From where we come, its called ‘The Big Fat Indian Wedding’, not just a wedding. The words ‘Big’ and ‘Fat’ have almost nothing to do with the size of your wedding hall or the people attending your ceremony anymore. The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It’s a choice you make – not just on your wedding day, but over and over again – and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband or wife, not the people who attend the ceremony. There is a fine line between creating a great wedding experience and making great memories. Today’s generation has stepped over, crossed lines and has been walking faster towards the latter.
1. Being equipped:
A wedding is not the time to run out of memory, or dead batteries or technical problems. At a bare minimum, you should have spare batteries (for both camera and flash) and plenty of memory. Crisis control calls for a spare camera body, spare flash unit and more memory than you could possibly shoot. Also, some backup method is recommended, such as a notebook computer or dedicated hard drive. The saying is very true, ‘Once bitten, twice shy’. We learnt this the hard way too. Remember, this is not just a non-repeatable event, it is the most important day in the lives of your client and they’ve decided to trust you with it
2. Capturing the right moment:
We humans do not remember days, we remember moments. We at Knots and Vows have learned to refuse to just accept what’s in front of us as the only answer, the only photo. Sometimes it’s hard to keep the camera in front of your face and also constantly look around you and be aware of your surroundings. So when we see that one great shot of emotion, we get it. The trick it to not stop there—there’s something going on around it, beside it; a bigger emotion coming up around that moment. Don’t put your camera down without intuitive agreements with the heart.
3. Photography Etiquette (When and When Not to shoot):
As a wedding photographer, it is difficult to judge when is it appropriate to document a moment and when should you walk away, this is mainly because most clients draw their boundaries very differently. We’re storytellers, not voyeurs and private access to changing rooms is an awkward moment perhaps, but certainly not one that gets in the way if you clarify your needs to your client. Would it be easier if the bridal suite photographer were female? We are not so sure. We strongly believe that It’s not so much who’s in the room but what’s taken out of that room that makes the difference. But don’t forget to leave the room if the client insists.
4. Go Beyond the ordinary(Taking Pictures with Depth) :
We are not the type of photographers that can grab a great moment from across the room only with a pair of long lenses. Anyone who’s been to a wedding knows there’s nothing simple about the pictures. This is doubly true for a wedding photographer, whose goal is not to just photograph the bride, the groom, and the family and friends present, but to capture the energy and the variety of emotion that surround the event. After all, it’s called a milestone for a reason.
One of the best compositional strategies for a great photographer is to focus on images with depth. Deep photos, like any good wedding cake, are made up of multiple layers of people, objects and emotions that make for compelling photographs and, for those involved, memories that will last. A photograph with depth is complex–it shows and it tells the story. And as with many great images, it takes a little bit of luck and a lot of skill.
5. De-program your subjects (Taking pictures where not everyone is staring into the camera):
Oh, to be a fly on the wall at a wedding—with a camera. Maybe then you could get a wedding party to be 100 percent candid 100 percent of the time. To capture spontaneous, truthful moments throughout a client’s nuptial day, wedding photojournalists have a few tricks up their sleeves, including disappearing in plain sight.
In Indian weddings you’ll meet a lot of people who simply can’t forget that a camera is nearby, and if you want to capture natural shots you must have a game plan. The default move we usually take to is, when we encounter someone who won’t stop mugging for the camera, we smile, drop our cameras and move on to the next person. Then we slyly go back, often with a pre-focused lens, and fire the camera at belly level.
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Jake Mathew & Alistair Bangera
Lead Photographers at Knots & Vows