Our Crazy Chinese Photoshoot

Yes, we had also one of these photo shootings in China. Ours happened in 2011 during my first trip to China and I must say it was a very interesting experience. Not that it was such a  terrible day but neither was it such a wonder for us two to have it anytime soon again.


It all started several months before our trip to China as suddenly my back then to be mother-in-law wanted us to have such photoshoot.  I wasn’t so against it at first until my wife told me how exhausting it will be and that we will have several trips to the office of this company in order to select clothes, surroundings, how many pictures we want, what frames and and and. I think you get an idea now what a hassle such photoshoot is. It gets actually even worse, when we finally arrived in Xi’an MIL took us the next week everyday to visit different photo shooting companies around the city to find the one offering us the best deal.

After one exhausting week of going around the city both MIL and my wife settled in the end for one company. After seeing so many of those companies with their sample pictures I could not even tell anymore any difference because, and I swear, all those sample pictures had the same models and themes so it all looked the same to me. I guess they just copy pasted them from some Korean company as all of them had some Korean text in the pictures. Sadly I do not have any example right now but the Chinglish they put in some of the photo albums is just hilarious.  The company we used gave us no weird Chinglish in the album however some rather unfitting English descriptions of the pictures. For example one picture in which we are standing out on a green field next to a tree it say “Narrow Alley in Chengdu”, alright Chengdu must be damn huge if that open field is a narrow alley!


On our first journey to the office we decided on the themes we wanted, an about idea for the clothes, the price, how many pictures we want and other smaller details. The second visit few days later was for chosing the dresses for my wife. This took perhaps only two hours so it wasn’t that bad. Sure, those clothes were not the cleanest around but what you expect after hundreds of people have been wearing those before and for that price…then came the third visit which was also the photoshoot day. We had to be there at 7am to get ourselves ready. This meant even for me makeup! Whaaat makeup for me? They did something with my face for roughly 30 min and then I was apparently ready. However I did not dare to check the mirror in fear what I might see. The whole makeup session for my wife was a bit longer, about one hours of something hapenning, I really did not comprehend what they did but in the end I was able to see that  something had happened. Now the bad part is coming, chosing the clothes for me. You see, they had to find me the extra extra large ones so they fit on my shoulder and then fit them around my waist with tons of pins  as it was too big there. It was rather depressing and after this I also realized that I will probably never find suitable clothes for myself in China (and I have not find anything there to this day).

After all this madness we set out with a company van to drive to the countryside around Xi’an with the mountain range in the background. That day was of course once again terrible hot but we had at least blue sky, a real rarity during all my trips to China. During the outdoor photoshoot we had to change clothes a couple of times, do our wonderful fake smiles, fix makeup nonstop as the heat was melting everything but after half day we were finally able to go back to the city. Pretty much everyone fell asleep on the trip back except me as the seats were a bit too small in that van so I lost feeling in my legs within mintues of sitting there.


No, we were not done yet with the picture madness. We still had two sets to go through. One was inside the studio with all kind of weird backgrounds and one was on the roof of the studio with some fake wooden structures. They even gave me a guitar to hold for a few pictures however this guitar wasn’t in the best shape anymore as it had only few strings loosely hanging and a hole in the side, someone must have really not liked this guitar. But after those seemingly neverending sets we were done for the day. After over 12 hours we were able to go back home. Some days later we went back there to select the pictures we liked/ MIL and my wife were selecting, I just sat around, out of the thousands they had taken and which ones should be further edited. I really like those edited pictures as first time since my childhood I have white teeth again!

After all this trouble I was just happy that this all is over. I really hope that I never have to go through this again as I am clearly not build for such horrors. However I am fearing that during our next trip MIL will have this great idea to get a photoshoot together with Nathan…


Did you go through a Chinese photoshoot madness as well? Do you perhaps know what is the thing with all the Korean in those photo shooting companies?

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48 thoughts on “Our Crazy Chinese Photoshoot”

  1. Kudos to you for the courage!

    I know these photoshoots are BIG throught Asia: actually every weekend there are couples taking such pictures in my neighborhood as it appears to be a cool area for that kind of thing.

