Ack! My Taiwanese classmate told me that the place to be in Taipei is actually the posh area near Taipei 101. I wish she had told me this last week, when I asked her about where to go in Taipei. Oh, well. I still had fun.
One of the highlights of our trip was probably the glamour shots. Let me first begin by saying that Taiwanese "glamour shots" are far more glamorous than the studios you'd find at the mall. Definitely a step above Head Shots. With all the makeup, styling, lighting, and props, it's quite a production. Depending on the number of outfits you order, the photo shoot could take up to half a day. On top of all the "glamour" that they pile on to you, the photographer will then photoshop you out of recognition. If you ever wanted to look like an Asian pop star, glamour shots are for you. Many folks even fly in specifically for the glamour shots, particularly young Japanese women and engaged couples (for official wedding portraits).
Given the production value, the photos are relatively inexpensive. I say "relatively" because it is still quite pricey. We selected the smallest package, which included two outfit changes, a small album of 15 photos, a keychain, and a photo CD. I'm a little embarrassed to admit how much we paid for our photo session, but let's just say that it was slightly more than a scaling at the skin clinic. I figure that when I'm a wrinkled little ajumma, the photos will prove to be a worthy investment. The photo studios accept credit card, so you don't have to worry about carrying enough cash.
Our session took about 2.5 hours. Reservations are recommended. After some research, Cyndi found a studio called "White Ladder," and made an appointment via email. There isn't a lot of information online about Glamour Shot studios (in English), but here's a Japanese list of all the studios in Taipei. I think. The site also seems to feature coupons.
I should warn you that neither the studio staff nor the photographer will likely speak or understand English. They are more likely to be proficient in Japanese. My makeup artist, for example, only knew a few phrases: Go!, Stop!, Look at me.
The studio will ask you to pick out looks from their albums, but I believe that you can also bring in your own outfits. Most of their clientèle seems to be fairly slim and long, so if you, to borrow the words of Beyonce, are bootylicious, the studio will unlikely be "ready for your jelly."
Once we selected our looks, we were taken to a den of clothes and makeup.
The makeup artists applied some mysterious makeup base from a little vial. She said that it would make us "more beautiful." It costs 300TWD! This is why you should never nod before thinking.
Here we are with our saeng ogul (natural face), pre-glamour.
They lengthened Cyndi's hair with some extensions.
Check out the arsenal of makeup. Even if you select a "natural look" they will likely pack on a load of makeup. They use a variety of products including MAC, Bobbi Brown, and Etude House! In addition to plastering my face with foundation, my makeup artist added two layers of false lashes and taped my eyelids. I never thought I'd be one of those girls who taped my eyelids to get some ssankapul. It felt so strange.
Here are our first looks:
Cyndi went with the "natural" look.
I chose a "cute" look, which allowed me to try on some fake bangs.
For our second look, we both coincidentally went with a Chinese-ish look. I had originally wanted to wear this frilly mint green dress, but it did not fit.
I did not realize that the woman was going to stick a floral garden on top of my head.
Cyndi's look was more elegant. She must have been a wealthy Chinese concubine in her past life.
We asked the photographer to take a picture using our own cameras. He instructed us to pose with our hands at the side of our faces. I felt like a major cheeseball, but the picture turned out pretty well.
Cyndi and I were each assigned a photographer. Cyndi got a photographer that could speak a fair amount of English. I got a guy who only knew the phrases: Smile; Open mouth; Look at me. I felt bad for him. He seemed like he desperately wanted to give me more direction, but had to resort to posing me like a mannequin or miming his directions. I'm not even being false-modest when I say that I am terrible at posing. I basically had to mimic him for each shot. Let's just hope he's got some mad photoshop skills.
Usually, you return to the studio a few days later to pick out the photos for your album, but we had to go to Kaohsiung, so we entrusted the photographer with this important task. I'm excited, yet a little worried, to see what my photographer picks out. I really hope he doesn't pick out the one where I'm holding the stuffed dog.
The photos will be shipped to Korea in a couple of weeks.
Overall, I'd say that the whole glamour shot experience was worth it. It was fun to get all dolled up.
There are a number of studios throughout Taipei, but if you'd like to check out White Ladder, here are the directions:
-Take the MRT to Shuanglian.
-Take exit 1.
-Walk straight up the street for about 15 minutes.
- Make a right at Zhongyuan. (#8 Zhongyuan St.)
The studio also has a location in Ximen.
I will conclude with a removal of all the color and spackle.
Glamour-less from Annalog on Vimeo.