Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Engagement Photoshoot

This part of the wedding process is probably the one I've looked forward to the most for the bulk of my adult life. The engagement photoshoot. In Malaysia we always called it "pre-wedding photoshoot" and it cost at least RM500, and that was if your friend was a photographer and was willing to do you a big favor. Most of my friends spent about RM5,000 to RM10,000 on their pre-wedding pictures -- and of course they were fabulous pictures, with glorious editing and storytelling and multiple outfit changes. In an Asian can't-lose-face culture, it's all about the optics, and an expensive photoshoot is always worth the investment. However, as you may well know based on my "Austinasian Bride on a Budget" vlog series, we're doing all we can to keep to the $1,500 budget.

For the past month, Facebook has been bombarding me with ads for engagement photographers that cost at least $1,000. Luckily, though, Darren's coworker and friend Linda is a freelance photographer at Twisted X's Photography. For a hugely discounted rate at $150, she took us on a picture-perfect journey covering four locations with three cameras over two days. We went to two murals that I really wanted to go to - the "Greetings from Austin" postcard mural just outside Roadhouse Relics and the "You're My Butter Half" one on top of a small hill. We also went to the Capitol and Zilker Park to get some cityscape shots!

It was unexpectedly difficult to keep the cost of the photoshoot low - it turns out most of the picturesque places charge a heap of $$$ for you to take engagement pictures there. We're talking $200 to $400 just to use the place for a couple of hours! So we had to find places that were free and would also make good locations for photoshoots. Then there was the part where I didn't want all the pictures to just be of me and Darren, because anyone seeing those pictures might get bored really fast. So I made a bunch of props for the pictures based on ideas I got off Pinterest, Etsy and geek-wedding sites. (You can probably follow the pics on my Instagram.) Many times I was tempted to buy props from Etsy or Michaels but I was able to resist the shopaholic urge from within. The good thing about the U.S. is that you can buy props from stores, use them, and return them after the shoot, which is something I should probably take advantage of if I were wise enough but for some annoying reason I feel guilty to do that... to return anything unless I legitimately bought the wrong item or it doesn't work, especially since I am such a regular customer at craft stores. ;(

The photoshoots were hot, sweaty and exhausting in the 104-degree Texas summer, but it was really sweet of Darren to be such a trooper through it all considering how much he hates pictures, and it was really nice of Linda to help us out like this. I'm super excited to get the pictures and will definitely upload my favorite ones on to this blog. :)

In the meantime, enjoy Episodes 2 and 3 of my Austinasian Bride on a Budget vlog series! Subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want to see more of my silly videos, haha.