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July 18, 2024

How wedding photography marries emotions with fun

By Ismat Tahseen
Parineeti Chopra and Raghav Chadha’s recent intimate wedding went on to become the toast of tinsel town and beyond, thanks to the beautiful way it was captured for all to see. The gorgeous
outfits the bride and groom chose, their venue and décor, had a distinct thread woven through each part of their functions– their dreamy wedding pictures. Not just theirs, Priyanka-Nick, Alia-Rabir, Sid-Kiara and Katrina-Vicky’s nuptials cast an unforgettable spell with meaningful details and an ethereal feel to them, courtesy their wedding photographers and videographers.
Each of these stories of the Big Day are a pointer to how much films and videos are packed with emotions, candid capers, the rarest of moments and a personal story, eschewed into the reels for posterity. It’s a story in a fairytale and only a few experts can whip up their charm and talent to bring that about. LuxeBook spoke to the most well-known of them to get behind the lens and
reveal what brings about the magic when couples get set to tie the knot.
Meet the man behind the most iconic Bollywood shaadis Vishal Punjabi, CEO of The Wedding Filmer, has been at the forefront of wedding filmmaking in India.As someone who has shot some of the most stunning weddings of Bollywood stars and other celebrities from Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma to Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone, Vicky Kaushal and more, he busts a notion – that grandeur isn’t always about opulence. “My work with wedding films stems from my profound appreciation for love stories. They carry that enduring charm, transcending ages and cultures. Contrary to popular belief, grandeur for me doesn’t necessarily lie in ostentatious opulence. It’s the underlying reason, the essence of two lives uniting, that captivates me. Some unions, like that of Deepika and Ranveer or Anushka and Virat, have been emblematic and to witness such love stories conquer challenges and culminate in such resplendent ceremonies is truly
inspiring.”
He also shares what went into the beautiful videos Sid-Kiara’s wedding. “Kiara and Sidharth’s vision was rooted in simplicity. They aspired for an intimate celebration among loved ones, where every moment was cherished.”
In demand: Capturing real moments and emotions
Like a few others, Parineeti-Raghav’s wedding exemplified a sense of quiet luxury, almost like weightless, effortlessly-beautiful art. It felt like you watched a beautiful composition, with intimate moments blended in seamlessly. Through the refined aesthetics, it also struck the right chord by being so real. For many photographers and videographers today, it is getting this formula right that matters. Vishal Punjabi’s wedding videos capture such emotional, story-driven films with natural spontaneous footage. So, how does one manage to weave that magic? He reveals what’s behind it. “I think years in this craft have honed our instincts. Our team thrives on capturing the unscripted. To get to know someone, you must get to know their memories. We invest significant effort in discerning the couple’s dynamics, their love language, their apprehensions, and narrative. Our goal is to etch their lives for posterity, to let future generations relive their memories,” says Vishal.
Image courtesy: Camlition Productions
The secret to that soft light magic
If you’ve sighed over the soft and ethereal-like beauty to the star’s wedding photos, there’s a reason for it. From having the right make-up to photographers planning their shoots around the ‘golden hour’, key factors go into play to make it happen. Jayant Chhabra and Shruti Khanna, Founders of Cupcake Productions are one of the expert teams who’s all for this. He says, “It all comes down to creating a hint of magic when it comes to capturing delicate and beautiful moments and, we’re all about making magic for those soft and elegant images! There is no place for artificiality and thick layers as enhancing inner appearance is the goal, allowing gentle skin tones to radiate a shining, natural glow.” He lets us in on another key trick,“We occasionally sneak in extra fairy lights for lighting to make everything sparkle. Golden hour, flawless make-up, and a dash of fairy magic are the secrets to those exquisite shots.”
Bridal baraats are the new order!
American photographer Ansel Adams once said, “A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.” And WeddingNama, founded by Ankita Asthana and husband Akash Agarwal, does just that. He shares how an interesting new trend is bucking tradition to reveal a changing mindset. It’s the trend of bridal baraats! Says Akash, “One thing we’ve seen grow of late is how brides like to get totally involved and have a lot of fun at their weddings, something that is a welcome change. At one of the weddings we shot in Goa, one of the brides actually hopped onto an ATV with her brother to meet the groom and danced with him at his baraat. Also, it’s not just the groom who has a baraat, a lot of brides are choosing to have their own, too. At a wedding in Udaipur, a bride had her own long baraat with a car and everything and it was amazing!”
Shrey Bhagat, Founder and Creative Director of Raabta, echoes that. His shoots are known to bring swag to the baraat, lending them a quirky, masti-filled character aptly embodying the spirit of the occasion. He says, “The baraat has always been a very important part of the wedding day celebration. That’s the moment for the groom to shine. No one can steal that moment away from him and every groom tries to bring in a bit of his personality into the baraat celebration. Over the years, I have seen it all, from the groom entering in a helicopter, to having a celebrity DJ just for the baraat, then the baraat turning into a party that goes on for three hours!
But of late, the bridal baraat is getting to be so much fun. It’s so interesting to see how brides want their own baraat where they enter either on a horse or a car with the entire procession. It stems from how people are constantly trying to find out-of-the-box ideas to create memorable weddings.”
Image courtesy: Raabta Productions
Personalisation in pre-wedding shoots
Pre-wedding shoots have become more mainstream in recent times, with couples placing a huge focus on this. Siddharth Goel, Co-founder and Director of Camlition Productions, which was also awarded ‘Wedding Photographer Of The Year’ at the Wedding Sutra Awards 2023, agrees that these shoots have indeed
gained significant popularity in recent years. In the photo sessions, there is a key focus area for all brides and grooms-to-be. He reveals: “It’s personalization and storytelling. Couples see pre-wedding shoots as an opportunity to tell their unique love story and capture the essence of their relationship. It allows them to showcase their personalities, interests, and the journey that brought them together. Of course, Instagram and other social media dominates as well. In the age of social media, couples are excited to share their love story with friends and family. Pre-wedding photos are often posted on social platforms, garnering attention and excitement from their family and friends.”
The win-win is that it adds up to a memorable experience for the couple to have such a pre-wedding shoot as they spend quality time together, away from the wedding planning stress. The only demanding aspect would be having enough wardrobe changes to showcase different outfits that reflect the couples’ personalities
and the background. Perfume-making and game nights add interactivity to it, where couples are trying to include out-of-the-box ideas to create personalised, memorable experiences for their guests. These include perfume-making set-ups, sake bars and bouquet bars, cocktail-making, elaborate game nights and more.
Customising goes uber luxe
Neelabh Kapoor, of Studio Neelabh Luxury Weddings and Events, a company that specialises in luxury design and décor, recalls how if you talked about customisation even 15 years ago, it meant sheer opulence. “I remember at an Indian destination wedding in Europe back then, the hotel which was the venue did not have a single-colour porcelain that the wedding party wanted, so they had this cutlery with customised and monogramed crockery flown
in all the way from the Far East. Every piece of crockery and towel was changed and it was talked about. Today, for destination weddings, I’ve seen charter planes carrying logos of the family initials on the outside. It’s a money spinner alright! From branding of Mehrangarh Fort in the past to showcasing your wedding customisation to the Burj Khalifa for 2 million AED, you can take branding anywhere you desire,” he says.

