Choosing a Photographer: Korean Studio Photography (Part 2)

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:

Kama: 

Olze:

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.

4 thoughts on “Choosing a Photographer: Korean Studio Photography (Part 2)

  1. Nicole says:

    Hi Angie, I just came across your wonderful blog and was wondering if you could give me the contact info for your wedding planner? Did you do all this research on which wedding planners have good connections with which studios on naver? Thanks so much!

  2. Nicole says:

    Hi Angie! I just read through your newer comments and saw that you don’t give out your wedding planners contact info so please disregard that question. I’m Korean-American and can read Korean (albeit slowly) and am confused as to find out more about wedding planners, studios, makeup salons, and dress shops? What site would you search (ie. Naver?) and where would you look under (ie. “blogs”)? Could I simply search for wedding planners by typing in 웨딩 플래너? Thanks, hope you see this question! And I’m loving all your updates (:

    • Angie says:

      Hi Nicole! are you currently in Korea? there are actually few ways you can go about finding a planner. i was actually going to make a blog post on this for the next post sine i get this question a lot 🙂 If you’re in Korea, first way is to search on naver for 웨딩 박람회 or 결혼 박람회 if you do not have any connections. and it’ll show you few sites near you that are currently holding these wedding conventions. they hold smaller ones every weekend, and really big ones once in 2~3 months. That way, you can go and see all the studio pictures that you like in person, and find a planner there as well that you feel most comfortable with.

      Another way (the way I usually find things/ppl in Korea since I am usually outside the country), is to definitely search on Naver. This is where I go to find all things. But I don’t recommend searching directly for planner on there bc you’ll just get thousands of blog posts and cafe posts on planners with all types of 스드메. to narrow down your search, I suggest typing (or dress shops that have good reviews) “리헐설 촬영 후기” which means studio reviews and reading through blog reviews after blog reviews that come out on search. this is where you’d have to probably spend some time reading and looking to see if any studios stand out to you. Korean girls LOVE blogging about the studios, makeup, and wedding convention halls they chose, especially if they are one of the top popular ones in all of Korea, and you can tell that the blog is not an advertisement if the writer writes about topics other than the studios. once you find studios that best fit your style, get the name of the studio, search again on naver, for example, I’d search 동감 아트리움리, and then you’ll find many blog posts by the actual PLANNERS that currently have the studio in their portfolio. Click the blog posts of these planners which leads to their naver blog page, and take a look through other studios/dress shops that she carries as well. Most of the time, if the planner carries the studio i like, she also carried other studios that have similar styles that i may have also considered.

      Contact several planners this way for quotes and make sure to compare 스드메package pricing as they ALL vary greatly. i also recommend finding a korean girl blogger via naver studio/dress shop searching you find interesting, and looking through ALL the vendors she used. if you like some of her vendor choices, it is likely that you will like other companies she used as well. i’ll go more into detail at the next blog. it takes a lot of patience and work looking through all the sites, but this is how most of the krn girls do it and by asking ppl on the wedding naver cafes as well, which i can cover in the next blog. hope this helps a bit!

      xo Angie

  3. Nicole says:

    Hi Angie,
    Thanks so much for the thorough reply! I’m actually in Orange County right now (Fullerton), so I won’t get to go to some 웨딩 박람회’s but I’ll definitely do some research on Naver. Thanks for all the help and I’ll be looking forward to the post on this!

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