chinese weddings often seem amazing to thewesterners. from dozens of tables to entertain friends and relatives and thedishes piled on the tables to guests waiting in line to drink with the groomand the wedding photos taken before the wedding which the westerners can neverunderstand…
in midsummer, bbc sent a documentary crewto china to unveil the origin and development of pre-wedding weddingphotography industry in china from the perspective of westerners.
▲noted photographer ms. olivia
before its arrival to china, the bbcproduction team had conducted a carpet search of the chinese weddingphotography industry. they have found that korean style wedding photography hastaken up half of chinese wedding photography market shares for its uniqueappeal. behind the korean style wedding photography business was allen shi. asurvey on market data and brand influence further revealed that the jiahaogroup controlled by allen shi has 150 subsidiaries and an annual turnover over10 billion yuan.
at the meeting area of artiz studio, allenshi gave an interview and answered ms. olivia’s questions in fluent english. themost important investment of allen shi, artiz studio has grown as a signaturebrand of korean style wedding photography, opening over 100 stores in 30 citiesacross china. for the young people to be wedded, artiz studio is a symbol oftrendiness, upscale and nobility.
▲chairman allen shi at an exclusive interviewwith bbc
▲the trendy, luxury and noble artiz studio
opened an innovative korean style wedding photography studio
in 2008, the korean wave hit china. thechinese young people were drawn to the beautiful and unreachable love storiesportrayed in the korean dramas. allen shi was keenly aware that a new culturalcommunity had been influencing the chinese young people. he met kim young-seon,founder of artiz studio at a trip to korea, and subsequently brought koreanstyle wedding photography back to china.
in comparison to art movie-like wedding photography,the korean style wedding photography is less intensive, softer and shier, whichcomplies with the traditional expectations of brides of chinese people. theyellowish korean style wedding photos hint the chinese people’s yearning for astable marriage.
after 8 years in china, the korean stylewedding photography has grown into the popular choice of many brides. themarketing approach of allen shi has been copycatted by many. building anindustry chain from wedding photography to wedding reception, allen shi hassecured the leading role of the jiahao group in the wedding industry.
▲one of the wedding photography styles most loved by those to be wedded
lead wedding photos from the scale to the heart in a big way
the catchy phrase of “mindful” can bestdescribe the korean style wedding photography. with a history of 30 years inchina, the wedding photography industry first formed in taiwan and furtherexpands with the demographic dividend of mainland china. many studios tend tofocus on big scenes and big-budget productions. after indoor studio shooting,outdoor shooting is arranged locally or a several-hour ride away. yet suchefforts are not appreciated by the marrying couples. that’s because thepreparation before the photo shoot is exhausting and they have no energy leftto pose for the photo shoot!
keenly aware of that, allen shi focuses hisenergy on providing customers with scenes, dresses and makeup styles they love.if customers don’t like it, it won’t be used. therefore, each photo wins themaximal recognition of satisfaction of the customers in respect of smile,posture, tone and scene. for the marrying couples, these “mindful” photos canbest represent their love and happiness.
customers are presented with vibrant andemotional photos that have their own mark. in their smile are their stories andspirit.
▲korean style wedding photos
disappearing demographic dividend and “globalization of happinessindustry”
ms. olivia believes that the development ofchinese wedding industry is primarily attributable to the demographic dividend,with which allen shi doesn’t agree totally. the chinese demographic dividend isanother word for cruel competition. the smokeless battlefield requires the bestmarket players to grow their products, deliver good services, lead the marketand insist on customer first for impeccable services and quality.
with the 1990s becoming the main customers ofwedding industry, the demographic dividend has actually been disappearing. tosecure the number one spot, the artiz studio has to expand its business fromshanghai to other chinese cities and to other countries in the china.
building the whole industry chain, the jiahaogroup has gradually grown into an international general investment group. about20 million u.s. dollars have been invested to establish a business center witha land area of 6,000 m2 in arcadia, los angeles; the businesscenters in singapore, malaysia and spain have become local investmentbenchmarks.
▲real estate projects in the u.s.
meanwhile, the jiahao group has establishedpartnerships with leading brands in the wedding industry. verawang, bridal veil,elie saab, alexander wang and other dress brands have been introduced andinternational cosmetics and makeup lines like la mer, tomford and ysl have beenused by artiz studio.
the sweet shooting sites of wedding photos
with the consent of artiz studio and thequeen, olivia’s team with bbc came to the photo studio.
there are historical european stylecourtyards, independent dressing rooms, and over ten thousand wedding dressesto be chosen from; the scenes in the studio change as you move; the camera crewwas amazed at the inspirations of artiz studio’s founder kim young-seon, and the queen’s founderpaul kim after their descriptions; they marveled more at the proprietarilydesigned wedding photo frames. that’s because no bride could find her most beautifullook and learn to be courteous to each other in the west through a pre-weddingphoto shoot.
▲artiz studio’s founder kim young-seon introduced the company
▲the queen’s founder paul kim introduced the company
as revealed by olivia, this interview will beaired across the world by bbc. the documentary on wedding photography is notonly a record of chinese history of wedding photography, but also an exchangeof chinese and western wedding cultures.
wedding cultures will always have somethingin common. who can say that the chinese wedding photography won’t spread to theworld as christmas spreads to china? perhaps a bigger market is waiting forallen shi and the jiahao group to explore.
▲olivia’s team and allen shi after theinterview