In recent years, Bali has become the No. 1 destination for pre wedding photography in Asia. Hardly surprising when considering the natural beauty of Bali and the many beautiful locations available.
Therefore, an ever increasing number of photographers and photo agencies have started to offer pre-wedding photography services here in Bali.
But you need to be careful when choosing your pre-wedding photography in Bali.
Here is why:
Because of intense competition, many Bali pre-wedding photographers with unprofessional services and unethical business practices have entered the market.
And many brides and couples have wasted their money and returned with bad or not pre-wedding photos at all.
You don't want this to happen to you, do you ?
Therefore, I would like to help you and offer you some practical advice on how to find the right Bali pre wedding photographer for you in Bali.
What is your style ?
Different photographers work in different styles and use different techniques for their photography. Some call their style classic or traditional or conceptual. Some claim to be ‘fine-art’, yet others call their work ‘journalistic’.
Some photographers use very strong and vibrant colors in their photographs, yet others prefer to work more with subdued colors and hues.
Some Bali photographers put more emphasis on portraits and posed photographs. While others work more with landscape and candid shots. Some do a lot of Black & White photographs; others work exclusively in color.
The differences in style among Bali pre wedding photographers can be quite significant.
Do not try to go to one photographer and ask him/her if she can work in the style of another photographer. Why ?
Because you also would not go into an Italian restaurant and expect them to give you a great Chinese meal… Or ask a chef specializing in Indian cuisine to cook you a Mexican meal.
Actually, it does not matter what label is attached to a photographer’s style. Why ? Because what matters is what YOU LIKE. Look, look and look again at a photographer’s portfolio.
See if the photographs on display at the photographer’s website match the style you are looking for.
And lastly, communicate with your Bali pre-wedding photographer and ask him/her questions to make sure his/her style is what you are after.
Book a photographer – not an agency!
Many couples were disappointed when they received their Bali pre-wedding photographs. Why is that so ? Because their photos did not match the quality of what they saw on the website of the photographer / photo agency they choose.
It is all too common in Bali for photo agencies to show you the photos of their ‘Master Photographer’ on the website, but you then get just an assistant to photograph your pre-wedding photographs.
Therefore, make sure you get the same photographer as the one whose pictures you have seen online.
So, when you see photos on a photographer’s website ask if your photographer will be the same who has made the pictures you saw online.
Photographing at 'famous locations' – what you need to know
Magnificent sunsets at Uluwatu Temple, spectacular views at Tanah Lot temple, enchanting landscapes at Bedugul’s lakes, Ubud’s rice terraces and much more has led many couples to believe those places are the best for pre-wedding photography.
But quite the opposite is true. Let me explain.
Famous tourist spots are not ideal for pre-wedding photos. Why ?
Because those locations are usually packed with many tourists. Which makes it difficult to take nice photographs there. A photographer needs to have space to find a nice angle but, at a location with hundreds of visitors, this is impossible.
Many famous tourist spots charge very high entrance fees for couples to have their pre-wedding photographs taken.
But, most importantly it is not necessary to go such famous tourist spots because Bali has many, many hidden gems, which you will not find in any guidebook. Those are off the beaten track and are much better suited for you to have perfect pre-wedding photographs. Consult with your photographer about this.
Another problem is: quite a lot of pre wedding photographers in Bali all use the same locations. Not touristy locations, but locations which have become popular for pre-wedding photography.
Those locations have become popular not because they are the best locations but because many photographers go there. One photographer following the other, instead of being creative and finding their spots…
So it can happen to you, you arrive at a spot, and you have to wait because there are other couples waiting in line.
Again: completely unnecessary. There are so many fabulous locations and spots in Bali where you neither need to queue, nor pay entrance fees.
Why traveling time between locations matters
Another often overlooked factor is traveling time. Bali is not small and roads are often very congested.
The time required between the locations where you will have your pre-wedding photographs taken matters.
Examples: Driving from Tanah Lot to Uluwatu is 2 hours or more. So, if you, for example, stay in Nusa Dua and drive to Tanah Lot and then back to Nusa Dua you would be spending: 3 hours or more just for traveling.
Taman Ujung Water Palace is another location many couples want to go for their photographs. While the location is certainly nice, it will take you 3-4 hours traveling there and back and you will spend most of the time in a car, rather than taking pre-wedding photos.
The same applies to other locations outside South Bali.
Some photographers in Bali visit several remote locations during your shoot. And you would not be the first couple who ended up booking a one-day photoshoot but spend 70% - 80% of the time in the car traveling between locations. There are cheaper ways to see Bali from the seat of a car...
Other photographers, who do not go to ‘famous locations’ can give you equally beautiful photographs but will spend only very little time for driving around.
Because they use a set of locations which are all close to each other and require therefore much less traveling time.
The point is: There is no need to travel all over Bali to find beautiful locations for photography.
Consult with your photographer!
Careful! Backdoor & surprise fees...
Some photographers and photo agencies in Bali have become ‘creative’ in their sales. Many couples learned on the day of the shoot they have to pay additional fees, which they were not told about.
This can be:
- transport fees,
- fees for dresses and gowns,
- fees for makeup & hair,
- entrance fees to certain locations
- and other ‘surprise’ fees.
Therefore, make sure to check thoroughly all the things which come as part of the package you selected.
And confirm with your photographer you will not need to pay any additional fees on the day of the shoot. And make sure all services are included in the package you have bought.
