스튜디오 사진 (Studio Pictures) in Korea are similar to engagement shots in America, except that it’s done in a more formal manner and taken place at actual “studios” with background sets, special lighting, and brides-to-be in a wedding dress. Yes, a wedding dress! I first thought it was weird that any bride would wear their wedding dress other than their special day, but I guess it makes sense that they want to capture the moment on professional studio film.
In order to do this, Korean brides rent several wedding dresses, one for the actual ceremony and two to be used for studio pictures. Studio picture dresses are usually LONG and cumbersome, but this is to get get beautiful dress shots. Koreans mostly rent their wedding dresses because they would have to get three for studio pictures. But it actually doesn’t really bring down the cost, because Korean brides “rent” high-end dresses for more than how much most Americans would “buy” their wedding gowns. To give you an example, I’m renting around 3 wedding dresses, 2 evening gowns, and few others for around $5000. (본식, 에프터 드레스 각1벌씩, 촬영드레스 화이트2, 컬러1벌, 신랑님 턱시도 촬여,본식 1벌씩. 총7벌) On average, I heard koreans spend around $1000~1500 on rent, and for celebrities or big time spenders, it can get up to $15,000 depending on the brand and quality of dress available. I’ve just decided to spend a little more on dress because there’s just so much more variety and high quality dresses from name brands to choose from in that price range. I didn’t do a package, but most Korean brides get 스드메 (studio, dress, makeup) bundled package for cheaper, which I can go into detail in later posts.
Going back to the previous topic, studio pictures are basically like family portrait pictures, except that it’s for soon-to-be-newlyweds. It’s important because it’ll be the main pictures on your photo table at the ceremony for your guests to see, and the pictures will also be hung in your typical Korean living room. So instead of spending so much on Snap Photography as mentioned in previous post, Koreans like to invest more on studio photos.
The current most popular studios in Korea are: 카마 (kama) and 올제 (olze) but these are getting played out these days. The typical well off Korean would go with the kama studio, shilla or hyatt hotel wedding, and the three top bridal shop I mentioned in the other post, but whether it fit my style was more important to me. My planner kept insisting that I go with Kama studio, because it’s the top famous studio right now with numerous celebrities having had their wedding photoshoots here and bc she usually always deals with these big-shot clients that go with the typical three. I don’t know if it’s because I’m more Americanized, but when looking through these pictures it really didn’t stand out to me. I actually took a look several times to make sure this was the same studio that so many celebrities shot at. Few scenic shots where the dress and veil is flying in the wind are my favorite, but I wanted a more complex, movie-poster like pictures. The three studios mentioned above ranges from $1800~3000 depending on your album size (20 page, 30 page) and whether you have 대표지정(head photographer) or assistants taking your photos. Here are some pictures:
Olze style is clean, chic, and unique. Many Korean announcers (news reporters) had their studio pictures done here. They are known to photoshop your face/body really well. I thought it was really classy, but again, I wanted more background.
Ultimately, I ended up going with a studio that’s not in the top three but fits my style of photography after hours of search on naver blogs and cafe: 동감 아트리움리 (Donggam Atriumlee). It has a beautiful movie poster-like background and they’ve just launched a new set this year. My planner thought donggam was not “in” with the current photo trend (close-up face shots with simple and classy background), but I don’t like too many close-ups anyway and I prefer scenic shots so I’m content with my choice!
American-style casual engagement photos are called 데이트스냅 (date snap) and are not usually done because it’s relatively a new concept in Korea. But the number of couples who favor date snaps over studio pictures, or doing both, are increasing. It’s awesome if you have the time to also do date snap in Korea as well make sure to take one! They are SUPER cheap as not many ppl do them yet. You can get a relatively great photographer starting from $300~500 and up to $1000.