Unconventional wedding photography is fast becoming a lucrative job for shutterbugs and a craze among young couples

Decked up bride and a backdrop are no more the essentials of a wedding photo. The usual ‘pose and say cheese’ has become cheesy these days. And group pictures of aunts and uncles surrounding the couple are out of vogue. This is an era, where wedding is shot like a movie – candid and casual! A new bunch of bubbly young people doing unconventional wedding photography across the country have changed the way the event is captured. The idea is to document the tiny sweet moments in an Indian wedding, many of them claim.

“Wedding is once-in-a-lifetime event and everyone wants it to be one-of-its-kind. That’s where we step in. No two weddings are captured the same way. A great deal of thought process, ground work and creativity goes into each of these shoots,” says Revati, a freelance event photographer based in Chennai. “I started it as a hobby and since people liked the work, I ended up being a wedding photog! I have shot over two dozen weddings in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad.”

An increasing number of freelancers and even those with short stints in photography are taking to wedding documentation. “That’s because, the fat Indian wedding always has something new to offer and people never get tired of seeing the pictures,” says Harish, a graduate trying to emulate the candid trend in Madurai. He and his friend Fazal Hussain have shot nearly 10 weddings in small towns Salem, Tiruchi, Coimbatore and Erode. Diwakar, Tiruchi-based engineer-turned-photographer, says, “When it comes to marriage, people don’t mind spending. If you deliver a good job, they are ready to pay what you want. It’s a lucrative job in towns like Tiruchi even if you get hired for Rs.20,000 per day.”

“Convincing the traditional parents and elders is a task. Parents of the couple always insist on recording who all attended the wedding and the bride and the groom get relegated. But young couples these days are on the lookout for a photographer who can capture their wedding the way they want,” says Fazal, “Getting candid at weddings can produce great images. Later when one sees the pictures, they get emotional. Rituals, expressions and the whole mingling of people are important elements.” Though candid wedding photography has become the budding trend in small towns, it has already reached a saturation point in the big metropolitan cities.

Taking the job a step further, companies in Delhi and Mumbai that specialize in wedding photography offer week-long and day-long packages. Says Ishaansuri of Artfoto Wedding, Delhi, who has 15 years of experience in photography, “Most photographers have a mindset to go out and shoot a typical candid moment or just follow the event in a candid fashion. But that’s no more the market.” He adds, “We produce digital photo realism and art. We do not work with any wedding event until we get to know the family, the bride and the groom. The chemistry the bride and groom share, their comfort level, their emotions and their passion matters and that get captured.”

Indian Wedding Katha, a Mumbai-based wedding photography firm started two years ago, specializes in putting across weddings as stories, so picturesque that they match the typical Bollywood-style love story! “Our shoots are a mixture of both candid and posed moments. And the process starts from days ahead of the main event. We spend time with the couple and get to know their likes and preferences. And by the time we shoot, we are bum-chums with the couple and there is no hesitation henceforth. That’s how all our images have an instant natural and spontaneous feel,” explains Tejas Nayak, the founder, who has been shooting Indian weddings in the US for two years. He says Indian weddings abroad are invariably like a picnic on a weekend. “But it differs here. Every community has varied traditions and customs and Wedding Katha brings out all those colours. We also publish albums in funky and out-of-the-box designs,” he says.

Locales for wedding shoots are also getting exotic. While some prefer to have it on the beach, others go into the woods and mountains. Says Tejas, “Post-wedding shoots set in places like Lonavala or Goa can cost up to Rs. two lakh. Our per-day packages start from Rs.35,000.”

“Some shoots are like a Fashion magazine or a lifestyle shoot yet keeping everything personal, private and perfect,’ says Ishaansuri.

However, the post production editing of photos is here to stay. Majority of the wedding pictures get peppered with Photoshop techniques and only few choose to keep them the original way. “At Artfoto, all our images are heavily edited and creatively post-produced for our clients. Each image is like an exclusive painting. We take at least four weeks to deliver the results to our clients,” says Ishaansuri. “Our packaging and delivery involve prints on mixed media, and other forms of delivery and packaging of images just as a creative agency.”

The next upcoming trend is to video-graph weddings as short films. With already a few photographers working on it one can say that there is no dearth of innovation inside a controlled private environment of a fabulous wedding.