South Asian wedding photography

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Arrival of the bridegroom, dressed as a prince. Night-time outdoor flash photography

South Asian wedding photography refers to wedding photography of activities relating to Indian, Pakistani[1] and other South Asian weddings.

Indian weddings are a Rs. 800 billion industry, which is expected to grow by 25% per annum,[2] with a significant part dedicated to photography.

Indian weddings are significantly different from western marriages. While the western marriage rituals have become common in many countries, they have not become common in India except among the Christians. Indian weddings use bold colors, not white. Loud music is considered to be proper during parts of an Indian marriage.[3] The ceremonies are elaborate and can take considerable time even when condensed. An Indian marriage is traditionally a public affair, with the bridegroom taken in a procession through the town. Even a modest Indian wedding can have several hundred participants, who are all thought to be "relatives and close family friends".[4] By convention a photographer is required to include each guest in at least one photograph which includes the bride and the groom. These factors make photographing an Indian wedding significantly different from western weddings.

Bride and groom conducting worship together. Indoor flash photography, with the couple in focus
Bride and groom as a royal couple under the mandap, day-time photography with fill-in flash

Wedding photography is a now a major commercial endeavor in India that supports the bulk of the efforts for many photographers. There are photographers outside of India that specialize in Indian weddings.

Bright colors such as red and orange are considered appropriate,[5] and the photographs often use saturated colors.[6] Generally Indian wedding proceedings do not pause for photographs, requiring the photographers to anticipate the next event and be ready with the right angle.

Photographs from some famous Indian weddings have been published widely in newspapers:

Lavish marriages are often portrayed in Bollywood movies.

Photographed moments[edit]

Kashmiri Pandit Bride and groom, wedding portrait, 1916

Common moments that are recorded in Indian wedding photography include:[8]

  • Mehendi (henna) on the palms of the bride indicating she is getting ready
  • The bride in a wedding dress with heavy wedding jewellery.
  • Arrival of the groom on a horse in a procession, and being greeted at the door.
  • The wedding mandap
  • Bride and groom seated and engaged in worship.
  • Bride and groom walking around the sacred fire.
  • Special moments such as
    • tying the knot
    • holding hands
    • tying the mangalasutra
    • filling the parting of the hair with sindoor
  • Portrait of the couple as a royal couple, with guests on their sides as blessing dignitaries or attendants.
  • Bidaai[disambiguation needed], the crying of the bride as she leaves her father's home
  • Wedding portrait: showing the newly wedded husband and wife.

India's "wedding season"[edit]

Mehandi decoration of palms and feet of a bride

In India, a number of weddings take place in the "wedding season". For example, in early October, the city of Delhi can have up about 15,000 weddings a night.[9] That can make it hard to locate wedding photographers for those who have not planned sufficiently in advance.[10] Wedding planning in India is now a $10 billion market.

Indian wedding photography overseas[edit]

Indian children, who have been raised overseas, also expect to get married in the Indian tradition.[11]

Photo stories of Indian weddings occasionally are published in US newspapers.[12]

Technical and cultural challenges[edit]

Indian wedding photographers need to aware of the cultural aspects of Indian wedding photography. They need to understand the symbolism of specific religious rituals and perhaps meet with in-laws to ask whether traditional photo compositions are desired.[13] They also need to take into account the variation in skin tones.

They need to know when the symbolically significant moments will occur. R. Gunasilan, who specializes in Indian weddings in Malaysia, says:

"You can’t afford to miss crucial moments like the wedding kiss or the tying of the tali[disambiguation needed] (in Hindu weddings) or the exchange of rings,” [14]

India has a new breed of wedding photographers who capture candid and journalistic wedding photographs. NRI (Non-resident Indian) people who come to India for marriage tend to look for Indian photographers on the web.[15]

Indian wedding events can often take multiple days, and may take place in multiple locations. Mehendi/Sangeet can often take place at bride's home, whereas the wedding is held at a hotel or function hall.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ansari, Noman; Aamir, Sama (8 December 2013). "Wedding photography: Framed for life". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 8 December 2013. 
  2. ^ Taking the Indian wedding global http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2007/08/06/stories/2007080651151600.htm
  3. ^ Movie Monsoon Wedding ~ Naseeruddin Shah, Lillete Dubey, Shefali Shetty, and Vijay Raaz
  4. ^ The Big Fat Indian Wedding Grows Bigger and Fatter http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1653427,00.html
  5. ^ Reshma Prakesh and Shyamal Deo http://www.theage.com.au/news/lifeandstyle/lifematters/wedding-of-the-week--melbourne/2009/03/23/1237656808075.html
  6. ^ Vivah - Design a Perfect Hindu Wedding by Meenal Atul Pandya
  7. ^ Welcome to the $78 million wedding http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/06/02/1086058914344.html?from=storyrhs
  8. ^ Rituals & Customs of a Hindu Wedding: Design & Planning Guide by Kavita Kapoor
  9. ^ land of the Wedding Planners http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1161223,00.html
  10. ^ Matches, hatches and dispatches are all made in heaven for India's millions http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/nov/29/india.maseehrahman
  11. ^ Tradition! Indian wedding wraps family and friends in three days of ceremonies, By Caroline Dipping, Union-Tribune http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/jun/07/1c07weddingm18406-tradition/?uniontribune
  12. ^ http://albums.signonsandiego.com/News/IndianWed4Gallery/ Album: Home > News > IndianWed4Gallery
  13. ^ An eye for a new tradition: the inter-ethnic wedding photographer http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20071122.wlphotogs22/BNStory/lifeFamily/home
  14. ^ Capturing the moment By CandidShutters http://www.candidshutters.com
  15. ^ Indian Wedding Photographer Members of Wedding Photojournalists Association http://www.wpja.com/wedding-photojournalism/india-wedding-photographers.html