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How to Look Photogenic No Matter What: Interview with Wedding Photographer Vivi Lin

How did you get started doing wedding photography?

    I got my first DSLR camera (Canon 6D) in 2015 when I was studying in South Korea and started photography as a hobby at that time.

    In the beginning, I was just interested in taking pictures of beautiful landscapes. I gradually found that I enjoyed Portraiture more because of the stories and emotions that they convey.

    I remember going to my best friend's wedding in 2017, where I took some pictures of her as an amateur photographer. I discovered the joy of photographing weddings where you get to capture not just the love of the married couple but also the love of their family and friends.

    Everything from the venue, dresses, cakes, dining tables and stationery were also so delicate and beautiful, which really piqued my interest in being a wedding photographer.

    In 2018, I officially became a wedding photographer based in San Francisco, CA. 

    Describe your style of photography.

    East Meets Dress Asian American Wedding Photo Shoot By Vivi Lin

      My style can be flexible and varied, but primarily it resembles the Korean light & airy style filled with natural light.

      This has a lot to do with my background and experiences studying in South Korea for many years. I really like the warm and soft feeling of the images, and I believe wedding photography should make people feel peaceful, happy, and sweet. A majority of my clients also like the natural soft Korean style.

      For some clients though, they prefer a more epic & dramatic style with artificial light, which I can also capture. Thus, depending on my clients' preferences and where the photoshoot is taking place, I can help them achieve their desired look. 

      What should a bride look for in a photographer?

      East Meets Dress Wedding Photoshoot in Auditorium by Vivi Lin

        Before having a personal conversation with the photographer, you should first look through several different photographers’ portfolios.

        Spend a little more time focusing on the details, such as composition, lighting, facial expression, posing, and so on. All of these can indicate the photographer’s aesthetic comprehension, preferences, professional knowledge, and even the attitude towards their work. 

        After deciding to contact a photographer, get to know the photographer’s character and communication skills. Is the photographer self-centered? Can he/she share the customer's point of view? Is he or she a serious and responsible person? Can he or she answer your questions patiently and comprehensively?

        All of these questions should be carefully considered. In the service industry, I strongly believe that the attitude of the photographer is very important, no matter how excellent the photographer's work is. If he or she acts overly arrogant or impatient, you will not have a happy and relaxed experience.

        What is your favorite location for an engagement shoot?

        My favorite location in the Bay Area is City Hall, even though it is a location I have photographed many times. I think this building is very classic and beautiful, which is very suitable for taking wedding photos, whether it is for Korean light & airy style or epic & dramatic style. The available lighting and background can be easily handled.  

        East Meets Dress Asian American Wedding Photo Shoot By Vivi Lin

        When is your favorite time of day for a shoot?

        If it's indoors, it's better to do the photoshoot when it's sunny because then there is enough available natural light. 

        East Meets Dress Wedding Photoshoot Tips by Vivi Lin

        If it's an outdoor shoot, I like to do it during "golden hour" when the light is soft enough, so the shadows don't look as stark. 

        East Meets Dress Wedding Photoshoot Tips by Vivi Lin

        Any tips for camera-shy couples?

        East Meets Dress Asian American Wedding Photo Shoot By Vivi Lin

          In general, I will try to have some relaxing conversations with my clients first to make them feel comfortable and confident. Then, I would guide them to close their eyes and do poses like kissing or nose tipping to avoid looking directly at the camera.

          What tips do you have for brides to look their best in photos on their wedding day?

          East Meets Dress Asian American Wedding Photo Shoot By Vivi Lin

          I think that the makeup and the bridal dresses have a crucial influence on the bride’s overall look. They account for a large portion of the wedding photos as well.

          I always suggest my brides do a natural Korean style makeup and dye their hair in a lighter color one week before because the lighter hair color highlights more texture especially if the bride wants to do an updo. The nails of the bride are also essential, especially when taking close-ups since they are very visible.