    As I hate being photographed, I don’t think I will ever do it. Like EVER. I am still trying to elaborate about having a photographer at a (future) wedding. If it was up to me it would be me, my boyfriend and some officer. DONE!

    However, your pictures look very cute and well worth the effort! Both you and you wife are very good looking, no wonder Nathancutie is so handsome!

  2. Very beautiful shots of you and your wife. The composition was great and the lighting seemed to turned out good too. But it seems like a lot of hassle and if I ever do get married I do not want to go through all this nonsense. Okay, yes, these photos are memories. But I will do it my way: learn take pro selfies with a DSLR and a self-timer remote and shoot a few photos myself of me and my other half. A few photos is enough. I’m already working on it…

    I think MIL would want to be the star in the photoshoot with Nathan. That would be very interesting and MIL will probably be the one who cannot sit still 🙂

    1. Well , I am not a fan of this whole hassle either. Just too exhausting and in the end we just have one of those pictures on the wall, the rest is somewhere in a closet locked away 🙂

      MIL would be definitely in every pictures with Nathan ruining it

  3. That’s what happens when you go to those bridal houses to get your photoshoot. Lately there has been a lot of freelance photographers doing wedding shoots here, I wonder if it is the same in China. With the freelance photographers, you get to pick where you want to go for the shoot, and also you get to wear your own clothes. It is still crazy tiring though..

  4. Such gorgeous photos! You and your wife look so lovely in the photos!

    I did the pre-wedding photo shoot in Taiwan and I must say that it was indeed an experience. I actually have a post written about it since last year but hasn’t made it on the blog yet. [It was suppose to be part of the wedding series I was doing.]

    1. Thank you so much. I was supposed to publish this also a year ago together with my weddings posts but never really got to it. This post was slumbering in a near ready form for the past twelve months 🙂

  5. I really like your photos. Sometimes they are too over-the-top. My husband’s cousin and her husband dressed up as Indians (wearing saris and bindis and such) for their wedding photos which I found a bit odd!

    I never have done such photos myself. We got some done for our son’s 100 days (which is a big deal in China, I guess you know). Maybe we’ll do it again sometime with him.

    1. I am very happy that they didn’t get the idea that we should dress up in really weird ways. I saw some costumes there at the dressing room…
      For our sons 100 day celebration we only went out eating, nothing much else to do in Finland :p

  6. That sounds like such a huge hassle.. at least now if anyone ever suggests this I will know to say no! You guys look gorgeous though, at least you got some lovely photos from all the torture 🙂

    1. Now as I know how much trouble this all is I would thankfully decline any ideas of such pictures again. Though we have these nice pictures they are just not being used at all. A big framed picture is hanging in our bedroom and some weird looking glass cube with pictures is somewhere around our living room:)

  7. The photos look really fantastic. I hope, in the end, you and your wife are satisfied by them. I suppose professional photos are worth it??? I don’t know. I’ll never do it, especially after hearing your ordeal! 😀

  8. Somehow that teddy bear prop in a photo is so…Asian!

    I’m sure you and wife look back on photos and marvel how care-free, a bit younger you both look. 🙂 Having children creates life’s challenges.

  9. Though those photos look really good I can just imagine the hassle you two went through. My husband and I thought about doing a wedding photo shoot at the time, but in the end we just didn’t have the time. We got married in germany and had the celebration in china exactly one week later so we essentially had just this one week to get everything ready. If the endless talks about flowers, table arrangement, etc. are any indication I am not suited for a lenghty photoshoot ^^”

    1. Well we had the photo shoot one year before our wedding so I think there is no real time line for such pictures. Some friends even took their second wedding pictures, 10years after their wedding 🙂

  10. Your pictures came out great! Sticking with pictures in the studio would be so much easier.

    I went to Korea for my friends wedding photo shoot and pretty much watched her take pictures all day. She said she started getting ready at 7am. And her shoot didn’t start until 10am (and ended at 5 pm). She got to see her pictures immediately after and that took a couple more hours. So it really was an exhausting day for her, and all of this was only 2 days before her wedding.

