Photographing a wedding has a lot of challenges and difficulties, and even experts sometimes get surprised with what comes their way. All “regular” weddings and the most common ceremonies have these sets of challenges with them, but what can you do when it comes to capturing the spirit and romance of an Indian wedding?
Given the fact that Indian weddings are all filled with a lot of rituals and ceremonies that make them truly unique, the job for the wedding photographer in charge becomes a lot harder and more difficult to predict. The big difference in conventions and customs between Western and Indian weddings has created the need for photographers to get to know all of the common traditional Indian rituals and all the characteristic events that they will have to capture.
During all of this commotion and thinking about what comes next it can be difficult to capture all the amazing moments, and there are plenty of them. So, here are a few tips that can help you do this.
1. Be ready for a long ceremony where you can take a lot of shots
For Indian weddings an average ceremony lasts around two hours during which there are a lot of small Sanskrit verses and ritualistic details. Not only this, but the order of these details is almost never the same, while at the same time there are always some new things that might pop up, no matter how experienced you might be with this type of ceremony.
It is very important that you capture all of these different rituals, as they are very important for the whole ceremony and wedding. For example, Gujarati weddings are characteristic for their pre-wedding ceremonies where the brother of the groom and his wife perform a wedding ceremony of their own, even though it’s not actually their wedding. If you want to capture the spirit of an Indian wedding you have to take photos of all these exotic and majestic rituals.
2. Take a lot of close-ups
One of the most important general tips you have to understand when photographing an Indian wedding is to take a lot of close-ups. This is because these weddings are shaped with a lot of colorful, small details that need to be highlighted. They can be intricate details on the bride’s mehndi, jewelry, traditional tapestries and many other things.
If you really want to capture the soul of an Indian wedding you need to show off all of these small colorful details that come in a lot of shapes, and can be seen pretty much everywhere during a wedding.
No matter what kind of wedding ceremony you are photographing, lighting is very important. It doesn’t matter if you are in India or photographing a wedding in the U.S. it is crucial that you make sure that the lighting is set for taking good photographs. Take a look at the venue before the wedding and see if you need any additional lighting equipment and what type.
Indian weddings are very colorful and vibrant , unlike in the western culture, meaning that you won’t be doing any black and white photography. Emphasize colors and if needed highlight colors post-production or hire somebody to do professional color editing of your photographs. Use the right equipment and well-known techniques that can help you highlight the dynamic of vibrant colors that will be present everywhere around you.
4. Family photography
It’s rather ironic that you must approach taking family shots at Indian weddings with extra caution. This is because all of the hundreds of guests that attend the wedding think that they are close relatives to the wedding couple and they all expect to have an intimate picture with the married couple.
Make sure that you talk with the couple before the wedding or even get a family member to help you during the wedding or you will end up taking hundreds of photos of all kinds of “close relatives” for nothing. It is also a good idea to suggest an additional photographer who will focus on capturing all the memorable little moments while you focus on those “exclusive” ones, which can also be quite a lot at an Indian wedding.
Remember that Indian weddings are usually crowded and people will not care if you are trying to get a good angle. Be prepared, improvise and take a lot of shots! Indian weddings are very vivid and there will be no brakes for photo shooting, plan your whole session ahead and enjoy photographing, I know I did.