I’ve never taken professional studio shots before. Being generally budget conscious, my maternity photo shoot was done at a self-photography studio where we had to take our own photos. It was done entirely indoors – there were props to use and it cost less than $50. We had another family photo shoot (also self shot) with Elise when she was 3 months old which we used to make our calendar. To celebrate her first birthday, we decided to opt for a professional shoot.
I first noticed Korean concept photography a few years back. During our most recent trip to Korea, we flipped through 1st year baby photo albums of our friends and relatives and were determined to do it. As luck would have it, Elise fell ill and missed her appointment. By the time she recovered, it was Chuseok and the studios were closed.
Since I wanted to capture her at one year old, I did a bit of research on Korean photography studios in Singapore. There are two studios offering Korean style photography, BabyU and Baobab Tree Studio. I decided to go with BabyU as their head photographer had over 20 years’ experience and I liked what I saw on their Facebook page.
Located in a residential bungalow, the studio was bright with large, full length doors to allow lots of natural sunlight. There was a spacious garden outside, presumably for outdoor shoots. The studio was wide and clean with lots of props and furniture. They have backdrops with professional lighting equipment but they prefer to use natural lighting for their shots.
The team is made up of about 10-15 staff with a mix of locals and Koreans. Response was swift and calls were always answered. I initially wanted an earlier slot but they were full, so I was put on the waiting list for drop-outs. They took note of it and called on two separate occasions to bump up my appointment.
Before we started the shoot, my husband fed Elise her lunch so she wouldn’t be cranky. The head photographer Brad took the chance to snap a few shots of her. Throughout the shoot, two assistants were on hand to prepare the concept, change Elise’s outfits and play with her to make her laugh. Our shoot took about an hour and we topped up money to receive all 250 soft copies.
As we conversed in Korean, Brad was able to share more about the business. An experienced photographer of more than 20 years, he wanted to bring in Korean concept photography to Singapore.
When he first opened the studio, things were especially difficult as he could not converse in English well. To improve his business, he first improved on his English by attending courses. He told us that he did not spend on advertising so he mostly gained new customers by word-of-mouth marketing where satisfied parents introduced his service to their friends.
He showed us his bruised knees and told us that because there is a very limited window of time when babies are in a good mood, he had to capture as many shots as possible. According to him, about 7 of 10 children require a lot of coaxing and cheering up. If he is unable to do a nice shoot, he allows customers to return on another day.
Brad also gave us pointers on how to spot baby photography flukes –
“If a photographer tells you that they need at least 2 to 3 hours per shoot, then they are not working effectively. Even babies who are naturally good spirited can only last for about an hour before they start fussing.
The key is to capture the baby’s high spirits instead of constantly having to coax the child.“
Apart from baby photography, they also provide family photography, maternity shoots and event photography.
|We brought along a hanbok for the shoot|
Hard copies and other Products
As we needed the album to be ready before Elise’s party, the design and artwork was rushed and sent to Korea the very same evening. It takes about 2 to 3 weeks to receive the hard copy albums and prints as they are done in Korea.
A S$50 deposit is required to confirm the appointment. Packages start from S$180 (+ $200 for all soft copies). Personally, return of all soft copies is not an option but a must for me. My package included 3 baby concepts, 1 family concept, all soft copies and an album with two frames. It cost me S$850 in total (It was more than what I initially expected so I’m going to be eating grass for the next few months) but you can always find a suitable package.
For comparison, another Korean concept photography studio has similar packages but charges a mind boggling $548 purely for the return of all soft copies.
Is it worth it?
The photos turned out better than expected and it was a perfect way to capture her at 1 year old. Brad was extremely experienced and professional; he knew what to do and took control of the whole shoot. He gave firm instructions on how we should sit or where we should face in order to not to block the camera. He managed to capture Elise’s many expressions, including her pout and goofy grin. Maybe I should have made her cry too?
It would be even better if they came up with new concepts as I noticed that the concepts were more or less the same across customers throughout the years. This is why I recommend bringing your own outfits.
If you have not been there, it is worth the experience for praiseworthy photographs.
Preparing for a Baby Photo Shoot
1. Ensure that the appointment does not clash with baby’s nap time. Book a time slot where your baby is most likely to be full of energy and wide awake. Feed your baby before the shoot.
2. Newborn shoots are best scheduled within the first 14 days of their life when they still have that squishy newborn look. They have a 1 year package for you to capture your baby from infancy to toddler hood.
3. Some studios provide a full wardrobe with accessories, but it’s more meaningful to prepare outfits for your child. Also bring along memorable items like your baby’s chou chou (favourite snuggly), name banner or theme items. For older children, you can even bring along their ballet or taekwondo outfits.
4. Relax and leave it to the professionals – they will play with your child behind the camera to make your child smile for pretty shots. It’s okay even if your baby doesn’t smile throughout the session as it makes for more varied expressions.
BabyU International Photo Studio
6 Harvey Avenue, Singapore 489474
+65 6405 5093
BabyU has kindly offered a 10% discount to all readers. It would be nice if you could:
* I paid full price for the photo shoot. No monetary compensation was received for writing this review. The discount was specially secured for readers of this blog ^^ I will not be receiving commission from referrals and the form is purely for my tracking purposes;