    Since she was planning her wedding from the US, she had a wedding planner help her get all of the pricing etc, but we went through quite a few websites and sample pictures and finally narrowed it down to 3 companies. In the end her final pictures looked almost identical to the samples we saw online. I have a little post about her wedding shoot, since we got a few “bridesmaids” pictures with her.

    For my friend the photo shoot was really important, and she said the whole thing was worth it and that she would do it again on occasion. She was actually bummed out when she couldn’t get a photo shoot for her son because they don’t live in Korea.

    1. I guess the whole photo shoot thing came from Korea to China. Every Chinese household I have visited has these pictures and a majority looks the same. So far I’ve seen only few with different themes.
      The thing is that these pictures are usually on some hard drive, DVD or some album lost in some storage room and the only thing you usually see are one or two pictures hanging on the wall. Hence I do not really know whether it is worth it or not 🙂

      (I really hope we don’t have to go through all the trouble for a son as we’ll, just too exhausting, especially for him)

  11. I remember seeing advertisement for such photo shoots, when I was in Taiwan. Most of it was wedding packages, but you could be styled like popstarts and unicorns, should you wish so. Sounds like a rough day, but the pictures are really nice, even the one with the tortured guitar:)

  12. Is it not common for a couple to do this before the wedding? Here, it’s pretty much the thing to do before the wedding, they call it the pre-wedding shoot and you get to travel to other countries if you want the photos shot overseas. I have a few wedding photographer friends who travels frequently because of this. All in all, it is quite fun to do though, we usually like to display these photos in the house after the wedding…:)

    1. I actually don’t know how common it is. Most of the spectacular outdoor themes are faked and the couple is photoshopped into some scenes so they don’t have to travel far 🙂

      1. Lol, really? Haha…well, I can assure you that this does not happen in Singapore. …they really travel overseas for the phototaking, no fake background here unless they want it of course…✌😄

      2. So far I’ve seen in China only those fake background or going around the nearby area. Well, traveling extra for the photo shoot is also rather expensive. When I think what a fortune it costs already to travel as a couple and then still paying everything for the photographer and the rest of the team, two years salary goodbye :p

  13. Wow, that’s a lot of work! But, the photos came out really well. I especially like the photo on the cover of your blog ^^ I just did studio photos, but even that took all day long and several wardrobe changes. Even though I had to go through the most effort with clothes and posing, my fiancé complained a lot because of the long waiting times. At least you have nice photos, even if it was a lot of trouble to get them! Looking forward to the Nathan & family photoshoot during the next China trip… even if you aren’t! ^^

    1. Oh don’t you dare to wish for a family photoshoot! I enjoyed the waiting times and hated when the pictures were taken. Somehow I learned the skill to keep my eyes open when the sun is shining on me :p

      1. I hope you will not have to endure the pain of the family photoshoot! But the photos would be very nice. I suppose I don’t mind getting my photograph taken and so I am not so highly opposed as you are. I can’t keep my eyes open in the sun! It’s too bright!

  14. “not built for such horrors”, haha, I can totally relate to this feeling. I told my friends, I know now, why people only marry once in their lives, they don’t want to experience this “horror” again! At the end of our photoshooting day, I was too exhausted to even fake any smile and just wanted to sleep. But the pictures are great!

  15. Great pictures ! We had a Bollywood photoshoot during our honeymoon in Switzerland. Hubby, who is Tamil, wasn’t too pleased about that lol. But I think it makes a nice souvenir.

    1. Thank you! In Asian countries they takes this whole wedding photoshoot to some extremes. Everytime I’ve been to China I saw couples having their photo sessions everyday around the city.

      Must have been a nice experience to have this kind of Bollywood photoshoot in Switzerland 🙂

  16. Such wonderful photos, so perhaps it was worth all the angst! I remember ours, (even though not in Asia, in Edinburgh, Scotland,) did seem to go on for quite sometime and after a while our smiles were perhaps fixed rather than natural. On top of this my husband is much taller than me and the photographer got him to bend his leg so the height difference wouldn’t be so obvious. At the end of it all I expect he had a sore leg!

    1. I bet it was some good workout for your husband! I am not too much taller than my wife so there was no need for such things but I surely had some muscle pain in my face next day!

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