Some brides do not think they want to have these shots. Maybe they feel they will be too nervous, the room will be too messy, or don’t want to be bothered having the distraction of a photographer while they are getting ready. Other brides may want to wait until they are fully ready and presentable before they are photographed. Whatever their excuse, insist on getting these shots, just stay out of the way as much as you can! They will thank you for it when they see the photo.
Pay attention to the subtle moments between the Bride and Groom during the ceremony. Traditionally in South Asian Weddings the bride and groom do not look at each other, out of modestly perhaps. Sometimes I will suggest to the bride and groom to interact with each other and sometimes these moments just occur, unpredictable things happen, private moments shared between each other. These subtle moments will hold a significant meaning to them when looking back on this day.
We must set up the “traditional posed shots of the closest, immediate family if there is no other traditional photographer shooting, these shots must be done! But once you have taken the traditional shot, don’t stop, often the best candid photos happen when they let their guard down. Capture every movement…
Weddings are very emotional events, be aware and sensitive to these heartfelt moments, like the bride and groom saying their vows. Use a long lens, or work with natural light if you can to avoid distracting flash bursts. Get close if you have to, but do so in an unobtrusive manner, and be respectful of these intimate and special moments, your photographs could not harm them it must be natural and mannerly.
Photographers will often get behind the action, just to see if there is something different there, try shooting from different angles. Often the glaring video lights that are so common at Indian weddings can enhance your photos.
While, shooting photographers photographed almost every culture and faith. When photographing weddings in India there are so many customs, depending on the region, religion, family customs, etc. It’s not possible to know every wedding custom. Photographers must always talk with the family before the events to make sure that they have an understanding of their particular culture, and customs. Having a knowledge of what’s to come will give you the advantage of being well prepared. Even doing so it’s not possible to pre plan everything. Often times little customs, special Puja’s, etc. are added in at the last minute, in this case, just go with the flow! If you’re not familiar with a custom or not sure of its significance, just shoot it! The Vidai ceremony is customary in most Indian Weddings, and is one of my favorite things to photograph. Signifying the bride leaving her family home for her new life with her new husband.
This is very important! Photographers must make sure that they are introduced to the key family members on the first night of events. Big Indian weddings can be overwhelming if you’re not sure who is who! If in doubt ask! Sometimes it will become obvious, like the photo below, a very happy Auntie congratulating the two sisters who shared the same weekend to get married.
Get some alone time with the Bride and Groom. Usually before the reception, sometimes only 5 minutes is available. Photographers must do their best to get these few minutes alone with the couple. This is a special time when they get a few moments to themselves before mingling with all their guests. It’s also good because they are looking their best, freshly changed for the evening, and usually a bit more relaxed now that the ceremony is done. Photographers direct them to get the posed shots which they want in a natural way, then give them some “breathing space” and again go with the flow!
Position yourself in the right spot and know what’s coming, a father giving away his daughter is always a guaranteed keeper!
This goes along with tip 9, the bride and groom leaving the ceremony, relieved the formalities are done. It’s party time!