To shoot a wedding in India is a unique experience, and a photographer’s task. In an Indian wedding, there is a huge number of people involved, including family members, relatives, friends, and sometimes even guests who have come from far away. This creates a lot of stress on the family, especially on the bride and groom, who want everything to go smoothly, and to ensure that everyone is happy. Therefore, most weddings are planned in advance, and everything must be planned and arranged in the strictest of times.
So what do I need to consider when shooting this kind of event?
Location: In general, an Indian wedding takes place at home, or in a temple, a gurukul (boarding school), or some other sacred place. However, many families are now choosing to hold their weddings outside, which gives the couple and their families more independence. Some families choose to hold their wedding at their village home, or in one of their farms.
Weather: Although most Indian weddings are held in the summer months, some are held in the winter and even in the rainy season. Many Indians choose to do the wedding in December as it is thought to bring luck to the marriage.
Time: Most Indian weddings take place in the afternoon, and the families and guests usually start arriving around lunchtime. In addition, the wedding ceremony itself lasts two hours, followed by dinner. As a result, photographers need to be available for a long period of time.
People: The family members and guests may be very friendly and welcoming. You should never assume that you will be met with hostility. In addition, the bride and groom will be surrounded by large crowds, as they are the main focus of the day. These crowds will make it difficult for you to shoot the couple, but it is an important part of the day. You must, therefore, stay calm and patient, and have a clear idea of what you want to achieve.
Colour: Many Indian families are keen on having a colorful wedding. As a result, you will probably find yourself in front of a white wall or a white bed, which can make the images look flat and dull.
Camera: The wedding in India is a multi-media affair, and you will probably need to use various different cameras. You will be shooting pictures of the bride and groom, the family and guests, as well as the wedding ceremony. You will need to capture some of the guests dancing to the wedding songs, and you will also have to record some video footage of the ceremony. You will also be using your camera to record the speeches, the procession, and the speeches after the wedding. Therefore, you will need a variety of lenses, including wide, medium, and telephoto.
Lens: For your basic portrait shots, you will probably use your 18-55mm kit lens. For the shots of the bride and groom, you will probably use a 50mm 1.8 prime. If you are shooting the wedding ceremony, you will probably use a zoom lens, such as your 28-200mm kit lens. If you are shooting the speeches, you will probably use a wide-angle lens, such as your 14mm f/2.8.
Lighting: If you are shooting indoors, you will probably need a flash, as the light may not be sufficient for your lens. You will also need to use a tripod, as you will need to work quickly to avoid the light changing. For the outside wedding, you will need to think about what kind of lighting will work for your location. You will probably want to shoot in a natural light, so you will need to take your exposure meter with you. You will also need to think about your ISO, and whether you can increase it to a higher value.
Equipment: You will also need a good camera bag, which can carry your camera and its accessories. As a photographer, you will need to work quickly and efficiently, so you will need a fast camera and lens. You will also need to think about what you will be carrying, and how to protect your equipment.
Camera settings: If you are shooting on film, you will need to think about the different types of film you are using. You will need to make sure that your camera settings are right, and you will need to make sure you have enough film. Also, if you are using a digital camera, you will need to make sure that you have a good memory card.
The wedding ceremony: The wedding ceremony in India is very important, and it is customary for the bride and groom to exchange garlands and offer sweets to each other. This usually happens just before the wedding starts.
The procession: After the ceremony, the newlyweds make their way down the aisle to their seats, where they are greeted by their parents and relatives. Before the bride and groom leave, they have to go down a path called a darshan kendra, where they can be shown to the public. Once the bride and groom reach the end of the path, they are showered with flowers and sweets.
After the wedding: The last part of the wedding is the sangeet, which means ‘the joy of music.’ At this time, the bride and groom dance with their families and guests. It is a tradition for the groom’s father to ask his son, “Will you dance with me?” If the answer is yes, the groom will then receive a small bag containing the gifts given by the groom’s family and friends.
What do I need to consider when working in India?
As a photographer, you will need to be prepared for any eventuality, and you will need to be flexible. You will probably have to work quickly to avoid the light changing, or the sun going down. It is important to remember that you are a guest at the wedding, and you will have to behave politely. Also, if you are shooting for an Indian newspaper, you may be expected to follow certain traditions.
If you are in India as a tourist, you should visit the Taj Mahal, which is the best known and most popular monument in India.