They say marriages are made in heaven. Then, there can be no heavenly or earthly ceremony more colorful than a Hindu wedding. A veritable photographer’s ecstasy in as far as the sheer scale of opportunities that it presents, a Hindu marriage, regardless of caste, creed or sect, is not just a riot of color, but is also an extended affair: ceremonies, rituals and festivities usually begin much before the actual wedding day, and could run for days or even weeks after, exponentially increasing the photographer’s chances of catching the “big” ones that they can claim to be real class, and which can be framed and hung in his studio. And usually, the same photographer team is employed for the entire jamboree, which sometimes lasts weeks.
Be that as it may, whether you are a novice or are highly experienced, it helps to have some inside information on how Hindu marriages go, and to take some tips on how to get the best photographic footage out of it. Here are a few tips on how to get the best photographic results out of a Hindu wedding.
Understand the Hindu wedding procedure
Although most Hindu marriages follow the same basic procedure, there are vast differences in the ceremonies and rituals, and in their order. Gujarati Hindu weddings are vastly different from Bengali Hindu weddings, and even different sects within the same caste may have different ceremonies and rituals. So it is a good idea to learn beforehand the procedure that is going to be followed during the Hindu wedding that you are going to photograph.
Get to know the family
Often, the couple feels uncomfortable when a new face starts snapping them up. To make them feel at home, it is a simple matter of introducing yourself to the couple, and of course, the rest of the inner family well before the start of proceedings, in fact, a day or two earlier. This way, you will also get a feel of whom to focus on and whom you can avoid, as this often is a bone of contention in families during weddings.
Familiarize yourself with the wedding venues
More often than not, a photographer is required to cover the entire gamut of venues related to one side of the wedding – either the groom’s or the bride’s. You may be required to cover the bride’s make up proceedings, or where the groom’s family members congregate before they leave for the wedding “pandal”. Without being familiar with these venues – and the sequence of movements – you will be at a real loss when the actual proceedings start.
Keep extra hands for help
Any Hindu wedding usually has more than one ritual happening at the venue, and you cannot be expected to be all over the place at any one time. Therefore, it would be a good idea, particularly at larger weddings, to make a team of two or more photographers to cover as much of the action as possible.