LOVE THROUGH THE LENS
An A-list celebrity in his own right, Hong Kong-based wedding photographer Daniel Tam is known for his Midas touch in capturing the true essence of a couple’s personal style. He talks to Asia Dreams about the world’s most enchanting cities, the hottest trends in wedding photography today and his insider tips on how to create the perfect image of you and your beloved.
Asia Dreams: As one of Asia’s premier wedding photographers, you travel with your clients to many of the world’s most iconic destinations. In your opinion, which places are the most inspiring to you and why?
Daniel: Rome is one of the most beautiful and romantic cities that I truly rave about. The mixture of old and modern, past and present makes it a really photogenic place. The fountains and aqueducts, the Renaissance architectures, the statues, the Vatican City —every corner is a surprise!
Prague is a city that flourished during the Gothic and Renaissance eras and, to be honest, it’s really like travelling to a fairy tale. Being one of the best preserved towns in Europe, you will find a variety of exquisite architecture and charm – there are beautiful gardens with friendly swans, a great river and a magnificent castle. Every street is pleasant to walk down and take photos of.
Being Chinese, Beijing is definitely one of the most inspiring places for me when it comes to the art of creation. The second largest city in China, Beijing is a cultural centre where you can find opulent palaces and temples alongside modern architecture. There are also beautiful gardens, resplendent glaciers and splendid art treasures. Every single element of the place makes it a very interesting place to conduct a photoshoot.
And then there’s Hong Kong. Of course, it’s where I am from! Honestly, the fantastic view of Hong Kong and its collection of skyscrapers make my hometown a very special and beautiful place to shoot in. The stunning city skyline is complemented by Victoria Harbour and surrounding mountains. There are also beaches, country parks and even a Geopark! With all these different features, every kind of photo mood is possible!
Asia Dreams: What tips do you give your clients in advance or during a photo shoot to create such glamorous results?
Daniel: The only thing that I have to keep telling my clients is: don’t worry about the pose or how you look or how people look at you. Just be yourself and look at me. It’s my job to capture the special moments of clients and the trick is to communicate thoroughly with them before conducting the shoot. By doing so, we get to know each other; they learn about my way of creating and I understand more about their expectations and concerns. This is definitely the best way to gain their trust and help them relax, which always results in capturing the best photos.
Asia Dreams: Are there any easy-to-avoid mistakes that clients make either before a photo shoot or during a shoot?
Daniel: Most of the clients, especially brides, care about their pose, body shape, facial expressions, etc. and thus become very nervous during the shoot because they want to look perfect in every single photo! In my experience, enjoying the day and being confident in just being yourself is the only way of showing the best of oneself. Shooting is a dynamic process, and it’s my profession to direct clients so as to bring the best out of them. Remember, a shoot should capture a subject’s true, unique self; it may be different than the “everyday me” but it’s still about capturing their true essence.
As for the grooms, there is only one rule: no sneakers, please.
Asia Dreams: Do you have an in-house team to help clients with styling and if so, what role do they play in ensuring successful results?
Daniel: Yes, I do have a team to help with clients’ styling. Again, communication is the trick. Before the shoot, we collect information about the clients’ facial profiles, their preferred hairstyles as well as their gowns and suits. Our makeup team then works on their looks. Our stylist also plans a colour tone that will nicely blend into the photos. The team also locates some interesting headpieces or props to enrich the content of the photo set and make it more interesting and personalised.
Asia Dreams: What are the hottest trends today in wedding photography?
Daniel: Personalised photos (theme based) with strong fashion elements would definitely be an up-and-coming trend. Clients are tired of the traditional, boring and standard studio shoots. What they are looking for is something that can represent their own story. That is why there are more people bringing their pets, collectables or even favourite colours and blends into the shoot.
A differentiation of photo styles is the result.
Asia Dreams: In addition to the bride and groom themselves, what props can couples use to create unique images?
Daniel: Clean yet stylish headpieces can definitely enhance photos. Wearing high heels can shape a bride’s body, making them look thinner and taller as they feel like they have better posture. It also gives them more confidence and relaxes them during the shoot. Choosing the right veil is important too. A good veil “flies” – look at my photos and you will get what I mean. Detachable parts of a gown is something to consider too. A good gown can be worn in different ways, thus creating photos with different moods. For example, a detachable flare can make a short gown into a long one, while a coloured belt can be used to create a stronger fashion sense.
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