Over hundreds of centuries of Vedic custom, Hindu weddings have become deeply spiritual, visually enticing, and highly complex ceremonies. They’re colorful, they’re spiritual, they’re joyful. You need a photographer who knows how to find all of those aspects of your wedding and be able to capture it on film for you. Good photography is difficult. Good wedding photography is much more difficult. Great Indian wedding photography is degrees of difficulty even more difficult. It requires a great photographer with knowledge and experience in these remarkable wedding celebrations.
There are several dozen significant elements of an Indian wedding that are must shots. From the singing and dancing the night before, to the application of intricate Henna Mehndi designs on the bride’s hands and feet, to the veneration of Lord Ganesh as the first part of the ceremony. Then the couple meet and exchange garlands, the mandap—the canopy is blessed, the application of the vermillion to the groom’s forehead–the red dot—by the bride’s mother, and the bride is escorted to the mandap by her maternal uncle. A ceremony asking the blessing of the planets follows, the groom is given milk and honey and his feet are washed, the groom and bride’s right hands are joined while the groom’s father pours water over their hands, the bride and groom take seven vows in Sanskrit, the bride and groom circle the fire from four to seven times, they turn to the north star. Big breath! The newlyweds receive blessings from the priest, their parents, and elder members of both families. Somewhere in there a coconut will be broken open, purified butter will be thrown onto the fire, the bride will receive jewelry, and red string will be wrapped around the bride and groom’s hands. Only a highly experienced photographer can grasp each and every significant event.
Because the ceremony is taking place within the mandap, the photographer is faced with lighting and photo angle difficulties to be worked out. Some external lighting may be needed. His experience will be the deciding factor. A Hindu wedding isn’t just a joining of a bride and groom; it’s a sacrament and he joining of two families. During the course of the day, the families move from one location to another.
Your photographer will need to understand what is happening and be able to keep up with it all, to be able to react quickly, and to predict the next photo opportunity. The bride will want a portrait in her traditional dress as well as her modern bridal gown. Your photographer will need to be able to change pace from an observer and documentarian, to creating rapport between the bride and the camera in order to get a stunning portrait.