Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Chinese wedding album shoot
This blog is turning into a wedding blog, sorry, but I just have to tell you about yesterday’s experience as well and then I will lay low on the wedding stuff for a bit (hard not to be influenced when you have a sister who is soon to get married –and super excited about the fact- staying in your house).
My bf and I decided to give my sister and Michael (her hubby-to-be) a quite original wedding gift (compared to what you normally give at a wedding in Sweden), namely a all-Chinese-styled wedding shoot!
I am sure that anyone who lives/have lived in China knows what I am talking about: most Chinese cities are full of wedding photo agencies, that specialize in shooting wedding couples (in different outfits, except for the traditional wedding dress there are also several other outfits to chose from –you can dress up as a Japanese Geisha, a French knight or a fairytale princess –the cheesier the better seems to be the mantra) and then printing the best shots in a ‘wedding album.’
Since you cannot do anything like this in Sweden (at least not unless you are willing to spend a minor fortune) we figured it would be a different and fun experience for my sister and Michael, as well as a memory of a lifetime. So, we booked them a one-day wedding shoot with an agency called ‘Paris Love Photo’ (!). They sell specialized wedding-photo packages from 1,500 yuan to 6000 yuan… we chose one of the less extravagant ones, and negotiated the package a bit (for instance, we weren’t interested in any photo enlargements, so instead of that we asked for more photos on the additional CD that you get with your album, as well as one extra outfit for them during the shoot).
We didn’t tell my sister or Michael anything until they entered the shop, and their jaws dropped when they realized what they were up for. Then followed a fun day of choosing outfits, doing fittings, and make-up and hair fixing… My sister (whose name is Eleonor by the way) got her hair and make-up done 4 times, claiming that she felt like a total princess (because there were at least 3 girls fussing around her at the same time).
The first shoot (when they wore traditional wedding clothes –or, OK, not really traditional as in the west. Eleonor wore a white, over-the-top wedding gown and Michael was in a white, creamy suit) took place outside so we went with a mini van (together with 3 different couples) to Suzhou’s Amusement Park in Suzhou New District (SND). There we shot photos at 5 different locations. A large number of staff followed us around everywhere, making sure my sister’s make up was OK, and that Michael’s suit looked good. They also had a special ‘pose guy’ who simply worked with helping the couple nailing the right poses. This guy was hilarious: all tiny and flexible (bit like a jelly man), firing off cheesy pose after cheesy pose (it was the whole ‘finger on your chin and look aloof’ style going on most of the time). The young boys took a great liking to Michael and especially one of them (with this big, fluffy hair) wanted to follow Michael around everywhere and help him. Hilarious to watch. It looked like my sister and her boyfriend had a blast.
The outdoor shoot took ages… (5 different locations in one park). We left at around 12pm and came back around 4pm… then followed the indoor shoot… different outfits (they choose Geisha, traditional Chinese outfit, as well as some other, too-weird-to-describe-stuff). Another 2 hours of shooting followed until we finally were done.
All in all –an interesting day. And a fun wedding gift. And I have to say that oh my G…. how much better it is to live in China now and do stuff like this when I can actually speak some Chinese. No one at the agency spoke English so I was translating all the time, and it worked quite well. When we left all the girls stood in the door and waved farewell (throughout the day we were treated as minor royalties seeing that Eleonor and Michael were the first laowai-laowai couple to have a shoot done at this agency… Michael’s height –some 190cm- also helped adding to the novelty) and I was asked to come back soon and ‘have my own photo shoot.’
-Not possible, I said. My boyfriend doesn’t want to get married.
-Well don’t worry about him. Come and do your own shoot! Your own photo album with shots only of you!!! They all gushed.
-Eh… sure, I’ll think about it.
Hm… an ego photo album of only me-me-me? Yeah, not sure if I am there quite yet!!