Wedding Photography as a concept, has been around for nearly 3-4 generations in India now.. possibly longer. Your grandparents probably had a photographer at their wedding, as did your parents and undoubtedly so will you. But over the last 4-5 years, India has seen the emergence of a new style of Wedding Photography that has been prevalent in the West since almost a decade and a half… a contemporary style christened as Wedding ‘Art’ Photography !
So how do you explain this new Art and what it involves? And more importantly, why do you need to explain it?
Lets start by answering the latter first. A majority of Indian Weddings are still sponsored by the parents; and most couples still have to go to hell and back before they can convince their folks that the Wedding Photography deserves significant attention and a proper slice of the wedding budget. But why is it so hard for them to understand this? Lets travel back in time for a bit.
Photography has come a long way since the time when our parents and their parents before them got married. The advent of the digital revolution has made high quality cameras and consequently, photography extremely accessible to a large number of people. Back then however, cameras were themselves a bit of a novelty and anyone with a camera almost automatically earned the right to call himself a professional. And if the pictures were clear and sharp, they were good pictures.. end of discussion ! As a result there was neither much scope nor motivation for creativity in photography. And when pictures from one wedding were going to look exactly like those from another, Wedding Photography soon became a ritual means of record keeping. ” How many guests attended the wedding? Were all families adequately represented? Did they all meet the bride & groom? Was the event grand enough to meet the social norms? Were all the rites performed properly?” The wedding pictures were simply evidence that all the above questions could indeed be answered in the affirmative. That those pictures also served as a means of travelling down memory lane even sixty or more years after the fact, was a mere fringe benefit. Anyone with a camera was a photographer and any photographer was simply a ‘service provider’. And when there was little or no difference between the work of various photographers, prices for photography services were mostly market driven and saw little or no variation. In nutshell… you didn’t need to budget for wedding photography. It was a petty matter.
So back to the first question, what has changed in the last few decades? Lets just say that Wedding Photography has evolved from being another ritual to be mechanically completed, into an art with a definite, beautiful purpose. Yesterdays photographers could be said to be merely taking visual notes, while today’s contemporary photographers focus on penning (or shooting) a beautiful visual story. Now i realize all this could possibly sound very abstract to a non-artist. So lets dive deep into what Contemporary Wedding Photography is actually about.. what it translates into on the ground.
Another aspect of Wedding Photography in the modern context is that it is focussed on capturing the entire range of emotions that form an integral part of any wedding. And genuine emotions can only be captured into photographs when they aren’t staged or posed. Towards this end, Contemporary Wedding Photography consists mostly of candid shots often clicked without or before the knowledge of the subjects. This lends the photographs an honesty and character unlike traditional photography. But in order to shoot in a candid style, the modern photographer must also have the ability to blend in & mix with the crowd. Many of today’s Contemporary Wedding Photographers in India are highly qualified and experienced individuals from the corporate sector, who have given up even seven-figure salaries to pursue a passion for photography. As a result they are usually already equipped with the necessary social skills and personality traits required to effectively blend in with the best of the wedding crowds.