Spending the day at Singapore’s largest selfie studio
Insta-worthy or nah?
Earlier this year, iWan Studio, Singapore’s largest immersive selfie studio opened at Aljunied.
Spanning over 6,000 square feet, the studio is divided into 11 distinct zones with over 20 themes, each with elaborate backdrops and props.’
Since then, iWan has added an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled self-photography system.
Launched on May 4, the AI system is similar to your typical self-photo studios like Fotomat and Dollop Automat, and allows you to take different types of photos, ranging from passport or ID photos to professional corporate portraits or fun group shots, in a matter of minutes.
The only difference is, you don’t need to hold onto a clicker or set a timer to take your photos. As the system is equipped with a motion sensor, all you need to do is make a ‘V’ or a peace sign to trigger a countdown of three seconds.
We visited the studio to experience the AI system for ourselves, and to find out if a visit to iWan studio is worth it.
We were first asked to pick a theme from a selection of 20 different templates such as Puppy Love, Greyscale, Chinese Goddess, and Elegant.
The more formal templates like Corporate Shot were just plain backdrops but there were also casual ones like White Birthday which came with pre-set text, much like neoprints.
There were also templates like Chinese Goddess which required a green screen. However, we decided to play it safe and go with Puppy Love, which had a more youthful vibe.
Upon deciding on the theme, we were brought to the dressing room which was filled with racks of different costumes, drawers of accessories and shoes, as well as a makeup booth where a professional makeup artist was stationed.
The staff also kindly offered styling services, perfect for those who aren’t very confident in picking out their own outfits!
Browsing through the racks, we were quite overwhelmed. While everything is sorted according to the themes, because it was so stuffed, we could barely figure out what would match what.
Another challenge was the sizing. As all the clothes offered are of free-size, it’s difficult to gauge if we could fit unless we tried it on. Some of the outfits were also quite revealing so if you’re more conservative, I’d suggest you bring your own set of innerwear.
Thankfully, we spotted a pair of matching tracksuits (think secondary school PE attire) and eventually settled on that.
After changing, the staff started on our hair and makeup.
Hairstyle-wise, as we were dressing up as school students, not much had to be done. The staff just helped me curl a few strands of hair for a messier look.
As I came in bare-faced, the staff was insistent on helping me do some basic touch ups like base, eyes, brows and lips – which I greatly appreciated until I realised that all the tools and palettes are shared.
For the germaphobes, you may want to either come in with your makeup done or bring your own makeup products as everything at the studio is for common use.
After over an hour of getting ready, we finally moved on to the AI room.
The space was rather cramped as the backdrop, lighting equipment and screen took up most of the space.
The floor also had markings for us to follow because we had to maintain a certain distance from the camera, further minimising the small space we had.
As the preview screen was positioned to the left, it was slightly disorienting and we struggled to centralise ourselves.
That aside, the process was pretty fun and I liked how the system also generated pose references for us which served as a great help whenever we ran out of ideas.
We spent around 15 minutes and took a total of 11 photos!
The final outcome
Upon snapping, the photos were instantaneously digitally enhanced by the AI system and thankfully, we still looked like ourselves. The system just made minor refinements like smoothing out our skin texture and making the photos a tad bit more saturated.
The staff then let us pick four out of the 11 we took for further editing. Pre-set text and overlays were added too.
In all honesty, we preferred the original photos as we barely resembled ourselves in the further enhanced ones. If you look closely, we became five shades lighter and had our faces shaved down to half the size.
I personally wouldn’t try this again, at least not for this template. If you want to make your money’s worth, I’d suggest trying out the green screen templates which are much more novel and not widely available at other studios!
In fact, from now till May 31, iWan Studio is having a Mother’s Day promotion where you can bring your mum along for a free makeover and photoshoot!
The offer is limited to 10 sessions per day and includes a 15-minute AI Self-Photography System photoshoot, complimentary costume, basic make-up and hairstyling and digital refinement for two selected photos.
If you’re interested, you can make an appointment via 9855 3162.
Thereafter, we were given free rein to roam around the studio and take pictures in the different rooms.
Here are some of the photos we took:
Prices start at $35.90 per hour for weekdays and $39.90 per hour for weekends. Admission is free for those under six while children aged six to 12 will enjoy entry at half price.
iWan Studio is located at 12 Aljunied Road, #05-01, KH Plaza, Singapore 389801 and is open daily from 11am to 10pm.