Hindu weddings are a power-packed bundle of various rituals and ceremonies that span over a few days before finally culminating into the marriage day. What makes them even more interesting is the fact that they vary from one region to another and there are endless variations in terms of rituals, code-of-conduct for everyone present and customs. Hence, shooting a perfect Hindu wedding ceremony requires you to be mindful and accepting of all these variations and accept them with an open heart.
This is because a single mistake on your part can create blunders and can even offend the families of the bride and groom. While there is no fool-proof and universal guide to shoot Hindu wedding ceremonies, we are offering a few tips and pointers that can help you do the job in a much better and efficient manner.
So, put your reading glasses on and find various tips to shoot a perfect Hindu wedding.
Shooting a Hindu Wedding – Dos:
Clearly understand the requirements
Meeting with your clients before their wedding is a must. You must ask them about the kind of photos and albums they wish to create. Also, take some cues regarding the various functions they are going to have and whether they wish to have a detailed portfolio for each one of them, or just a few glimpses would suffice. Offer them a pre-wedding photoshoot as well. This will allow you to get comfortable with them and have an idea of their preferences and the kind of culture they have at their homes.
Try to meet the elders as well
While it might seem that elders are entirely out of the picture, things are not so! Because let us tell you very frankly that the grannies and mothers, and fathers and grandpas of the Indian households have very serious and established rules about various customs and rituals in weddings. They are very firm in many families, and playing around with their beliefs can land you in a situation that is unpleasant and might also cost you your job. So, meet with the parents and ask them about the various rituals, customs and regional must-haves for the wedding you are about to shoot.
Try to minimize the contact with the female guests
Hindu culture has a deep sense of protection towards the women and people, especially the male members of the household might not be so accepting towards an unknown man getting too close or touching the female guests, daughters and daughters-in-law of the house. However, things are not the same in every home.
So, throw caution to the kind of environment you are in and try to be respectful for the females in general.
Use natural light
Hindu weddings are a bright and immersive cultural affair with lots of rich colours and deep hues dominating the entire wedding palette, be it the dresses, or jewellery, or décor. So, the more you use and leverage the natural light, the better it is!
Natural light allows you to capture all the bright and beautiful colours in all their glory and you can easily click stunning black and white shots as well. Also, as most of the wedding rituals are done during the day, you must pep-up your natural light photography skills to create a stunning portfolio.
Know and note down the different rituals
When you are a wedding photographer that is constantly clicking pictures for many different weddings, it is extremely easy to forget and confuse the wedding rituals. So, we recommend taking notes, or at least getting the meetings recorded as audio files, so that you can easily keep all the pointers in your mind.
Before you go for a wedding shoot, take a thorough look at the various rituals and make sure that all the important stages, such as different rituals performed by various family members and brides or grooms are clicked without fail.
Don’t be a miser with the family photos. Indian Hindu weddings are a huge fam-jam affair that means every single relative and family member present would love to get clicked and might even ask you to click some shots on demand.
Understanding the process and the significance of each step is a must
To ensure that you deliver a wonderful impression, you must be kind and gentle to convey your inability to accommodate their requests if you are busy. On the other hand, if you are not in the middle of something, then it is always better to click some extra pictures than earning frowns from the client families.
Generally, a Hindu wedding comprises the following:
Barat: Finely dressed groom comes with a procession to the wedding venue. Traditional processions used only horse and mare as the ride for the groom, the modern times have also introduced the use of elephants or handsome chariots. Everybody dances to their core as baraat is one of the most crucial parts of Hindu weddings.
Var Mala or Jai Mala
In this ritual, the couple exchanges colourful flower garlands on the stage and the guests enjoy and tease the couple.
These are the circumambulations around the holy bride and are seven in number. Some people also have 4 pheras and the rituals vary across the regions.
Mangal-Sutra or the holy chain
The groom puts the Mangal-sutra around the bride’s neck and this marks the start of their wedded life. Many homes also have a ring exchange ceremony right now or earlier as well. So, you have to be ready with ideas and poses in mind to click photos of every important step.
The father of the bride puts the hand of his daughter in the hand of the groom and also recites some hymns, etc.
Finally, the bride leaves with the groom and his family. This is the most emotional part of every Hindu wedding and you have to be really patient to complete the shooting of this part. This step can get really daunting as almost everyone is crying while the bride leaves her house.
So, all in all, Hindu weddings are a fun-filled affair and if you pay attention to the details, you can certainly make the most of them!