And remember: ‘If it looks too cheap it probably is… ‘
The Bali Pre-Wedding Photo FACEBOOK GROUP!
Did you know there is also a FACEBOOK Group especially for pre-wedding / honeymoon photography in Bali?
There you can ask any questions you may have about a pre-wedding shoot in Bali. Or find a great photographer for you.
I recommend you join that group while you do your research about pre-wedding photography in Bali:
Should I bring my own dresses or rent my dress in Bali ?
The dresses you will wear are of great importance for a good pre-wedding photoshoot. And most couples like to change their dresses several times during their photo shoot.
The bad news is: most photographers in Bali don’t have a dress collection. Some of them either require you to bring your own dresses, or they rent the dresses from other vendors. Often your choices for dresses will be limited.
Therefore, before making a booking, please ask the photographer if they have a dress collection. Make sure you can see photographs of the dresses you will be able to choose from.
Also, please ask your photographer how many times you can change dresses during the shoot.
You may want to bring your own shoes and favorite accessories.
And ladies, remember you can’t walk with high heels on the beach or in a rice field. So bring some casual footwear as well.
Talking about casual: You may want to use some informal and casual dresses as well during your shoot.
Underwater Pre Wedding Photography in Bali
If you want something really different for your Bali pre-wedding photographs you may want to consider an underwater photography session
You need to be careful though because there are some important considerations you need to be aware.
For more information about an underwater pre-wedding photoshoot in Bali please explore the following article:
Why not bring my own photographer with me?
It has become increasingly popular for couples to bring their own photographer from their home countries to Bali. And who can blame them: it's is nice to work with a person who you already know.
But when doing so there are a few things for you to consider:
Photographers working in Bali will have a much better understanding about locations in Bali than a photographer who is only been traveling to Bali.
Overseas pre-wedding photographers lack the knowledge of locations and conditions at locations. What if you travel to a location only to find out that on that day the location is not available because of a Balinese ceremony ? Or because the ocean is too high. Or because the location is under renovation ? Will the photographer you have brought from outside Bali know that ? Will he know another backup location close by ?
Overseas photographers have no backup! What if the photographer you have brought with you suddenly falls ill when in Bali. Many good photographers living and working in Bali have a network and can send a backup photographer in case they fall ill or something.
Or worse: how about dying while on your pre-wedding shoot. Don't believe me? Read this: Prewedding photo shoot at Tegal Wangi Beach, Jimbaran ends tragically, bride-to-be dies . This happened because the photographer the couple brought from their home country did understand the strong currents at the location of the shoot.
Also, please keep in mind that it is illegal for a foreigner to work in Bali without the necessary permits.
A few wedding photographers from China have been detained by Immigration officers, while they were working with their clients during a shoot in Bali. So how about your photographer gets arrested while you do your pre-wedding photos.
I admit that the chances for this to happen are rather slim, but it has happened. And the authorities in Bali are increasingly enforcing the law and looking for those working illegally in Bali.
And last but not least: It is completely unnecessary to pay for the flight, the accommodation, and other expenses for a photographer you bring from overseas.
You can find photographers of world-class caliber who live and work in Bali. Even international photographers who speak your language. Let me know if you want me to find the right pre-wedding photographer in Bali for you.
Other tips for a successful pre-wedding shoot in Bali:
Don’t select Sundays or public holidays as the day for your pre-wedding shoot. Because on those days, beaches and other locations are very crowded with local residents.
Better do your pre-wedding shoot during the dry season: April – October. Otherwise, rain may spoil your shoot. If you plan to come during the rainy season, then make sure to have an alternative date free for the shoot in case it rains on the day you have booked.
Most ladies will also want to have makeup & hair styling as part of their package. Make sure makeup & hair service is included in your package. Ask if the stylist will stay with you until the end of the shoot. And also, if you can do changes to the makeup and hair style during the shoot.
You should also ask your pre wedding photographer on what exactly you will receive from them. Things like:
- How many photos will you receive as part of your pre-wedding package ?
- How many photos will be edited / retouched ?
- Do you also get the unedited photographs / RAW files or are there additional charges for those ?
- Does the photographer give you the rights to the photographs and you can make your own prints, or does the photographer retain the rights ?
- Do the photos come with a watermark ?
Additional Resources on pre-wedding photography in Bali:
- 5 ideas for Bali pre wedding photography
- Pre Wedding Photography in Bali
- World-class, award-winning photographer services in Bali ?
- Affordable Wedding Photographers in Bali
And if you want to discover more of the work of recommended pre-wedding photographers in Bali please visit:
- MICHELLE PASTEL - BEST BALI PRE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
- VALENTINO RUYA PHOTOGRAPHER
- JO YU - FILM LOOK PHOTOGRAPHER
- MARTIN DEWATA PHOTOGRAPHER
- DOMINIK PHOTOGRAPHY
or let me help you to find a recommended pre-wedding photographer for you in Bali.
or visit the Bali Pre Wedding Photo FACEBOOK GROUP
I hope, by now, you now know everything you need to know about pre-wedding photography in Bali.
See also the following articles:
Bali is an island of outstanding beauty and therefore one of the world’s most popular destinations for pre-wedding, engagement and honeymoon photography. Spectacular beaches, beautiful rice paddies, mystical forest and dense jungle environments plus a unique architecture - you have it all in Bali.
You want beautiful pre-wedding photographs at a fair price? You want to be smart about how much money you need to spend for good pre-wedding photos in Bali? You want to avoid being ripped off or have nasty unexpected fees pop up?