Why international couples are following the Chinese trend of pre-wedding photo shoots

Professional pre-wedding photo shoot Hong Kong
22 June 2017

If you’re not Chinese or acquainted with modern Chinese marriage customs, it can be rather puzzling to see a woman in a bridal gown and full makeup pounding pavements in her sneakers while being followed by a sweating man in a suit, an entourage of stylists, and a camera crew. No, this isn’t a magazine shoot or a film set - you’ve stumbled across a couple taking pre-wedding photographs.

professional pre-wedding photo shoot hong kong

Such scenes are commonplace in Hong Kong, where I’ve worked as a professional photographer for more than a decade. However, in recent years I've noticed more and more international couples getting in on the action. 

It may surprise Chinese people to know that this is a concept largely unheard of outside of China. In fact, when couples go abroad for their pre-wedding photo shoots - as is becoming increasingly common with the growth of the affluent middle class - they are often congratulated by passersby who assume it’s their actual wedding day. Although now the norm across China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, pre-wedding shoots are a relatively new phenomenon. In decades past, a single photo, usually in black and white, would be taken at the wedding ceremony as proof of the marriage. 

professional pre-wedding photo shoot hong kong

Nowadays, however, with the ever-hectic nature of modern Chinese weddings, there’s less time to take quality wedding photos on the day. Many couples therefore choose to have their photos taken beforehand, allowing them to display their hard-struck poses in fairytale locations to their friends and family at the reception. However, I find international couples who opt for pre-wedding shoots do so more for fun than practicality, as all will still insist on having a professional photographer at their actual nuptials. 

professional pre-wedding photo shoot hong kong

Along with the photos, pre-wedding videos are becoming all the rage too, offering couples yet another way to wow guests on their big day. Coming up with creative pre-wedding photo and video shoot ideas and finding very exotic or unusual locations is all part of the fun.

Most couples will spend between four and ten hours on their shoots, while others will spend days on end touring the famous landmarks of their chosen overseas destinations. As prices can run into tens of thousands of dollars, with the organizing company providing all the outfits, styling, makeup and transport, the best pre-wedding photo companies are doing swift business. 

professional pre-wedding photo shoot hong kong

Most Chinese brides-to-be will have at least three dress changes during their session, usually including a huge Western-style white gown, a classic Chinese-style red dress, and perhaps something a little more quirky or modern. It’s actually the perfect solution for the bride who just can’t pick between looks. Non-Chinese couples usually opt for less stress, and perhaps only have one outfit change each and a few fun props.

professional pre-wedding photo shoot hong kong

Themed pre-wedding shoots have also become increasingly popular, with couples getting a kick out of donning fancy dresses and kooky poses. Some top pre-wedding photography companies have even built sets to accommodate unusual photos. Such fun is fast becoming a new national ritual, one which paints China, a country deeply rooted in ancient traditions, in a fresh, more playful light. 

Please show us some love and follow us on social media to stay connected with more of our exciting projects!

Ali G Studios   IG: @aligphoto   Twitter: @AliGStudios 

Also See...

  • 17 December 2017

    5 reasons why Indian weddings are a photographer's dream

    I won’t lie, Indian weddings are a lot of hard work for a wedding photographer, with most spanning multiple days and including hundreds of guests. However, due to the large Indian community in Hong Kong I’ve been honored to be chosen as a wedding photographer for Indian weddings multiple times, and I can tell you the hard work is truly worth it. Here are five reasons why I think Indian weddings are every photographer’s dream.

    The colors are so vivid

  • 13 November 2017

    7 Top Tips for Destination Wedding Photographers

    Having been a professional wedding photographer in Hong Kong for many years, I’m now getting booked for more and more destination weddings in far flung and exotic locations such as India, Thailand and the USA. Preparing for any wedding is a big job, but shooting a huge event somewhere unfamiliar requires a whole new level of attention to detail. It’s an honor to be chosen as someone's destination wedding photographer, and of course you want to do your couple proud.

  • 02 October 2017

    My Favorite Moments as a Wedding Photographer

    For me, the best thing about being a professional wedding photographer is getting to share in the most beautiful and meaningful moments of a couple’s big day. Every wedding has its own special highlights, and they’re not always at the times you might expect. Here are some of my favorite wedding photography moments, part 1…

    Flower Power (see header photo)