Wedding Photography In India

Weddings are BIG in India. They are a Big Occasion for the family, often involve a Big Budget, are Big Business for some, and are basically an all round Big Deal! And yet strangely enough, up until just about half a decade back wedding photography was considered a trivial matter in the overall wedding plan. But not anymore!

Anshum Mandore: Indian Wedding Photographer

Today there is a new found understanding of the importance of good wedding photographs and consequently, the constant search for “the best wedding photographer in India”. After all marriages last a lifetime, but weddings happen overnight. And once the Wedding is over; the food is gone, the guest have left, the decor is forgotten.. and all that remains with you for a lifetime are the fondest memories kept refreshed by your wedding photographs. But finding the right photographer for your wedding can be a daunting task.. more so now with the overdose of information available on the internet and even in offline directories. You could spend days at end looking through each photographers website and portfolio and finally find the one you think is perfect for you, only to find that by then he is unavailable on your wedding date due to a previous booking. Don’t sweat it! Hopefully this page should help you decide speedily while at the same time making the entire process easier for your photographer as well.

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Candid Photography, Photojournalist, Fine Art Photography, Contemporary Photography, Destination Photography, Wedding Studio.. What do each of these mean?

Candid photography is the modern approach to wedding photography. Candid photographers follow a “fly on the wall” approach. They cover the wedding thoroughly, yet in as inconspicuous a manner as possible. The idea is for the wedding attendees to enjoy the wedding while the photographer enjoys capturing the choicest moments, people and expressions at his own pace and in his own unique style. A candid photographer never draws any attention to himself, let alone interfering in the wedding proceedings. Also do not expect a candid photographer to shoot the typical posed portraits, group shots on request or stage shots. These are a definite no-no. Candid photographers will usually place no limits on the number of photographs they click and you may end up with anywhere between 600 – 1500 pictures for each day.

There’s a very fine line of differentiation between a photojournalist and a candid photographer. Fine enough for them to often be used interchangeably in India. Photographers who follow this approach also shoot candidly and will similarly not shoot posed, group or stage shots either.

Fine art photography can be considered to be a subset of Candid Photography. While the basic principles, do’s and don’ts remain the same, a fine art photographers focus on delivering fewer images which are extremely artistic and pleasing. These images may be in the form of gorgeous individual portraits, the finer details of the wedding ceremony, rare and beautiful emotions and expressions and more. Moreover every fine art photographer usually has a signature style that sets him apart from others.

The meaning of the word Contemporary is simply “Modern” or “of the current time”. Contemporary Photography is simply an umbrella term which encompasses all of the above types of photography.

A Destination Photographer as the name suggests is a photographer who is open to travel and specializes in covering destination weddings, usually exotic locations. This however isn’t really a proper way to describe a style of photography. It is simple the presence or absence of a location constraint for a photographer.

If you need a team of photographers and videographers to indulge your every whim along with those of your wedding guest, if you want to ensure that not a second of the wedding goes without being photographed, if you want to make sure that every guest present at the wedding has at least one picture of him clicked.. then you need to contact a wedding studio. Simply put, wedding studio’s are the traditional wedding photographers exactly the way they were back when your parents tied the knot. Like the cheesy, posed portraits shot before the wedding.. no problem! Gonna have a stage at your wedding reception and the guest expect the traditional stage photos.. no problem! Do not however expect beautiful images shot in ambient light, unique points of view or well composed artistic images from these guys. These are cameramen for hire.. nothing more, nothing less.

Where do I Start?

Start by deciding who is going to take the ultimate decision regarding the choice of photographer. As in everything, too many cooks spoil the broth. Preferably the couple should be the sole decision makers. In India however, often the parents are funding the wedding and so deserve a say. In that case keep it limited only to them. Remember, more the opinions, greater the confusion until finally you’re caught in a endless spin. Thereafter simplify the process. Google & Facebook Searches are wonderful ways to find a suitable Photographer. However an easier, faster and overall better way to find one is to ask for references and recommendations from friends. Browse through your friends and acquaintances wedding pictures, and if you like what you see.. just ask for the photographers contact details.

What Camera should a good Wedding Photographer have?

Digital Technology has put a camera in everyone’s hands and affordability has enabled a sizeable number of camera owners to in fact own a Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera (DSLR), often quite mistakenly referred to as a “professional” camera. So this question has become increasingly common in recent times and with good reason. However it is important to understand that what a good photographer brings to the table is his artistic vision and the skill set to use his camera to convert that vision to reality. If the goal is to have beautiful wedding photographs and you get them, then how does it matter what camera they were made with? The role of the camera in good photography is limited to simply being the tool in the hands of the photographer. That being said, it is imperative that the artists tool should not limit him in any way and similarly there are a few camera models that empower the photographer to stretch the limits of his imagination by shooting better pictures in a variety of conditions. The Nikon D700, D800 & D3S, the Canon 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III & 1DX, the Sony Alpha 77m A850 & A900 are a few such popular high-end camera models.

How about Albums and Prints? Have they evolved too?

The ‘Coffee Table Book’ is the new album. As the name suggests, it is essentially a hard bound book with thick pages wherein the pictures are printed directly onto the pages rather than being glued on as has been the traditional way of making albums. Most photographers now deliver albums in the form of coffee table books, although if for the sake of nostalgia you’d like and old style album with photo prints stuck on, those are still available. The variables in a coffee table book are the cover (picture cover, leather bound, crystal studded etc.), the paper type that the pictures are printed on (metallic, matte, super glossy etc) and the thickness of the paper. Canvera, Color Drack, Karizma & iTasveer are few of the more popular Coffee Table Book Production facilities in India and chances are that your photographer will use one of these to deliver you album to you.

