Are they not expressive enough?

Most of us are generally very conscious in front of a camera. We underplay our expressions, try to be modest and look very artificial while facing a camera! This is especially true with most of they Indian brides, who are otherwise so expressive and lively as ‘girls’ in real life. As ‘brides’, they are very conscious about themselves – keeping their body and look very stiff and unnatural! This becomes even bad, when a photographer calls their attention or just aims his/her camera in front of them.
But in one of my very recent wedding assignments, I found this young bride coming out with millions of expressions every second all through the events! I could observe her fantastic moods through her changing body language, responsive eyes and expressions. Her eyes, the smile, her hands, her hair and everything that changed quickly were communicating her joy and involvement in the wedding. She was natural and unmindful about our cameras which focused on her.S

When you identify such a lively subjects, you end up with lots of lovely pictures. It was really a feast for all our cameras. We caught her in various moods and expressions and the wedding book was designed on the theme of the ‘Bride’s Expressions’.

In the general scene of south Indian weddings, the brides are mostly stiff, timid and concerned about everything in and around them. Most of them react so artificially in all situations. This restricted pattern of behavior unfortunately brings out the not so real ‘bride of the girl’.

Why can’t our brides come out of the conventional timid expressions to make photography true to life!


This is not manipulated…!

Well, sometimes you surprisingly get what you never planned for…!. This picture, shot in a traditional South Indian wedding in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, is very peculiar and it shows the oneness of the couple in a unique form!

While trying something with a long focal length lens and to get a very shallow depth of field, during the ‘Oonjal ceremony, the face of the groom except one of his eyes was almost hidden behind the face of the bride and looked as though it is a single face, with a strange appearance..! The level of the camera was carefully aligned to get the shape of the face as one, made this picture look different..!

As I always tell my students and fellow photographers in the photography workshops, “Professional Photography is never boring; if you try to find something unique and different in all photography situations”.

– KL.Raja

Can your Wedding be replayed…?

Weddings in India are so special with every event carrying a unique significance, portraying our deepest values of Indian culture practiced by our ancestors long before.

Well, the couple may be from countries abroad and the celebrations may be lavish, but when it comes to their weddings, I find there is always a ‘touch of tradition’ in the expression of the couple. The couples prefer not to come out of the traditional values though their lifestyle maybe that of the westerners. I have witnessed some of the brides leaning on the chest of the groom in ceremonies like this, unable to hide their coyness and the new feeling of togetherness. Such a true expression from a bride or a groom usually motivates me to go for a very tight close-up to show them in oneness.

The meaning for a wedding in India is much more than just the union of a man and woman. It means the unconditional love, the true value of two souls and their families. The ‘long and live’ ceremonies, performed during the weddings prove that they make the couple understand the value of living a life together.

The touch of contemporary style of photography to document the values of people in their own mood and world during a wedding is what I prefer to do than just asking them to smile at my camera.

– KL.Raja

‘Bifocal’ vision…!

Elders are mostly silent in the weddings and at they are even ignored by others in some weddings. Elders will mostly be searched for while organizing a family group photograph at the end of the event. But as a photographer, I always keep an eye on them, especially if they are closely related to the couple. Like children, elders are also very expressive. But most of the times their expressions are very mild and calm, hence go unnoticed.

This is a photo of an elderly woman, closely related to the groom of the wedding, which was shot when the wedding mass was in full swing. I find this respectable woman, unable to stand and finding difficult to read the handbook of the wedding. She was sitting throughout the church session and struggling to read the hand book using a magnifying glass on top of her spectacles. I was impressed by her involvement in reading and shot her from behind in close range.

You will get a lot of nice expressions from such elders if you observe them around in a wedding scene. They could finely be organized as candid pictures in the wedding photo-book.

– KL.Raja Ponsing

The unusual reflections !!

Capturing reflections in wedding photography is not something new. In fact every other photographer will certainly capture the reflection of the bride when she gets ready in front of the mirror. But this is an unusual picture of the couple whose reflections are captured in the mirrored ceiling of a posh hotel. Well this is a concluding picture of the couple when I was shooting their portraiture using the wall pictures of the interiors.
In the process of adjusting the lights, I raised the level of a light and I could see the couple’s reflections in the huge mirror fixed on the ceiling of interior. It was very different point of view as I see them upside down. I decided to do few shots of the reflections of the couple (You can probably see the side column of the wall showing the top of the interior). I had specifically instructed the couple not to look in to my camera in the reflection but to see away from it just to generate candidness in the shot. The couple was responding to the smile of my assistant through the mirror and that is how I got the spontaneity and candid expression in their faces.It is a good idea to look around your subject from various points of view to get some thing different and unique. Undoubtedly the young couple was amazed to see them upside down.

– KL.Raja

Look beyond your working limits..!

I was handling a wedding assignment in a historical church in our city, Chennai recently. As the Mercedes carrying the bride groom halted in front of the church, I did shoot a few regular pictures and had been looking to get something really different. It was then, I spotted an out door display (hoarding) right opposite to the church on the main road with a tag line saying “100% Simple, 100% Happiness”. It was looking as though the child model was pointing his hands towards the car and saying 100% Simple and 100% Happiness.
I sat behind the Mercedes with the floral decoration to get the hoarding in my picture. Though the picture was spontaneously shot, I had all appreciation for my presence of mind and photo journalistic approach by the clients when I digitally projected some of the wedding images (for the benefit of the guests who were not able to attend the wedding in the church) on a large screen in front of the guests attending the wedding reception.It is true for some time you may have to look beyond your working limits and territory for some interesting pictures.

– KL.Raja

Portray the ‘character of the couple’ in Portraits…!

I generally prefer to shoot the couples informally in my studio after the wedding. In this process I instruct them to be of their own and try to capture them as they interact with each other. The very purpose of this post wedding portrait sessions is to get few good shots carrying the character and expression of the couples. But this is generally very difficult with Indian couples as they are usually very stiff and timid in front of a camera. Some of them even give a very stale and standard expression in all the shotsIt happened recently, when my assistants were re arranging the main lights after I just finished few formal portrait shots of a couple in their wedding dress. As I was looking at the completed shots in my laptop, and waiting to go in for the next set of posses, I find the couple was casually talking to each other. In fact the bride was facing away
from the camera as I just took a couple of shots where my front lights were not firing as they are plugged out by my assistants.But still I liked the shots with an effect of a semi silhouette with just only a background light. Though the faces of the couples were not clearly visible, I found a different mood in this shot which of course the couple too had liked a lot.

Most of my post wedding portrait session will contain shots like this and they can be very effectively included in the wedding photography album or photo book. This picture is a very good example of getting the location mood in the studio portraits.

– KL.Raja