Since wedding ceremonies are loaded with precious memories, the job of wedding filmers and photographers is one of great importance, finds Meher Manda
Eudora Welty once said that a good snapshot stops a moment from running away. Documenting the instances of one’s life is perhaps one of the greatest needs of an individual today because that and that alone may be the way for him to go back and revisit memories. You can never relive life’s happy moments, so you choose to relive them through photographs, videos, diary documentation, et al.
This brings me to weddings, which rest, to this day, as one of the grandest moments of an individual’s life. Their general perception of being life-altering notwithstanding, weddings indeed are of great ceremonial importance. Right from the all-important decision to get married to the planning of the D-day, the need to document and record everything that takes place before and during the ceremony is of utmost importance.
The most common ways of recording a wedding today is through videography and photography, which of course, emerged much after the traditional wedding documentation of the groom penning down details of how his wedding took place (no, I am not kidding).
One of the earliest commercial uses for photography in the lives of the common people was that of wedding photography. Once photography equipment became available to enthusiasts, people would often request one photographer in the firmament to come make one picture of the bride and groom which could be cherished by the family forever. It somewhere became a living proof that the marriage that had taken place, so much so, that sitting here writing this, I can recall three Indian movies where the lead actress shows her wedding photo as proof that she is indeed married.
Coming back to when and how wedding photography became as commercialised as it is today, it can perhaps be attributed to the exponentially growing wedding market. In India, come recession or inflation, spending money on weddings is nothing short of a status symbol, and has remained so, what with more and more money being spent. And all for the one excuse, that you only get married once (in most cases).
In a world where artistic photography has slowly taken to the sidelines because of lack of funding, wedding photography has only grown. Tarun Chawla, a leading wedding photographer in India says, “Wedding photography could possibly never be affected by recession, there will always be fortune at the bottom of the pyramid for people who are starting out as wedding photographers, middle-class weddings for whose are good at wedding photography and high budget and destination weddings for professionals. It’s weddings and in India, people are always ready to spend.”
When you attended weddings as a child, you must have often heard the elders s suggest the clothes you should wear, based on what would look good in the wedding video. Yes, videography in weddings was that important, maybe more. The whole idea of shooting the entire wedding possessed greater interest than photography for many, as you could play a tape and watch the entire ceremony from start to finish. It gave the attendees a very film shoot-ish vibe as they felt they had roles to play in the video that was constantly being taken.
In recent years, wedding photographers have started shooting in an extremely artistic manner. They capture the bride, the groom and the guests in extremely candid moments, as opposed to taking posed shots of the bride and groom.
This portrays them as professional models with extreme visual creativity. Photographers do not shy away from adding their own touch of creativity with some post-processing. Simple and old-school presentations are just not fun to watch any more, so the shift to a more realistic portrayal is definitely here to stay.
With wedding filming too, there has been an increase in the rise of artistic cinematography. With cinematographers like The Wedding Filmers, they believe in taking interviews of the bride and the groom, they introduce lovely background music and take aesthetic and creative shots of the entire event. It is edited and delivered as a movie.
Wedding filming is on an upward spiral. For wedding photography, an entry-level photographer may charge something close to Rs. 30,000-40,000 for a wedding, whereas a professional charges close to Rs. 5 lakh for just one day of shooting. Did we mention it’s a lucrative business? Wedding cinematographers like The Wedding Filmers may charge anywhere close to Rs. 20 lakh to cover the entire ceremony. These charges usually include additional services where they will provide you not only with the brilliantly edited footage, but also assemble it in printed albums (in the case of photographers) and movies on disks (in the case of filmers).
The field of wedding shooting is highly competitive, demanding and rigorous. Considering the change in shooting styles, inherent creative talent and goodwill is absolutely necessary to survive. If you play your cards well, you will be rewarded with a choc-a-block calendar, with wedding bookings three months in advance, and the remunerations will be in abundance.
It is important to keep in mind that a wedding is a prestigious occasion for two people. Shooting with sensitivity, positivity and love will give you the best results.
How to build a career as a wedding photographer/videographer
If you wish to kickstart a career as either a photographer or a cinematographer at weddings, do remember these crucial pointers:
Build a portfolio:
Nobody will start giving you assignments at the very start. You must be invited to weddings. Make it a point to visit, offer to shoot for free, and give them the wonderfully made pictures. It is highly possible that a probable client will observe you and ask for your services at his niece’s/ daughter’s/sister’s wedding. If you take photographs for your relatives, they could be pleased with just your efforts and pay you some money. Either way, your portfolio will only grow.
Interact before the wedding:
You have landed your first client and the dates of the wedding have been finalised. Prior to the wedding, make it a point to interact with your client and his/her family, so you make yourselves comfortable around them and they are used to having you around the three days of the wedding. Do remember to check out the venue as well, so you may be able to figure out beforehand the crucial points from where you will get your best shots.
Build a team:
You may be a really good photographer/videographer but it is not possible to be present everywhere during a ceremony. Build a team, have more people working with you, preferably of the opposite sex, so they can easily blend in with their counterparts. It is known that a bride will be more comfortable having a female photographer around her as she readies herself for the big day.
Having the right camera and lenses for a shooting is pivotal, but do remember to go a little light on that one. As you would constantly be shooting on the move, it is important to have one go-to lens for the day.
Volume 2 Issue 11