Thursday, April 30, 2015

Preshoot with La Vie Bridal

Just got back from honeymoon and would like to share my wedding prep experience. Had our initial package with La Vie Bridal, handled by Jeff Ong (gown) and Lewis Eng (photographer). Basically a horrible and disappointing experience. I won’t recommend it to anyone.

This sharing is not to find fault. We are just expressing our opinions and advice should anyone wants to follow our footsteps. After all, wedding is an event with no repeat and it’s better to be prepared for what might come. If you for whatever reason decide to go with them, perhaps you should consider the advice below to make your experience better.

1) If you are particular about photos, I must say we are not impressed with it. We subsequently took up photography with another studio. Our parents and close friends all think that the latter is much better. According to most of them, the lighting and angle are weird and better shots can be taken by layman using iPhone. Well beauty is subjective and up to individual’s taste, so some figures here. We received almost 800 photos from La Vie and selected 34 photos for printing. We received 200 photos from our second bridal studio and we happily topped up several thousands to get 100 photos and made two albums. That’s how likeable the two studios compare in our opinion. Their layout editor is somehow quite good and the final layouts turned out decent and saved the day. Perhaps that’s why we were not turned off when we preview their album initially. I leave you to draw your conclusion.

2) On hindsight, I am glad that we have the second studio, as looking at Lavie’s day photos (featuring all of the AD gowns) makes me want to cry. At least now, I have way better photos from the second studio to look at. I did several blind tests using the received photos with my family and friends and Lavie failed.

3) If you are somehow mesmerized by Lavie photos and decide to engage the photographer for night shoot with almost $400 extra, do make sure that all equipment can be set up properly before starting the session. He seemed to have an issue with the remote flash during our night shoot. I’m not a professional photographer and I could be wrong. Maybe he just had some “secret technique” up his sleeves. But based on the files properties (camera model, author etc), it seems I received only 18 night shots from him and 166 shots from another photographer he brought along for the evening.

(Note that we only know the existence of the second photographer on the late afternoon of the preshoot day, and have not viewed his portfolio at all before.)

I wonder am I paying for Lewis Eng Photography or Lewis Eng’s “partner” Photography. But on the bright side, we actually preferred the photos taken by the partner and all the night photos selected in final album were from the partner. Phew lucky us!

If there is something wrong with the setup, at least have the gut to tell us so that we can change our focus to the second photographer. We had confusion as to which photographer to focus on. Logically,  we  focused on the “senior” one, whom we supposedly hired.

4) On the other hand, credits to Lewis Eng for displaying great effort in taking photos. After all, just for the night shots alone, he took a total of 234 night shots based on the file names. Out of 234 night shots, he only gave us 18 night shots. Makes me wonder how the self-rejected photos looks like compared to the 18 shots he gave us, to which we did not even manage to select a single one.

5) We noticed that in their Facebook, they posted a night photo of us, photo caption: “By Photographer Lewis Eng Fr LaVie Bridal”. Interestingly, we double checked with the raw photos we received. Based on the photo file property, the photo author is not Lewis Eng for that particular photo, but instead his partner. Wonder why there is a discrepancy for the author of the Facebook photo then

Do verify who the actual photographer is the next time you “like” any photos of LaVie or make any decisions based on those photos, in case your intended photo effect/style is not achieved.

Note that we are just stating our empirical observations and opinions.

Good luck in your bridal shop selection!