For the past few weeks while living in Taiwan, I have been on the hunt researching online for the perfect photographer to take our maternity photography photos. It’s been a difficult and lengthy process purely because I do not speak or write in fluent Chinese :/
In the end we did find a great place and are super happy with our photos. We wanted to share not only the photos in the post but also our general experience getting out maternity photography shoot.
Why take pregnancy photos?
I don’t know that many people who have personally taken professional pregnancy photos. Actually only 1 out of a dozen or more couples if I really thought about it. But we felt that it was important to commemorate and remember our pregnancy. Much like our wedding and engagement, we enjoyed the process of taking professional photos to mark a special event or time in our lives.
Our pregnancy photos will help us capture the beautiful journey we’ve taken to create and grow our baby. It is an exciting time filled with so much joy and love and we really wanted to capture it. Coming towards the end of the pregnancy and well in my third trimester, I look back and feel I have really enjoyed the whole pregnancy journey. This is why I personally wanted to take pregnancy photos.
As I’ve gotten older, I feel that I appreciate having snapshots of my life a lot more. It really is however, a personal choice as I completely understand that many couples may feel too busy with other things in preparation of the baby coming and of course the cost of taking professional photos may be a lower priority then a crib, stroller and other expensive items that newly parents will need. For us, it was money well worth spent.
Selecting a Maternity Photographer in Taiwan
Similar to finding a wedding photographer, we did a lot of research online to find our perfect photographer who could deliver photos that would capture our pregnancy journey. We wanted personality, vibrancy and fun in these photos. We definitely were not looking for the standard white or grey backdrop photos you could take anywhere but someone who could capture a bit of Taiwan in the process.
After taking our engagements photos in Chile and our wedding photos in Thailand, we really enjoyed adding what the country has to offer in the photos too. Therefore, we wanted to make sure that the uniqueness and culture of Taiwan is evident in the photos as well.
We also wanted to find a professional photographer who specializes in taking pregnancy photos, and preferred a female photographer for obvious reasons. Having maternity photography examples was super important to us so that there was no misunderstandings, confusion or disappointment of the quality of the photos we would receive. We made sure to view a large number of pregnancy photos, not just one or two. This helped to show consistency in their style of photography and that they do in fact specialize in pregnancy photography.
Living in Taiwan, we also wanted to make sure that our photographer could speak basic English to make the process a lot easier. This would be a little tricky as most people in Taiwan speak Chinese.
My method of finding a suitable photographer was using a combination of searches on Instagram and Facebook using Chinese hashtags and keywords. Google translate was perfect for this and it worked out pretty well. This lead me to examples of real women in Taiwan who had taken pregnancy photos and photographers and studios who showed examples of their work. I could see the quality of the photos and selected a pool of about 20 studios and photographers to research further.
This also helped narrow down the photographers as we could also read reviews, see examples of their work and a general number gist of their photography style. I then started a google excel sheet to list out all the possible photographers and any information I could find about price and packages.
At the end, it came down to three things in our criteria.
1. Price: We had a budget of $400AUD. We were happy to pay up to this amount considering our previous experience of taking photos in Chile for our engagement. We felt that it would be a fair price as we paid around $350 for a 6 hour photoshoot that provided only digital photos in Chile. This seemed to be the going rate.
2. Value: We looked at what the photographer or studio provided like: Did it include hair and makeup, how many hours was the photoshoot? Do you receive prints or just digital copies of photos?
3. Examples: We also considered the quality of the examples that they had. We wanted a certain style and quality and compared this to the price they offered.
Maternity Photography Questions we Asked for in Selecting our Photographer
My husband and I then wrote out a list of questions to ask. In case you are looking for a photographer and wondering what questions to ask, we wanted to share what we asked to help us narrow down in selecting the right photographer. Here’s the list below:
1) Do you speak basic English?
2) What is the cost (only digital photos in studio only)?
3) What does the cost include?
4) How long is the photo shoot?
5) Do you supply maternity clothing? Hair/Makeup? If yes, is there a cost?
6) How much is the deposit?
7) When are you available?
We then got them translated for free online in Chinese and it was a matter of copying and pasting the Q&A we had created to each photographer via facebook or email.
At the end we decided on The Family Studio. Their package was very reasonable and included prints, a book of 16 photos, digital copies, hair and makeup and more.
