Over recent years, an increasing number of young people in Ho Chi Minh City have switched to miniature, modern-looking studios for taking fancy photos.
The studios can be a revamped house or a room with elegantly embellished corners.
Young buffs are willing to travel for any lengths to get unique photos to post on Facebook for their upcoming Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday.
Tet falls on February 16 this year.
The other day, Manh Tung, 24, who works at a media company, and his friends went to Dino & Phoebe Studio in District 3.
The renovated apartment boasts modern furnishings and classy decorative objects.
Armed with their own camera, Tung and his friends took hundreds of photos from different perspectives.
During the three-hour photo shoot, the youths changed their outfits and hairstyles as well as the arrangement of the embellishments in order to take the best shots.
“Compared to the shots at conventional photo studios, those taken here are fancier and more creative. Such studios provide a better outlet for our self-expression,” Tung said.
He found the fee of nearly VND500,000 (US$22) quite affordable.
CR Home, an all-inclusive miniature studio located on the first floor of a yellowing house in Binh Thanh District, has emerged as an appealing weekend getaway in recent times.
The 60m² studio is home to various settings including a large spotless white window, a kitchen with photographic props, and a wall with a vintage mirror.
Thuy Diem and her husband were trying to make their five-year-old daughter smile with colorful balloons while posing for family shots at the studio one recent weekend.
“We had a great time together and love all the settings here,” Diem said.
Ho Chi Minh City is currently home to dozens of such photo-taking spaces, mostly tucked away at old yet conspicuous apartments or residences.
Such venues charge lower rent and studio owners can redecorate the space according to their own taste.
Apart from ornamental fixtures, each studio has its own distinctive draw.
Onon Concept in Phu Nhuan District appeals to its clients with its draughty space, lush greenery and a Western-style balcony, whereas Inout Concept in District 3 lures buffs with its all-white tone and intriguing nooks.
|A corner at a new photo-taking space. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Nha Cua Xiu in District 5 stands out from others with its rustic looks.
With fees ranging from VND150,000-200,000 ($6.6-8.8) per hour, the studios’ clientele mostly include families, groups of friends and fashion boutiques.
Owners shared that they initially planned the spaces as a rendezvous where friends can get together or engage in art-related work including painting, fashion or interior design.
Photographers or fashion shop operators also launch their own studios for glittery, affordable shots of their customers or models featuring their new collections.
Tien Truong, the 26-year-old owner of Onon Concept, disclosed she had turned a tumbledown apartment in Phu Nhuan District into an open space dotted with pastoral sceneries from other countries.
Phuong Thao, 29, who runs Dino & Phoebe, shared she had encountered considerable difficulty having new arrivals from her fashion boutique featured through the lens as photos taken at conventional studios or lavishly adorned hotel rooms lacked diversity.
Shortly after its launch, her studio has drawn a notable number of clients, including owners of clothing stores.
According to Dinh Phu, 28, his CR Home Studio receives several visits per day, with clothes stores typically renting his place for the entire day.
The studios also allow clients to freely move props and lights to get inspiration for their shots.
It takes studio operators constant efforts to keep their ‘brainchild’ running.
They make it a point to create innovative changes and sustain client interest.
Tien revealed it took her and her partners over nine months to generate concepts, particularly in interior design and adornments and scout for a suitable spot.
They painstakingly hand-picked each item and made changes regarding styles and embellishments up to four times since the launch over two years ago to repeatedly attract clients.
“We mostly buy pricey furnishings, as cheap, shoddy ones fail to do the job and don’t make impressive backgrounds or additions to clients’ photos,” Van Anh, 30, owner of V.A. Studio in District 5, noted.
According to Phu, the studios have faced increasingly tough competition in these days as clients have access to more options.
Some have even resorted to unhealthy rivalry ploys including lowering fees with unvaried, poor services, or imitating others’ concepts or décor.
Residents, particularly teenagers and young adults, in Ho Chi Minh City also frequent recreational complexes to unwind and snap selfies or group photos.
The venues, housing eateries, cafés, fashion boutiques and art exchange hubs, boast modern, lavish décor which make stunning backgrounds for photos.
Examples are Zone 87 (District 1), The Oxygen (District 2), and Vietgangz Brotherhood (District 3).