TSCW Part 1.2 “Looking Natural” – Early Morning Photo Session

Nanjing weddingThe next two hours went by in the blink of an eye, we had to rush to get make up and dresses on, while a camera and a photography team chased us around giving us instructions on where to stand and what to do for the best, “natural” shots. This was an incredibly interesting experience; most of us who have Chinese friends will have seen the professional photos taken during the morning of the wedding with the bride sitting on the bed with her white dress, while bridesmaids and mother are fussing over her; everything from doing the bride’s make up to dresses being tied up (of course only from an appropriate angle) is documented for future generations.

Being used to the Western style of wedding photography and filming, where the photographer rarely interrupts while everyone is busy getting ready and tries to get an impressive natural shot, I was surprised to find the cameraman constantly giving us instructions on what to do. The maid-of-honour and I had to take the wedding dress out into the hallway and carry it to the door, while she had to say “Let us take the dress to the bride”, just in case it was not clear this was what we were doing. Whenever we did something off-script either of the photography or filming team liked, we were then ordered to repeat it multiple times. This included our sitting awkwardly in front of the bathroom’s glass wall through which the bride’s head was visible, taking selfies. Try holding your balance while squatting in heals, simultaneously looking for good selfie angles to hide your puffy, sleepy eyes and making duck faces for the benefit of the camera for five minutes; now there’s a challenge.

Then we were told to start tidy up the pile of discarded clothes on the bed, again for the benefit of the camera, so for the next five minutes we were made to fold up all the clothes neatly, just to chuck them back onto the bed in a mess and begin the whole process anew. After folding and unfolding a scarf for the fifth time I did begin to feel the teeniest bit silly. But hey, the pictures turned out great!

Missed the previous post in the Southern Chinese Wedding Series? Read it here.

Want to continue reading? Find the next part of the series here.

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