There is something exotic about having a pre-wedding shoot overseas. Imagine holding each other in embrace on a mountain peak shrouded by misty clouds, dancing in the falling flowers of a Sakura tree, or locking lips against a backdrop of ancient ruins. All of which are captured in images, turning your fleeting moments into keepsakes that last a lifetime. However, with an ambitious vision comes extensive research and preparation. To help you get started, we picked the brains of Kent from Kent Wong Photography, a visual story teller who has been capturing the love stories of couples in more than 10 cities in the world!
1. Picking a country
Research on a country that both of you love before meeting your chosen photographer. Take note of iconic spots that serve as pretty backdrops in your selected country. One thing you should also look out for is the seasons. While Singapore is basically summer all year round, Mother Nature has blessed other countries with the four seasons which magically transforms the environment to suit the shoot.
2. Be prepared to spend more
An overseas shoot definitely costs more as compared to shooting one locally. Depending on the country, a single overseas shoot could cost you more than $15,000. So work out a budget, and take in consideration the expenses of the accommodations and transportation of not only the both of you, but also your photographer. Some photographers might offer packages at cheaper rates, bringing several couples at one time for the shoot. Although this might save you some dollars, request for the number of sign-ups as the photographer’s consistency of their craft might be affected with too many couples tagging along.
3. Extra costs to consider
Like your photographer, you might need to bear the travelling and accommodation costs of your makeup artist. Therefore, you could consider hiring a makeup artist on location instead. However, bear in mind the risks involving in hiring one without having a face-to-face meetup prior to the shoot. Another factor you might want to take note of is the courier of your gowns, and whether to send them straight back to Singapore after the shoot, so as to continue your vacation. Or check-in with the rest of luggage as you leave the country back to home.
4. Style of photography
Picturesque sceneries and iconic landmarks are what draw couples to these foreign lands. Therefore, it is important that the photographer you hire is able to capture the exoticness of it all. You would not want to travel all the way there, and receive images replicating something you can achieve back home.
5. A photographer’s eye
To really know the expertise of a photographer, request to see the very first destination shoot they did. A talented photographer can immediately find a good spot for a picture-perfect shot, no matter where he is. The safest bet is to hire an experienced photographer who has travelled to your chosen country on multiple occasions. Your photographer most likely is familiar with the area, and maybe even has his own stash of secret spots just for you!
It is strongly encouraged to book your air tickets one year in advance when tickets cost lower. At the same time, look out for promotions from respective airlines if there are any. Some photographers have their own packages which includes not only the costs of their services, but also their flight and accommodations. Do tap on that to save the hassle. The application of VISAs is another thing to note. Some countries, like Australia, still require a VISA to enter. It is also wise to think about your mobility when you are on location. For instance, it is advisable to rent a car in Paris as it is very difficult to get a taxi during the peak hour.
A gamble when it comes to an overseas pre-wedding is its unfavourable weather conditions. With an overseas pre-wedding shoot, postponement is not an option. Instead, find a way to work around the dire weather. Research the climates and weather conditions of your selected country, and avoid the periods that are not too ideal for shoots to take place. For instance, avoid the monsoon seasons in Southeast Asia countries or the biting cold of countries located further away. A tip you can do to make the best out of a rainy day is to bring a beautiful umbrella as a prop for the both of you to canoodle safely under its protective shelter. It definitely makes for an interesting picture!
8. Make lemonade
Kent recollected a time when a full day pre-wedding shoot in Amsterdam turned into a two-day shoot due to the rain. And even so, it still rained cats and dogs on the second day. Rescheduling was impossible as their flight back to Singapore was on the following day. He recalled it was like a game of hide-and-seek, where everyone had to seek shelter under a bus stop, before hurrying back into the open when the rain subsidised. Despite the harsh weather conditions, Kent managed to make use of the dramatic stormy clouds which rolled and loomed to create a perfect theatrical photo. The reflections of street puddles that formed after the storm also served as an unexpected angle in photos. The couple for that shoot was very pleased with the results at the end of the day!
9. Build a rapport with your photographer
Forming a bond with your photographer is always a good idea. Remember, your photographer will be tagging along with you this whole time so treat him like a friend instead of hired help. Have meals with him, ask about his life, and include him in your itinerary if possible. It honestly does not hurt, and a happy photographer calls for better photos!
10. One step at a time
Be clear of your priorities as having an overseas pre-wedding is costly. There are cases where couples spend too much on their pre-wedding therefore had to scrimp on their actual day wedding celebration. Usually, the big day is of utmost importance hence it is advisable to book your actual day wedding photographer first, and then your pre-wedding photographer before your gowns. Kent advised that, gowns should be selected last as your photographer could advise you on the ones that match the scenery of the country you choose.
After reading this article, are you up for the challenge? Just weeks of hard work and preparation will help you end up with incredible shots that you’ll treasure for a lifetime.
Kent Wong Photography
All Images by Kent Wong Photography