, but when it comes to finding vendors who would actually make those cute-little-couple-kissing-salt&pepper-shaker wedding favours you’ve been eyeing in Malaysia, it’s hard to find. Here are two recommendations for Wedding portals that you should definitely check out (click on the logo to visit their site). Of course, Stories by Integricity Visuals is in their directory listing! :)

The directory listing in Weddings Malaysia encompasses every aspect of a wedding. From cake vendors, make up artists, where to go to for a spa, decorations, even finding a Master of Ceremony… you can find it under one ‘roof’ or rather, under one website in Weddings Malaysia. The person behind Weddings Malaysia, Kris Wong, is also the man who spearheads That Special Occasion, a boutique that churns out beautiful wedding gowns.

Wedding Guide Asia was started by Stephanie Chai, who decided that hip Malaysian brides needed a space to find good, trustworthy advice and ideas for her wedding. Wedding Guide Asia is a wedding portal catered for the Asian bride who wants something a little more stylish and unique for her wedding. You can find articles ranging from fashion to planning to honeymoons.

Sometime soon, I will be blogging a little about my wedding 4 years ago, and how some ideas started. Alex and I went all out in getting our wedding favours from Bangkok Thailand, and assisted the help of our maids and family members in preparing it! And we partially handmade our wedding invites – all 1000 of it. Yup, we had 3 wedding receptions and there were about 1000 people to invite! Now that I look back at it, it was a crazy decision to do it, but we had fun in the process. I am glad that Alex is the kind of man who is interested in the wedding planning process! But more on that in another post!

Techie wedding features an iPad and an iPhone

Well, Steve Jobs has done it again – creating lust in the hearts of many with the newly launched Apple iPad. This couple got married and had lots of Apple product branding featured. No, I don’t think Apple is going to give them money for their video, though.

Many mixed comments were hurled on YouTube, but let’s just relax and let them have their special day the way they chose. Watch and enjoy.