          I will often request brides to send some of their photos to me beforehand so I can provide them with some suggestions on how to choose a suitable wedding dress depending on their body shape and other factors.

          The details determine everything!

          What do you think is the most important part of capturing a wedding in photos?

          East Meets Dress Asian American Wedding Photo Shoot By Vivi Lin

            I believe the most important part is the facial expression. No matter how beautiful and perfect the composition, lighting, and colors are, if the facial expressions are unnatural or stiff, then it is hard to capture a truly good photo.

            Natural expressions help make the photo look more flattering and resonate more with viewers.

            What are some wedding trends you have photographed that you love?

              Recently, I love vintage & film-like style weddings. For example, I recently took a styled shoot in a vintage style restaurant in downtown San Francisco. The autumn tone with vintage decorations made the photos look elegant, artistic, and beautiful. 

              East Meets Dress Asian American Vintage Wedding Photoshoot by Vivi Lin

              What are some differences between photographing a Western wedding vs. an Asian-American wedding?

              East Meets Dress Asian American Wedding Older Couple By Vivi Lin

              In terms of culture, I feel that Asian-American weddings treat a tea ceremony as an essential part of their wedding. This is when the bride and groom will wear traditional Chinese clothing to express their gratitude to their parents.

              In terms of the photography style, many Western couples prefer a more natural look, therefore, they seldom request their photographer to retouch the images too much.

              On the other hand, Asian brides have higher expectations regarding post-production photos. For example, they would like their skin tone to be brighter and without any blemishes. Also, many brides want to look slimmer and taller in their photos as well.

              How do you capture the vibrant colors and details of cultural wedding dresses in photos?

              East Meets Dress Asian American Wedding Photo Shoot During Golden Hour By Vivi Lin

                Most of the traditional Chinese wedding dresses (cheongsam) are red. Generally speaking, red and green are not a good color combination except for Christmas, so I normally would not position my clients on a green background, such as lawns or trees. Instead, I will choose a background like black or white, which makes the red stand out. I would like to use artificial lighting to light up the red dress, which makes it look more elegant and luxurious.

                How have you been impacted by COVID19?

                Because of COVID 19, everyone has to stay home, and all photoshoots were postponed. During this period, I am learning new techniques at home by taking online courses and reading books.

                I believe after this pandemic is over, the knowledge and skills I have gained can provide our clients with better services. 

                What tips do you have for brides in navigating wedding cancellations/postponements during this time?

                  I would suggest that the bride finds a professional photographer in advance because most experienced photographers know a lot of excellent makeup artists, wedding gown owners, wedding planners, and other wedding vendors.

                  Photographers can recommend trusted vendors to their clients, which can save them time and energy from searching for vendors online.

                  Planning a wedding can feel pretty overwhelming at times. It is best to start preparing for the wedding one year in advance, especially for outfits. It usually takes several months to customize a wedding dress. Even when the dress is all done, it might still need to be readjusted.


                  About Vivi Lin Photography:

                  East Meets Dress Asian American Wedding Photo Shoot By Vivi Lin

                    Vivi Lin Photography specializes in different styles of wedding photoshoots. We provide our clients with more flexibility depending on their preferences (i.e. dramatic & epic, natural & airy, film-like & vintage, etc.) We also offer different suggestions based on real-life situations such as weather or scenery.

                    What we offer:

                    1. Higher work quality
                    We will provide our customers with elaborate consultation before any photoshoot to explain the types of visual effects and concepts behind each photo. Communication and client satisfaction are our top priorities and we'll work closely with you to help you achieve your vision.

                    2. Professional advice

                    We offer professional suggestions for both the bride and groom on clothing and styling for all wedding photoshoots. We will work to ensure that every detail in your photos is perfect and of the highest quality.

                    3. A relaxing atmosphere

                    We're experienced in working with couples from all around the world and can create a fun and relaxing atmosphere for your photoshoot to ensure you feel less nervous and more comfortable.

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