I won’t lie, Indian weddings are a lot of hard work for a wedding photographer, with most spanning multiple days and including hundreds of guests. However, due to the large Indian community in Hong Kong I’ve been honored to be chosen as a wedding photographer for Indian weddings multiple times, and I can tell you the hard work is truly worth it. Here are five reasons why I think Indian weddings are every photographer’s dream.
The colors are so vivid
It’s not just the brides that will catch your eye when photographing an Indian wedding. The whole affair is an incredible fusion of colors. All of the women will be wearing their brightest saris and their best jewelry. The decorations, flowers and even the groom’s accessories will also be bold and beautiful. It’s a wonderful feast for the eyes (and the lens).
The Henna art is incredible
I love photographing people and I love photographing art, so when I see beautiful art on a beautiful bride, I’m in heaven. Mehndi, as henna art is known in Indian, is an important part of the wedding ceremonies, usually being applied to the bride’s hands and feet a day before the nuptials. The incredibly intricate designs are created by a professional henna artist and will often contain the name or initials of the groom hidden within. Henna art looks beautiful on its own, but I also enjoy playing around with some fun poses if the bride is up for it.
The dresses and jewelry speak for themselves
Indian brides go all out when it comes to dresses and jewelry. For the actual wedding, most brides will wear a traditional sari or lehenga, the color and style of which reflects their home region. The sari will be adorned with crystals and 24-karat gold thread. It’s also custom for the bride to wear a lot of elaborate jewelry, especially gold. And she will, of course, change dresses multiple times throughout the various stages and days of the wedding. As a photographer, it’s a real treat to photograph such opulent detailing and artistry. Closeup, far away and from every angle, Indian brides are simply stunning.
The ceremonies are unabashed
Indian weddings are full of traditional ceremonies that make for fantastic photography. Due to the variety of sects and regions within India, there are differences, say between Sindhi and Marwari, ceremonies. One of my favorites is the Hindu ceremony of vara yatra, when the groom and his party arrive at the wedding. The groom will be mounted on anything from a horse, to an elephant, to a open-top sports car (in my experience), and be greeted by much singing and celebration. The groom will be presented with a dot on the forehead (tilak), a kind of rice (akshat), a plate with a lighted lamp (arati) and a garland of flowers by the bride’s friends and family. There’s also a beautiful ritual called kanyadan where the bride’s mother pours water or grain into her husband’s hands, which in turn falls into the couple’s hands, signifying the parents’ blessing of the union. Gorgeous photography opportunities galore!
The faces are never ending
It’s often said that Indian people are the most beautiful in the world, so when you have 500 or so in one place it’s a good day to be a wedding photographer. At Indian weddings you’ll also find every generation, from the smallest baby to the oldest great granny; I always enjoy documenting all those happy faces celebrating the couple’s big day.
It's not only a blessing but also a major adrenalin rush to work as an Indian wedding photographer. Sending out a huge thanks to all the amazing Indian couples who have allowed me to be part of their weddings. It's been an honor and a pleasure!
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A big thanks to Phottix for the professional lighting equipment provided to Ali G Studios.
All photos are © Ali Ghorbani and Ali G Studios