How to photograph an Indian wedding group portrait or family picture
As an Indian wedding photographer, one of the important key elements of an Indian wedding is the family portrait. Yet, understanding how to organize and arrange the Indian wedding family pictures is key for success. I am writing about this because a wedding photographer asked us recently, “Just how do you go about organizing such large groups of family and friends at an Indian wedding”. This is certainly a good question and even Indian brides ask us about the best approach. Sometimes the guest count is over 1000 people, and it can be overwhelming! Here are our tips for both brides and photographers:
1.vKnow who you are to photograph before the wedding day. A list provided by the bride and groom is key to getting through the family portrait session stress free.
2. Have a key member assigned on both sides of the family to assist you calling out the names as surely you cannot identify every member in their family
3. Clear the mundap of any debris. This is beyond crucial for good photos, and will save time time in the future when you are editing the family photos.
4. Have the bride and groom’s family and friends stand far way enough from the stage. If the wedding parties stand in front of the stage you are setting yourself up for hours of editing out people that are not supposed to be in the photo.
5. Don’t be shy. It is hard to organize several hundred people, but it can be done. If you feel uncomfortable with giving firm direction at these moments, make sure you have designated someone the job!
6. Have all the people that won’t be in the photos go to lunch or cocktail hour depending on your wedding time. It can be hard to get the session going when the whole room stays and chats and wants to hug the bride! Save all of the love for later and get through the session!
7. Often times at Indian weddings, the guests and family members will take the time at the family photo session to give gifts and thank the bride. This adds time to each group picture, which in turn lengthens the family session. Have someone stand at each side of the stage with a basket to receive the gifts and thank them on behalf of the bride and groom. Preferably a close member from each side of the family.
8. Last but not least, be patient! Everyone has sat for a long time for the several hour ceremony. You will be exhausted and so will the bride and groom. You may have started photographing at 5:00 am in the morning, and this is your third day. This is how Indian weddings are! Smile and be positive. Remember it is their wedding day!
Common to most Indian wedding ceremonies, the mundap can covered with debris left over from the wedding ceremony. Water bottles, paper bags, paper towel rolls and ice cream dishes can cover the ceremony sight once the wedding is over. For a photographer, the challenge is to coordinate setting up for family pictures and clear the mundap at the same time. Ask for assistance from the wedding co-ordinator or bride’s maids. They are usually happy to help. It makes for a better final photo, and is a win win situation for everyone.
Wishing everyone lots of love and good karma – Otto Haring!
Available for worldwide travel