I’m Allister Freeman, an established Chinese wedding photographer with experience capturing Chinese weddings across London, the UK and Europe. My photography has led me to working with couples across a variety of cultures and faiths and in all kinds of interesting locations – from the traditional to the downright quirky and everything in between.
Chinese weddings make up for some of the most extravagant and unique weddings (or events for that matter) I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. Though not always easy, due to long days and multiple venues, they are an exceptional visual feast of age-old Chinese traditions blended with elements of Western culture.
Chinese weddings are fascinating for photographers because the vibrancy, energy and long-lasting tradition that defines them, is often set against a quintessentially British backdrop: the bride arriving in traditionally Western gown, and leaving with a parade of dancers in a striking red dress, is just one example of how these weddings can create a unique wedding album, and why I love to photograph them.
My natural wedding photography style lends itself to cultural weddings that are family orientated and full of personality. I aim to capture every moment candidly, as it happens, without directing you or manipulating moments. The beauty of this, is that I’ll photograph all those little intimate moments between guests that you may miss whilst you’re a busy Bride and Groom. Often I hear from couples that it’s an emotional experience when they receive their Chinese wedding photography, as they get to see their wedding from a different perspective – the images of the whole wedding party experiencing a moment with the couple at the centre, juxtaposed with the tears, smiles, laughs of friends and family that otherwise would have gone unnoticed.
If you’re interested in me being your Chinese wedding photographer, get in touch to discuss pricing and availability.
One of the traditions I’ve found really rewarding to look back on in the wedding photos has to be the first part of the morning where the groom arrives to pick up the bride. Unlike Western weddings, it is Chinese tradition that the groom will collect the Bride from her house to escort her to their ceremony. Before he can take the bride away, however, he must participate in games and challenges organised by the Bridal party, (a sort of bridal obstacle course if you will) in order to prove his love and commitment to his wife-to-be. Not all couples choose to incorporate this tradition into their day, but it does provide some brilliant images, full of character. I dare you to try not to laugh when you look back through your album at the faces of the groomsmen, and the erupting laughter from the bridesmaids.
Though it’s all fun and games in the early part of the day, it is a true pleasure to capture the beauty of some of the more emotional moments, and is perhaps why I love being a Chinese wedding photographer so much. Often couples will opt to have a Chinese Tea Ceremony, an ancient tradition that dates back over 1200 years. In this ceremony, the Bride and Groom will serve their family tea, as a sign of respect and gratitude for years of love and care. Big symbolic moments like these don’t need to be posed or staged. Instead, they should be observed and captured in the moment. That’s what my style of photography is all about. Often called ‘reportage’ or ‘documentary’ style photography, it quite simply follows the narrative of your day.
And what a narrative…
The celebration that follows the wedding ceremony is no small or quiet affair. Dinner can be up to 8 courses (practically a banquet!) and is the real highlight of the wedding. During this time, the Bride might change into the traditional Chinese red dress, one of many outfit changes she may make in the night. Then there’s the entertainment. At some of the more strictly traditional weddings I have shot, I’ve seen a parade of dancers, the traditional Chinese Lion Dance to bless the marriage, and firecrackers set off to send good luck to the happy couple.
When planning your wedding, whether fully traditional or with a touch of western contemporary, it’s great to have a Chinese wedding photographer who is understanding of the cultural importance of your day. I urge you to take a peek at my Chinese wedding photo galleries to get a better feel of the style wedding photography that I apply to all my Chinese wedding commissions.
My natural Chinese wedding photography is often described as ‘reportage wedding photography’ or ‘documentary wedding photography', in a nutshell, I discreetly capture your Chinese wedding day without dictating, or asking you to pull cheesy 90’s style poses.