Friday 14 June 2013

A Budding Photographer’s Guide to Indian Weddings

A few years ago I went to northern India to trek in the Himalayan mountains and raise much needed cash for The Royal National Institute for the Blind. So when I was asked by fellow photographer to post their blog post about Indian weddings I couldn't resist.
Charity work in India

"Weddings. They are all so different from culture to culture and person to person, but there is one thing they do have very much in common; camera moments. At every wedding there are plenty of them for amateur and professional photographers alike. But there are a few things that all good photographers at Asian weddings should know before taking their shots. 

We have put together a quick wedding guide to help you navigate your way around one of the most colourful of all weddings.

It is Not Black and White
Black and white, although stylish for photos, will not be seen at an Indian Wedding. That is because these colours are mourning colours and weddings as they are supposed to be are happy occasions. So be prepared, as a guest and photographer, to be amazed by the colours paraded around by the guests and the Bride and Groom to be. The bride is traditionally dressed in a gorgeous red wedding dress, so don’t miss her. It will be a shot to remember!

Bare Your Sole
If you have not been inside a religious place for an Asian wedding before, be prepared for people to remove their shoes. For you as a photographer that means two things. One, you will have to make adjustments for your camera. And two, you will have to do the same and remove your shoes too.

Special Rituals Are Not to Be Photographed
There are some occasions during the actual ceremony itself, especially at a Hindu wedding, which you will not be able to capture digitally. Make sure that you understand in advance which wedding rituals are acceptable to photograph and which ones are not. Don’t worry; there will be plenty of other opportunities for you to get snap-happy at.

Food for Thought
The food at an Indian wedding will be every bit as colourful as everybody’s wedding attire. Nothing makes a better photo than plates and plates of delicious looking food and people enjoying it. This is what you will find at an Asian Wedding. If you are attending a Sikh wedding and you are in the gurudwara (which is the Sikh temple) you might be offered blessed food called ‘Karah Prashad.’ But just to warn you, you receive the food with cupped hands, so make sure your camera is in a safe place whilst this part of the wedding ceremony is taking place. Also, remember to wash your hands afterwards, or the photos you will take might have a sticky look and feel to them.

A Gift Of Money
You probably won’t see guests carrying armfuls of gifts to give to Bride and Groom as it is not customary to give gifts from a wedding list. Usually money is given in beautiful envelopes. And if you are lucky enough to be around when they are opened, you will see that monetary values ending with the number 1 will be in plenty of supply as this is a sign of luck. So, a shot or two of 101 rupees or pounds will be a very welcome addition to the photo album.

It Takes Two To Tango
There will probably be lots of opportunities to take fun shots with people of all ages dancing on the dance floor. The Bride at most Asian weddings does not usually dance and if she does it will be once with her new husband.
The opportunity to take photos of guests congratulating the happy couple with a handshake and a peck on the cheek might not present themselves to the budding photographer as male guests do not usually kiss the bride at an Indian wedding.

Bob Emerald got married on a racecourse in India and wished there had been an Asianwedding photographer there to help capture the unforgettable memories he created. 

So there you have it. Your quick guide to photography at an Indian Wedding. 

Happy Snapping!

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