- Unusual pre-wedding photos are becoming more popular in Hong Kong
- Digitally-altered images show couples posing before backdrops of cats and foods
- For many, the "engagement photos" have become a bigger event than the wedding photos
Tired of the same old engagement and wedding photos? The cliched poses in gardens or on beaches?
Then take some inspiration from the creative couples in Hong Kong, who are memorializing their love with unconventional photo shoots featuring such surreal backdrops as giant cats or pastries.
Many couples in the city opt to take engagement photos months before the big day, a tradition that started in Taiwan and has now spread to China and South Korea.
The more adventurous are opting for photo shoots that diverge from the standard scenes, and instead reflect something about their personalities, passions or the story of their love.
Kim Lee wanted a theme that reflected her love of food, so her photos with her fiancé Daniel Chan feature the couple sitting on giant egg tarts and macaroons.
Yvonne Ho, the wedding planner behind Lee and Chan's shoot, said planning this sort of photography is closer to an advertising or fashion shoot.
Ho works to create an individualized concept for each couple, so they come away feeling she has presented the story of their life together.
"I want to share their love," she said, adding that her responsibility is to "tell the story by the photos."
In the case of sporting enthusiasts Kenny Tang and Olivia Kok, Ho enlisted a professional underwater photographer to capture the couple's active lifestyle. Tang and Kok jumped into a swimming pool fully clothed and relied on scuba tanks to breathe underwater.
The average couple in Hong Kong spends $2700 (HK$20,969) on engagement photos, according to e-commerce website ESDlife. That is twice the amount they're willing to spend on a photographer for their wedding.
The unusual engagement photos are typically printed into albums and turned into slideshows that are displayed on their wedding day.
For Wancy Wong, she couldn't bear the thought of leaving her 19-year-old pet cat out of her engagement photos.
She worked with Ho to plan a series of poses that featured her fiancé, Frankie Cheung and her cat, Ah B.
When the cat died just before the planned photo shoot, Wong was heartbroken and shelved the idea.
But after a few months, Ho encouraged Wong to revisit the concept and turn her wedding photos into a tribute.
With a little help from Photoshop, Ho superimposed images of the couple onto old photos of Ah B.
"I'm very happy with the result," Wong said. "Many of my friends also grew up with my cat so they were glad to see it in my photos."