Only You Studio/ The Family Studio
The photography studio we ended up booking with was called The Family Studio. I know, it sounds like some sort of cult, but it really wasn’t. It was a small branch of their larger company called Only You Studio, which focuses more on wedding photography.
Based in Taipei, this photography studio specialized most of their time with weddings and pre-wedding photos at their studio. However, they have recently been taking more photos that were more family orientated since The Family was launched late last year.
Upon communicating with a worker on Facebook messenger, we then started talking on Line (The Asian version of Watsapp). Since they knew I as a foreigner and could not speak proper Chinese, they provided a staff member who dealt with me in English. I was impressed and it really did make the whole process a lot easier.
The package in total cost around $400AUD which included:
1. 4 Hour photoshoot with a photographer and assistant (3 outfit changes)
2. Hair and Makeup (2 looks)
3. 1 glass cover album containing 16 high resolution photos (that we select)
4. 3 wallet size photo prints
Hair and Makeup Experience
One thing that I was worried about was the hair and makeup that was included in the package. Even though we had seen some amazing photos that would reaffirm the high quality service we would receive, I was worried about whether I would look like myself and whether they would have more ‘Asian’ taste in terms of their hair styles and makeup.
I definitely did not want to look completely different, ghost faced and just strange. This worry stems from my Thailand experience when we got married. There are many make up artists who would not listen to my requests or did not see what I saw in the examples I brought with me. I hate to say it but even the makeup artist I ended up with for my wedding wasn’t all that great (even though the photos came out beautifully). It was kind of a nightmare and I did not want to relive it again.
The hair and makeup artists here in Taiwan follow the treads and styles from Japan and Korea. My hair and makeup artist named XXX used only the best products including MAC, Tom Ford and a whole lot of other high end brands from Asia. In preparing for the photoshoot, I did bring my own foundation and basic makeup just in case but at the end of the day I didn’t even use any of it. Overall I was very pleased with my natural look and impressed that the makeup artist was on standby the whole entire time! That’s 6 hours straight.
Only You Studio Maternity Photography Experience
On the 27th of August, we made our way to Taipei, where the studio is located. This meant we had to wake up at 5am in the morning to catch the high speed rail. Since our photoshoot started at 9am, we had to leave super early. The night before, I couldn’t sleep as I was super excited. As a result, I was pretty tired but power napped on the train ride there.
We arrived at the studio and were escorted to the hair and makeup room, where my makeup artist began her magic at 9am. It literally took her about an hour and a half to complete the finished look. I showed her examples of what I wanted and she was very opened in discussing with me whether or not I was happy with the final look. I then got dressed in the first outfit and Albie then got his hair done. Buckwheat was a trooper, napping in his little carry bag throughout the whole time.
We then met our photographer and the photographer’s assistant, who both spoke English pretty well. We then took our first lot of photos in our first of three outfits we had brought with us. We particularly loved the Only You Studio for the amazing backdrops we could select from. There were also props available for us to use and play with in the photos as well. The photographer worked really well with us and made us feel very comfortable. By the time we had finished out second outfit, it was already lunch time. Luckily, we packed a few snacks for Buckwheat and ourselves to munch on in between photo sessions. I also had individual shots taken, which allowed Buckwheat and Albie to take a break.
We were extremely happy that the photographer was open to take as long as possible and asked us if there were any other of backdrops or types of photos we wanted to take. In total, it took us 6 hours to complete the photoshoot. We were staving afterwards.
One suggestion I would of liked to have was light snacks complimentary during out photoshoot. Our energy levels were really low by the time we changed into our third outfit. It was obviously when we selected our final photos as we didn’t end up selecting any taken towards the end of the photoshoot.
Overall our experience made us feel like we were famous or something. With all the professional photography gear such as lighting, fans and backdrops, we really felt glamorous and enjoyed every moment of it. It was particularly nice that they were opened to having Buckwheat in a lot of the photos too.
For us it was really a bargain to have such a great experience and great quality of photos for the price we paid. Keep in mind that at the end, we were able to only select 16 photos, and had to pay extra on top for any additional photos. This is different format from other countries where they take around 70+ photos all of which you are able to keep.
I would highly recommend Family Studio and their amazing team. They delivered the completed set of photos to us after 1 month of editing and processing time. I absolutely enjoyed doing our maternity photography shoot and look forward to the next chapter of our journey, when our baby girl finally arrives!