Wedding photography is not about you, or your beautiful pictures. Weddings are not about money, or the food, or the decor, or any of that. It is about family. It is about memories. It is about connections, and generations, and love. Your pictures of ‘art’ might win awards, and perhaps make you look really cool. Might get you some recognition among other photographers, and justify your doubt, and calm your wounded ego about being only a ‘wedding photographer’ (and not an artist), but they are not important. What is important, what will stay for life, what the bride is going to care about in time when her dear ones are no more, is that she has a good picture with her grandmother, or her parents. This is what is important! Now here is the thing, and etch this deep in your subconscious: NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT YOUR ART!
The family pictures are the most important
I’ve been giving family pictures more thought lately, and realised how important they really are. To add to that, while recently searching for a third shooter for a wedding in Jaipur, I realised how so many Indian wedding photographers think they are ‘beyond’ the stage of family pictures. They are “creative” photographers, and choose to appoint another person – “my guy” – to do those. It was very difficult to find a photographer who was both, good enough, and also agree to take this task upon himself without feeling like a dishwasher. It can be done so differently. Indeed, these are very simple pictures. They will not win any award, but they are more likely to be framed and give pleasure to the family for many years.
I have just come back from Bangalore. A small south Indian Muhurtha event, attended by not more than sixty guests. It was a really simple event at the bride’s grandmother’s home. Nothing much to shoot. She was getting ready in her room, then escorted down to the ground floor for a stage welcome, aarti blessing, and adorning her with toe rings as the tradition for south Indian brides. That was about it. Dinner followed, and we were done in less than three hours. I could have left, but something was missing. We have already done the ‘stage’ shots. The compulsory ‘let-us-all-stand-for-a -picture’ shots, but I wanted more. I approached the bride and suggested that we could take just a minute inside the house, where it was quiet, to take a few pictures of her with her sister, mom, dad, and her old grandmother. And so we did. We found a clean wall in the living room, and the pictures took not more than a couple of minutes.
I took these pictures at a time when I feel my attention is drawn back toward the simple, and not so glamorous part of wedding photography. When I want to give more and more attention to the simple family pictures. I want to see the look in the father’s eyes as he hugs his daughter who is getting married. I want to feel the love of a little girl to her grandmother. I want these moments to stay. And yes, I am proud of them, and I hope you all see why.