TNIB is simply ecstatic to feature photographer Jigar Champaneria of San Francisco based Samay Studio (www.samaystudio.com) this week. His expert insights continue today with fabulous tips to ensure your wedding day portraits are AH-MAY-ZING!
TNIB: What is the biggest challenge in taking great portraits of the bride and groom?
Jigar: Time…or lack thereof! Most Indian weddings last from morning until night and there is something going on the ENTIRE time! Even while taking portraits, many couples stress about their agenda, whether they look their best and whether everyone who is supposed to be in the photos are there on-time.
TNIB: What can couples do to stress less about time?
Jigar: Here are some suggestions that will help. First, set aside enough time for both formal portraits with your closest family and bridal party. Also be sure to set aside time for romantic couple’s portraits. It is not tough to get formal portraits of everyone in 30 minutes or less especially when it is before the baraat begins. However, if in addition you want relaxed, natural portraits, set aside some extra time and make sure you get away from all your family and friends. I suggest a private location on-site or somewhere nearby the venue. Keep in mind that it will be tough for you to just flip a switch between formal and romantic portraits. Work on this plan with your photographer in advance and they will likely find great spots nearby and ensure you do not get delayed for the rest of your agenda. Plus they will help plan things such that you can relax from the stress of the family portraits (and yes, posing and smiling through 50 family photos will be tiring so try to make the most of it and have some fun). Also be sure talk to your guests before and after your portraits and everyone will walk away smiling and more relaxed!
TNIB: What time of day is best for portraits?
Jigar: Take your wedding portraits before your ceremony. Taking your portraits after your ceremony generally means you do not look your freshest. You may have a messy tikka on your forehead, you may have several pounds of garlands around your neck. Even if you clean up the tikka and remove the garlands, your make-up and clothes will not be like they were in the morning. I had a bride on the verge of fainting in the afternoon heat so we had to cut the portrait session short and let her sit down and re-hyrdate. Above and beyond all of this, note that morning and sunset light is much better than mid-day afternoon sun. Keeping away from the mid-day sun alone will help you look your best.
TNIB: Should someone be assigned to manage the portrait schedules with family?
Jigar: If you plan for lots of group portraits, then yes have someone organize it on the day-of. Some brides go to the extent of giving numbers to each family group so they line up next to the mandap. Even if you organize things to this extent, someone still needs to be running this show. Hand this responsibility to your cousin, friend, or even the photographer. A good photographer can keep things running smoothly without making anyone feel rushed.
TNIB: Does the heavy wedding garb worn by Indian couples help or hinder portrait pictures?
Jigar: The heavy jewelry and garb that most Indians wear on their wedding day is what makes the day so special. As a photographer, it’s my job to make sure those details look amazing in your portraits. I will pose the couple to specifically show off how stunning they look on their wedding day. Plus, I personally love it when a bride tells me something special about her lengha or sari. I remember that detail and try to show that off in the portraits.
In case you missed it, Jigar was the contributing photographer to TNIB all week long! Catch his previous insights here http://thenewindianbride.com/category/photography-week/ Oh and if you didn’t figure it out, he is married to another TNIB featured guest , upcoming cupcake artist Radha Champaneria http://thenewindianbride.com/2010/08/30/sweet-week/!