Indian Wedding Photography Tips #1: Set up a Meeting
In Indian wedding photography, the most vital step you can take is to meet the couple – in person, or via video chat. If a meeting isn’t scheduled, there’s a very good chance you won’t have time with them on the wedding day. At the meeting, speak discuss extensively about what the bride and groom want to see in their wedding pictures, as well as all of the ceremonies and intricacies of the day. This meeting not only gives them a chance to express what they want, but it also gives the photographer an opportunity to get a feel for their personalities and how they play off of each other as a couple. There is a lot to learn when it comes to Indian wedding photography, and the bride and groom and their families are the best teachers available to you.
Indian Wedding Photography Tips #2: Discuss Desired Shots
Sitting down with the bride and groom also allows you a chance to discuss desired shots. Because of the denseness and pacing of Indian wedding ceremonies, it’s rare to have more than 20-30 minutes with the bride and groom for posed photos, so most of the photography at an Indian wedding is done candidly. Have a plan as to when and where posed shots will happen in the flow of the ceremony so that the bride and groom are prepared and have the time set aside.
Indian Wedding Photography Tips #3: Enlist a Family Member or Friend
Because the bride and groom will spend most of their time occupied on their wedding day, it helps to have them select a close family member or friend who can be a guide during the ceremony. Having a “person on the inside,” so to say, can help with a milieu of things, namely learning about the ceremony and learning the roles of various family members and friends. Indian wedding ceremonies range from large to gigantic, so it can be tough to know who to photograph.
Indian Wedding Photography Tips #4: Know Who to Photograph
Whether it’s the family member or friend letting you know, or the bride and groom have had time to point out the important faces, it’s important to be aware of which core family members need to be included in the majority of wedding photos. This also includes the posed “family photo” shot. It can get tricky to determine who fits into the “close” family category, seeing as potentially hundreds of people consider themselves close family members. Spend your time with the core family and the friends the bride and groom deem important, and suggest any extra people who want posed photos with the bride and groom seek out a secondary photographer at a later date.
Indian Wedding Photography Tips #5: Have a Secondary Photographer
When shooting this massive of a ceremony, it doesn’t hurt to have a helper. Hiring a secondary photographer is one of the best things you can do when photographing an Indian wedding ceremony. It allows for multiple angles of the same moments, and that someone can be framed in on the bride and someone can be framed in on the groom. If you want photographs during the pre-wedding festivities, a secondary photography will be indispensible because the bride and groom go through extensive preparations at separate events.
Indian Wedding Photography Tips #6: Familiarize Yourself with the Wedding Ceremony
The last thing you want when photographing an Indian wedding ceremony is to be looking left when you should have been looking right. This is why a secondary photography is helpful, and why familiarizing yourself with the Indian wedding ceremony is vital. Know how things proceed so that you can stay on top of them; know the direction the groom is going to head when he enters the wedding venue with his processional; know how many different stages of the ceremony there are so you can keep track of them in your head.
Indian Wedding Photography Tips #7: Check the Lighting
It seems like a small thing compared to everything else, but knowing what the lighting is like is important, particularly because Indian weddings have so many vibrant colors. A lot of the times, incandescent lights are used to illuminate the dais where the bride and groom perform the wedding ritual, which can be tricky to photograph. It’s also important to invest in portable lights if you haven’t already. Studio lights aren’t suitable for a crowd or location of this magnitude. Your lights need to be able to move as quickly as you can.
Indian Wedding Photography Tips #8: Learn to Be Bold
Indian weddings aren’t confined and boxed in like most Western weddings; Indian weddings are less like church service and more like a religious carnival. To best serve as an Indian wedding photographer, you need to
Indian Wedding Photography Tips #9: Brush Up on the Terminology
One of the best things you can do to improve the quality of your Indian wedding photography experience, both in terms of your experiencing photographing the ceremony and the end product of the photographs you capture, is to familiarize yourself with the various words and rituals you will encounter.
If you are involved in the pre- wedding process, you will witness Mehndi and Sangeet. Mehndiis the intricate decorating of the bride’s hands and feet with henna.Sangeet is like the Indian equivalent of a rehearsal dinner; music and entertainment are provided for close friends and family.
Some terminology for during the wedding ceremony starts with Barat, wherein the groom is heavily adorned and carried in by processional. Depending on the couple, he might ride in on a vehicle, horse, or even elephant. There is often dancing during the Barat. Once the bride and groom are both on the lavishly decorated stage, the “Mandap,” they exchange garlands of flowers, which is called VarMala. After that, they exchange their vows and in front of a holy fire, and then they hold hands and walk in a circle around the fire seven times. This is called Pheras. Rather than a ring ceremony, most Indian weddings have a Mangal-Sutra, wherein the groom adorns the bride with a golden locket. In Kanya Daan, the bride’s family gives their daughter to the groom’s family. From there, the ritual of Bidaai begins. This is the bride’s departure for her husband’s home, involving a lot of tears as she leaves her family.
Indian Wedding Photography Tips #10: Snap Fast
Indian weddings rarely pause for the photographer. Steeped in tradition, it’s about the ceremony and not the photo-op, unlike many Western ceremonies. Think of an Indian wedding ceremony less as an event you have been hired to photograph and more as a celebration you stumbled across and chose to capture. Full of festivities, traditional proceedings, bright colors, and dancing, Indian weddings are a whirlwind of excitement and happiness. Move quickly, and photograph everything you can. The best representation of an Indian wedding comes from the festivity as a whole, not just photos of the bride and groom.
Jobst Media, author if Indian Wedding Photography Tips is well-versed in wedding photography and videography for Indian weddings. Check out more of their amazing work at jobstmedia.com and joshuajobst.com