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How Wedding Photographer Michelle Chang Photographs Beautiful Brides in their Wedding Cheongsams

What should a bride look for in a photographer and how should they compare different photographers? 

First, a bride should look at the photographer’s portfolio and ask to see photos from a recent wedding he or she photographed.  I recommend doing this for 3 to 5 photographers with the same photography style and doing a price comparison between them.  

Then I suggest getting on the phone or meeting the photographer to see if you feel comfortable with them because you’ll be spending the next few months planning this wedding together as well as spend the whole day at your wedding with this person.   

Lastly, I think a bride should go over the contract carefully to make sure there are no questions with the terms and conditions.  

Bay Area Asian Wedding Photographer

What questions should they ask the photographer to find the right fit?

Brides should ask the photographer the following questions:

1. How soon will they receive their wedding photos and how will they receive the photos?
2. Has the photographer photographed any weddings at the venue before?
3. Does the photographer have a contract you can review? 

Bride wearing blue wedding cheongsam

    When should they start looking for a wedding photographer?

    Brides should start looking for a wedding photographer at least 6 months to 1 year prior to their wedding date. Many good photographers get booked quickly so starting earlier is key.  

    What is your favorite location for an engagement shoot?

    Best Bay Area Engagement Photo Shoot Locations in San Francisco

    There are so many great places for photos in the Bay Area! Some of my favorite locations are: 

    1. San Francisco City Hall

    Best Bay Area Engagement Photo Shoot Locations San Francisco City Hall

    Best Bay Area Engagement Photo Shoot Locations San Francisco City Hall

    2. Palace of Fine Arts

    Palace of Fine Arts Engagement Photo Shoot Bay Area

    Best Bay Area Engagement Photoshoot Locations Palace of Fine Arts

    3. Lands End

    Best Bay Area Engagement Photo Shoot Locations Lands End

    Best Bay Area Engagement Photo Shoot Locations Lands End

    4. Sutro Baths 

    Best Bay Area Engagement Photoshoot Locations Sutro Baths

    Best Bay Area Engagement Photoshoot Locations Sutro Baths
    When is your favorite time of day for a shoot? 

    My favorite time of day for a shoot is 2 hours before sunset or 1 hour before sunrise. These time frames produce the softest and most romantic lighting. 

    Best Bay Area Engagement Photo Shoot Locations Lands End

    Any tips for camera-shy couples?

    Just remember that the first 15 minutes is just warming up, so feeling a little awkward is normal.  A good photographer should be able to give you simple directions to follow to get great photos. One of the most important tips is to remember to have fun!

    Asian American Bride Wearing Red and Gold Cheongsam

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

    I always want my brides to have a good night's rest before the wedding. I highly recommend hiring professionals to take care of wedding day details as well because you’ll be surprised how much is going on your wedding day. 

    Asian American Bride Wearing Red and Gold Qun Kwa

    Normally hair and makeup artists will offer trials before the wedding to make sure you get the bridal style you want.  Let a planner take care of setting up the details so you can sit back and enjoy your big day.  I believe when a bride is feeling relaxed and happy, good photos will come naturally.

    Chinese Bride Wearing Wedding Qun Kwa with an Updo

    What is your favorite moment or pose to shoot?

    I always love it when a couple schedules time for sunset photos.  While the guests are eating, we will sneak out for 15-20 minutes.  The couple wills take this time just for the two of them to reflect on what happened during the day and the photographer can take this opportunity to take stunning sunset photos.

    Best Asian American Wedding Photographer in the Bay Area

    What challenges have you faced when shooting a wedding (rain, big family, etc)? Any tips on how to navigate them?

    Family formals can be challenging.  It’s just hard to get everyone ready for the photo when they want to mingle during the cocktail hour.  I think creating a photo list for your family photos is crucial, it helps speed up the process. Also, be sure to assign one person who knows most of your family members to keep them nearby for the photos.

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

    Asian American Wedding Couple Wearing Traditional Chinese Wedding Clothes

    Most of my Asian-American couples would have a traditional tea ceremony following a western wedding, so normally the day will be a little longer than just having a Western wedding.  

    Asian American Bride Wearing Red and Gold Cheongsam for Tea Ceremony

    I personally love a wedding when a traditional tea ceremony is included. I love that such an act is held to show respect and gratitude to your parents for all the years of their love and care.

    Asian Bride Kneeling During Tea Ceremony

    Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony
    How do you capture the vibrant colors and details of a cultural wedding dress such as a cheongsam in photos?

    I would communicate prior to the wedding to make sure the bride allows enough time for me to capture some portraits of her in the traditional dresses before she changes into her wedding dress.  I love the embroidery, the cutting, and color of a cheongsam (qipao) so I’ll make sure I have enough time to photograph not just beautiful portraits of the bride with the dress but the details of the dress.

    Asian bride wearing red and gold cheongsam

    Chinese Wedding Qun Kwa and Gold Fortune Bangles
    What tips do you have for brides in navigating wedding cancellations/postponements during this time?

    Most of the wedding vendors are doing all they can to accommodate postponements.  I think we should stay positive and know that this pandemic will be over one day and we can then celebrate how we wanted to. 

    Our spring and summer weddings are being rescheduled to early 2021 so if you are thinking about keeping the original date of 11/5/21, I don't think it's too early to secure your vendors because they will be in high demand.  


    About Michelle Chang Photography:

     Bay Area Wedding Photographer Michelle Chang

    Michelle Chang is a wedding photographer based in the Bay Area. Her work has been featured in Style Me Pretty, Cake and Lace, Love and Lavender and more.

    She finds joy in photographing the special wedding moments that bring together two families, two hopelessly romantic individuals, and blessings full of positive energy from everyone involved in the celebration process.

    Aside from weddings, she spends her time traveling, cooking, and photographing beautiful lifestyle portraits. 

    Follow Michelle Chang Photography:

    Photos & Credits:

    Bride & Grooms Featured:
    • Michelle & Tony: @michellewyc
    • Lei Lei & Kevin: @bonbonliu
    • Yvonne & Kevin: @eveeene
    • Sarah &Yale: @trisarawrtops28
    • Joanne & Mark
    • Nikki Feng Beauty: @nikkifengbeauty
    • Bun Bun Bridal Lab: @bun_bun_bridal_lab
      • Check out our interview with Bun Bun Bridal Lab here.

    Wedding Planner:

    • Big Day Service: @bigdayservice

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