Wedding Planning Part 9: Our Pre-Wedding Pictures by Ken Lam Photography

The thought of taking pre-wedding photos didn’t really occur to us because of the long-distance planning. We had no wedding garb to speak of and we simply had no time to return to Singapore to get the photoshoot done. I was rather bothered by it because if you don’t know already, it is possibly every girl’s dream to have her wedding photos taken.

At London Eye

My good friend (also my bridesmaid), F, came up with the brilliant suggestion of having our photos taken in London, since London was and still is the setting of our journey and growth as a couple. She reasoned that there was no need for us to pay for our own airfare and all we had to do was pay for the airfare, accomodation and services of a wedding photographer from Singapore.

Under Westminster Bridge

I began to hunt for a wedding photographer that could offer us the best package. I had a number of photographers in mind, all hailing from Singapore, and made some enquiries with them, only to find the packages exceedingly expensive. Trusty bridal magazines bought in UK taught me to look closer to where we live. There are plenty of talented photographers in the UK; after all, people do get married here too! It was all too obvious once this got into my thick skull and I felt so silly for not realising sooner, that I could actually engage one here without incurring a hefty bill for airfare and accomodation. A quick search on the internet narrowed the selection to a few photographers, two of whom are based in London and two others based in other parts of UK. We were very partial to one photographer, Ken Lam. His work is undeniably professional and of immense quality. He has a lot of experience photographing Chinese, and this is a plus point because most of the photographers here are used to taking pictures of westerners. Call me foolish, but I tend to believe that what works for westerners may not work for us. The husband-and-wife team (Ken’s wife is Shirley) behind Ken Lam Photography consists of very easygoing people who are a pleasure to speak to, this I realised when we were enquiring and finalising the package details. Ken also lives in Newcastle, and this meant that we didn’t have to fork out thousands of dollars for an air ticket; we only had to pay for his train ticket which was a lot cheaper than a return airfare from Singapore. Ken is also familiar with the geography of London, so taking pictures at scenic spots would be a breeze. Ken has also won a number of prestigious awards and was named the Kodak UK Wedding Photographer of The Year in 2009.

Under Westminster Bridge

After finalising the package details and the photoshoot date, I started looking for a dress that fell within my budget. It had to be easy to move in because I didn’t want to be trudging along and slowing things down during our photoshoot. It was somewhat a stressful event, shopping for a dress that I didn’t want (because I wanted to wear my wedding gown for the shoot, but I didn’t have a choice). I was rather sulky, and I think I must have been a pain to shop with. One patient husband, and many shopping trips later, I found a sage evening dress from Coast at Selfridges & Co. at 50% off, and bought a pair of champagne gold peep-toes from LK Bennett at Selfridges as well.

View of House of Parliament and Big Ben

I bought more dramatic false eyelashes from Shu Uemura, solicited advice from friends on how I could get the make-up to last during the shoot and how to stay relaxed, booked myself a hair appointment with a beauty salon that is a stone’s throw away from where I live, did some research on the hairstyles that I liked and all was set.

View of House of Parliament and Big Ben

And then something bad happened. I came back from a short summer holiday in Rome with a really bad heat rash in late May and our photoshoot was due in early June. I contacted Ken and Shirley to postpone, and thank goodness they obliged, even though it meant that they had to prioritise the editing of our photos in order for us to have the full set of pictures and slideshow before we returned to Singapore for our wedding.

St Paul's Cathedral

We arranged to meet Ken by River Thames, right in front of the London Eye. It was almost like a blind date. All we had to do was look out for a guy with a huge camera, and all Ken had to do was to look out for the most ridiculously overdressed (or should I say under…because it was freezing!!) couple, and the rest was history. We started the photoshoot at the London Eye, and moved along River Thames, under the Westminster Bridge in front of the House of Parliament and Big Ben, before taking a cab to St Paul’s Cathedral and finishing off the shoot at Tower Bridge. It took us a total of four hours, and lots of teeth chattering and shivering in the bitter cold, strong winds and icy rain to complete the photoshoot.

St Paul's Cathedral

It was truly a fun and eye-opening experience. M was a natural in front of the camera, he was relaxed and very much at ease. I was rather nervous at the beginning, always laughing at the wrong times, and I was impossibly stiff. Ken was very patient and experienced; he must have come across many people who were awkward in front of the camera, and he knew exactly what to do to help me relax. He chatted with us when he was shooting, encouraged us to make small talk with each other, joked to make me laugh at the right times. When I was too stiff at the start of the shoot, he even taught me how to position my arms, angle my face etc, much like moulding a piece of plasticine!

St Paul's Cathedral

With Ken’s help, the shoot got much easier and it was such a pleasure. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly in the company of Ken, even though it was freezing. Tourists around us applauded whenever we finished posing for the shots, and congratulated us on our wedding. We were dead tired (and I had blistered feet) by the end of the shoot, but we knew that Ken had given his best and would deliver beautiful pictures.