What about Video then?

Although for the sake of convenience we usually tend to look for a single source for wedding photography and video, in the modern context its best not to mix the two. Most contemporary photographers shoot only beautiful still images (photographs). They do not offer video coverage. If you’re able to find a photographer who claims to be an all-in one and comes with a 4 man team for photos and videos and everything in-between, chances are that you’re dealing with a traditional style studio photographer. Such Studios provide almost any and all photo-video services simply cause to them it makes economic sense. If you’re dealing with a studio and are yet expecting artistic photography, you may want to re-examine who you’re dealing with.

What is Editing? Why is it required?

Think of the pictures straight out of the camera as the raw material. Editing or ‘processing’ is what converts the raw material into the final finished product of beautiful photographs.. sharp, properly lit and with vibrant colours. A good photographers shoots in a manner that his pictures in camera are the finest quality raw material. Whether the finished product will also be of a high quality is determined by the skill with which they are edited. Editing is also done for artistic special effects such as converting images to monochrome (black & white), toning images in a specific manner and more.

RAW format? Hi-resolution? What does all this jargon mean?

Pictures from consumer grade cameras are usually in JPEG format. The JPEG format is a compressed format enabling easier e-mailing, storage and transfer of images. However editing JPEG images can lead to a loss of quality. Pro grade cameras and almost all DSLR’s shoot in a format that is named ‘RAW’. The RAW format image can be likened to a film negative. It gives you ample leeway for editing without negatively affecting the quality of the resultant image. Photographers usually shoot in RAW, edit the pictures, save the edited pictures as JPEG’s and those are the files finally delivered to you.

Resolution simply means the size of the image in digital terms. The higher the resolution of an image, the larger the size it can be printed in without print quality loss. Resolution is usually measured in pixels. So an image that is 1280 pixels x 800 pixels dimensionally, may fill up your screen and yet be too small to even take a postcard sized print. So high-resolution images are ones that will allow you to at least take full-page album sized prints when you need them. Also remember that higher the resolution of an image, the greater will be its file size. As a general rule of thumb, look for images in the 3 to 15 MB file-size range. These are likely to be fairly high-resolution images.

How much should i budget for photography at my wedding?

That’s a tough one to answer. You could follow one of two possible approaches. Fix a budget and go with the best possible photography within the constraints of your budget. Or the second option would be to first zero in on a photographer whose work you really like, then discuss the details with him and see if his offer seems like a good value proposition for the quality of work he is delivering. In any case, if you’re looking for contemporary wedding photography, be prepared to pay anywhere between Rs.25,000 to Rs.1,00,000 per day or more if hiring a team.

What are normal booking and payment procedures like?

Most photographers need a 100% payment up front at the time of booking. Some accept 50% at the time of booking and the balance immediately after the wedding. Most photographers will also confirm a booking only after having received the payment. You may think you have confirmed them verbally, by mail or in written and may expect them to hold the dates. However you should be aware that if in the meantime another client wants to book the photographer for the same dates and is willing to pay the booking amount immediately, the photographer may accept the booking and is not obliged to keep you informed (although most will inform you in good faith that they are accepting an alternate assignment). Many photographers also have a service agreement which details out all the deliverables, the agreed amount and the terms and conditions. Two copies of the agreement are each signed by photographer and client and each retains one copy. Having a signed copy of the agreement is also your concrete confirmation.

When do i get the pictures?

Editing pictures and preparing them for delivery is a tedious and time consuming process. Between that and the fact that a photographer may be shooting anywhere between 4 to 8 weddings in a month, most photographers will need anywhere between 3 to 6 weeks to deliver your pictures. And that will be just the soft copies. Album designing and delivery may take an additional 2 to 3 weeks. If you’re signing a service agreement, the delivery schedule is very likely to be part of it. Study it carefully before signing on the dotted line. Pushing the photographer thereafter to deliver ahead of schedule may result in either his inability and refusal to oblige, or worse still, it may result in him cutting corners and delivering improperly or incompletely edited pictures.

Any shortcuts so i don’t have to take all these decisions?

Your wedding photographer may well be the most important decision you take in relation to the wedding. So don’t look for shortcuts. Follow a procedure and decide carefully on each of the factors. If you’re looking for the Best Wedding Photographer for your wedding don’t expect the search to be over in a snap. A carefully taken decision will ensure you have the Finest Wedding Photography and Beautiful Wedding Photographs that you will enjoy for a lifetime.

What else should I take care of?

When hiring a contemporary wedding photographer, you’re appointing an artist, not hiring a cameraman. The reason you pay him a multiple of what you would have to pay a studio photographer is NOT because he has a nice camera. You’re paying him for his unique artistic vision. So make sure you treat him with the respect an artist deserves. Make your Wedding Photographer your friend, and he’ll return the favor by going out of his way to make sure you get the best pictures you could. But treat him like a vendor, and he’ll just do his job. It also helps to discuss and explain the photographers style of working, to the families on either side. Candid Photographers appreciate complete creative freedom without anyone requesting or directing them to take particular shots or do things in a particular manner.