Adventure in Korean Wedding Photography

December 16, 2017



In Korea, couples tend to get wedding photos taken before their actual wedding day which is probably most akin to Canada's engagement photos. Because the Korean style of wedding photos are outside of my culture's realm of wedding things, I was on the "impartial" side of having them or not. According to PH, it's usually the women who choose to have photos done. Seeing that it was something we could feasibly pass on, especially considering we take tons of photos together as it is, it seemed like a great opportunity to save money...


This was all until I stumbled upon Wonkyu Studio's website.

I was completely drawn to their unique, fun, and charismatic style of photos. So our adventure in wedding photography began.

Wonkyu Studio offers different concepts which each have different 'feels' to them (elegant and formal, casual and cute, etc). We chose "Noblesse Awesome" with 20 photos (there is the option of 10, 20, or 30) and the hanok (traditional Korean house) option. The basic package includes makeup, hair, 5 bride outfit changes, 5 groom outfit changes, a printed photo album, prints and frames, a mobile invitation, and wedding video. 


Visit 0: Before the Shoot

A few days after making our appointment (August 2017), the studio sent us each a text message outlining a detailed schedule for the day which was still two months away. For detail-oriented people like me, I found this incredibly helpful and assuring. The text message also included detailed information about nearby parking lots and things we would need to prepare and/or bring (which included things like "don't get your hair cut within a week of the shoot", "bring casual clothes", and "don't use conditioner on the morning of the shoot"). They sent this text message once a month leading up to October and then once a week until our appointment.

About 2 weeks before our appointment, we were provided with 40 sets of samples that are part of the "Noblesse Awesome" concept:


 We had to choose 10 of them (2 photos for each set, so 20 different sets/poses).

Visit 1: The Shoot (October 18, 2017)

For our appointment at 2:30, we had to be at the make-up studio at 1pm. This was something that the studio set up and just instructed us where to go. They didn't kid around with the makeup application.



We were at Wonkyu Studio just after 2pm when we had a short consultation with the "helper". We reviewed the 10 sets of samples that we had chosen, and they also had flashcards of their dresses available for me to choose easily and efficiently. Certain dresses were more suited for certain sets, and they weren't shy to eliminate options.


Throughout the majority of the day, I put a lot of trust in their choices and they turned it out wonderfully. For our shoot, we would both have 5 outfits: 4 dresses/suits and a casual outfit. PH's 4 suits were chosen throughout the day based on what the studio thought would suit (ha) both him and the set.

My first stop was to have my hair done, which I did 3 or 4 times throughout the day. 


Set #1 : Hanok (traditional Korean house)
For the first outfits, I had a wedding-y Hanbok (traditional Korean dress) and PH was giving mafia vibes.


Dress change! "Slim" with a bolero on top




Same dress less the bolero ... 


Set #2: Pops of colour with balloons, motorbike, and window pane

PH's second suit (probably my fave), my same (second) dress with a new bolero on top, and a hair style change.



Set #3: Casual ! For the casual shots we were asked to bring our own outfits. PH and I were both supposed to wear gray but he would have camouflaged into the bed. Oops! Another behind the scenes tidbit: We had to flip over one of the magazines on the floor because it had a giant Trump face on it. 



Set #4: Dogs! Same clothes and hair except PH changed his shirt.


Set #5: Windblown? This concept was a weird one. Like the concept with the dogs, this concept came in a set with another one we wanted so we had to get these by default.

PH's third suit, my third dress, but same hair style with different accessories.



Set #6: Library! This is one that blew me away when I saw the sample photos, and seeing the set actually killed the magic. This was PH's fourth suit and the same (third) dress for me but they took my hair down. 


The walls were lined with textbooks and for some reason they chose a "learning to read English" book for us. We were reading a chapter about the five senses!



Set #7: This room had a different set on each wall, so this set was actually the backdrop for three different concepts. I believe PH is wearing his same (fourth) suit and I changed into my fourth dress. 



I can't remember exactly when it was that we finished the shoot, but it definitely took at least 4 hours to do. It was a lot of fun and pretty effortless on our part because the stylist knew exactly what needed to be done and the photographer did a great job posing us beautifully and made us smile genuinely even after the 4th hour of shooting.

Visit 2: Photo Choice (October 22)


A few days after the shoot, the studio contacted us to set up a date to review our photos. Our mission was to narrow down 300-something photos to 20-something for our album/to be edited. They had a pretty organized system for selection, but my OCD/overly-thorough self wishes I could have spent more time thinking/sorting through the pictures. We were instructed basically to choose which photos of each set we liked best, so we ended up with sets that we were impartial to but that's just how the system worked it out to be. 

As I mentioned, the photos we chose would undergo further editing and we also chose the layout of the pages of our album. The edited photos would also be provided to us in frames, so we chose our sizes and styles of frames on this visit as well. On this visit, we went home with a CD of the original photos which we were so absolutely pleased with and couldn't imagine them getting better even with editing. 


The Outcome (pick up November 30)

Two or three weeks after selection, Wonkyu Studio sent their first round of edits for us to review. This was all done through their online selection process so it was pretty easy. They somehow edited on a double chin into one of the photos so we had to send one back for a second touch-up, but they were pretty amazing besides that. 

At some point the studio also directed us to select our preferred style of "mobile invitation" from their list of templates, but we didn't like any of them and just used the website I had put together. The concept of sending out mass e-invites was pretty new for me, but I'm not one to argue with efficiency. We were also asked to choose a template for a video that would be played while guests waited prior to our wedding ceremony. 

Two days before the wedding, we got notice that our photos were ready to be picked up! We would need the album and photo frames to be displayed outside of our wedding hall on our photo table for guests to see. 

The timing was pretty tight, but it was completely our fault for booking an appointment so late. Wonkyu Studio was great in accommodating us, communicating with us, and having everything done on time. For this photo shoot, I was a lot more comfortable in front of the camera and they turned out better than I could have imagined. Perhaps this is the beginning of a new, expensive, and narcissistic hobby!

The frames:
Korean couples tend to opt for one ginormous frame, but we went for 9 smaller and less burdensome frames.


The album:


The final photos: 







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