St Paul's Cathedral

He did and the proof is in the pictures. The proportions, colours, contrasts, movement, joy and our love were all perfectly captured in the photos. Thank you, Ken!

Tower Bridge

If you are looking to do a wedding photoshoot in London, or in UK, I think it’s well worth it to speak to Ken or Shirley about the packages. The money that is saved from airfare and accomodation of wedding photographers, can be used to pay for other wedding bills and you can even use the sum to splurge on your honeymoon! On top of that, Ken offers the highest quality pictures and he works really hard during the photoshoot to get the best out of your limited time with him. Drop by his blog to feast your eyes on his beautiful photos and you’ll see why I chose Ken Lam Photography.

See all my Wedding Planning entries here.

11 thoughts on “Wedding Planning Part 9: Our Pre-Wedding Pictures by Ken Lam Photography

  1. miss ene

    Heya! As with most Singapore couples (although many go overseas for their pre-wedding shoot these days!), we had our photos taken in Singapore. When I read that you were freezing, I think we would have preferred that over hot and humid (which equates to buckets of sweat!) Singapore. HAlfway through the shoot, the husband had changed into his second fresh shirt because the first was SOAKED.

    Not a pretty sight. Heh.

    You can read about it here: http://youdecidelor.wordpress.com/2009/03/18/the-photoshoot/🙂

    Reply
  2. Carrie Ee

    Congratulations! Yes, I strongly agree with you, Ken is the best photographer I ever met! His professionalism and talent made him who he is today!

    Reply
  3. Aimei

    Really beautiful photos u have. I just taken my pre-wedding ps and couldn’t have enough of it! I was telling my hubby whether we can do a post- wedding ps when we go for our honeymoon and I found your page here. U happened to be in my list in my baking blog! Haha.. It’s gonna be a huge sum to do another ps and the planning and all would not be easy. Im just dreaming it can materialize, haha.😉

    Reply
    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      Aimei: I want a post-wedding ps too!! But I no longer have my wedding dress, and I don’t think I can fit into my evening gown two years after our wedding! I’d say go for it, if it makes you happy!!

      Reply
  4. pearllyyy

    I first came to your blog because I was reading up on Amara, my wedding venue in December, and I’ve only started reading the rest of your wedding planning entries now. What a good read! I love the way you type and I know how hard it can be to be entertaining when the posts are so long and detailed! My fiancé and I have a lot of ties to the US (like you and your husband to the UK) because it was a location we frequented throughout his pilot training, university life, and was the setting for our long distance relationship. We have been living in Arizona but flew up to Colorado Springs (where his uni is) for a shoot and it was memorable!! Somehow, it looks unique and has so much meaning. I’m sure you understand since you did yours in London! Once again, I would like to thank you for your wedding planning series. What a blessing you are!🙂

    Reply
    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      pearllyyy: Hi there! Congratulations on your marriage! I am glad you enjoyed the posts, it was really nice to share my experience and to be honest, this was a pretty good way of documenting our memories too! =)

      Reply
  5. Serene

    hello rachel, i intend to go to london this september for a pre-wedding photoshoot as my fiance is based there. any tips on where i can go to have both my hair and make up done for the shoot? any tips would be appreciated..will be lugging my wedding gown over from singapore…

    Reply
    1. The Pleasure Monger Post author

      Serene: Congratulations on your marriage! I did my hair in a local salon near my estate, which has unfortunately closed down. You can try the hairdressers in Chinatown but I can’t vouch for the quality of work. I did my own make up as I didn’t have access to any contacts as well. Sorry I am not of much help giving advice here….all I can say is I practised a whole lot doing my own makeup, it didn’t turn out very good, but it was better than being bare-faced..

      Reply
  6. Shirley

    Hello Rachel,

    I cannot help but smile when reading your blog about Ken (I remember you sent us this link after you wrote) but this time it was through Google that I stumbled across this post again, after 2 years!🙂

    Now I am reading the post for the second time, still the words remain as refreshing as ever. I think it is best when we get an impartial review one like yours. It is true that Ken uses these words frequently to describe what he wants to achieve in his photographs: ‘natural’, simple, joy, and to show the ‘connection & love’ between the couple.

    I have huge admiration for our couples like yourselves who brave the cold weather in Europe for their photoshoot. One couple from Indonesia even shot in -3 celsius – for 2 days!

    I also agree that blogging is a very good way to document memories & how you felt at the time. I too have personal blog but it was so long ago since I updated it that it is too embarrassing to show it to the public. It documented events from when Ken passed his first driving test, to my first ultrasound scan. Precious moments.

    Anyway we hope that all’s well with you & M in London. Keep up the great writing and please keep in touch. Last but not least, thank you very much for sharing your experience.

    Reply

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