Artful, luxe weddings are the new grab
Did you ever imagine art making its way into a high-end shaadi? Well, it does and how! Celebrity wedding photographer Ronicka Kandhari vouches for this as the singular, big trend grabbing attention in the current milieu. With a client list that reads like the who’s who – from Infosys head Narayan Murthy to Sunil Bharti Mittal of Airtel and Rattan Jindal of Arttd’inox – Ronicka reveals how artful, luxe weddings are making for the lust list with the uber-rich. We got her to share a peek into this. She says, “Art always held a sway with the A-list and in recent times it’s getting a closer connect with wedding personalisation. “I had seen the late MF Husain painting live at a wedding. It was on an elephant and meant for the groom to arrive on. That created a huge buzz back then and the trend has only become bigger with luxury brands
coming into play. For instance, I shot this pre-wedding function recently where Louis Vuitton had created art installations everywhere by having their trunks placed around as a part of the theme. They also had initials of every guest put on a bag which was presented to them by the hosts. At another wedding, Dior had a Jungle Safari Dior theme with Giraffe and Tiger at a Mehendi Celebration with the CD emblems and logos an ode to
the couple’s taste.”
She adds, “There’s a pre-wedding function I shot that was hosted for the bride of one of the richest families in India. In it, they had a sculpture that was half done by a well-known artist that was very interactive and a great way to engage the guests. The bride’s family and friends came around and started painting the sculpture with little motifs, and pictures depicting their personal relation with the bride and of all the things the bride loves – like a little girl skiing with mountains at the backdrop as she enjoys doing that in Switzerland and there was also a red Vespa scooter as it was one of her favourites. The sculpture was ready with her personal story before she made her entry, and she was overwhelmed to see what the most beautiful keepsake. It was captured on camera, and it sure translated into pre-wedding interaction of another level!”
In an interesting take on things, she also shot a bridal portrait that was made into a huge artwork. Reveals Ronicka, “I shot the wedding portrait of this bride, which was then made into this stunning 7-foot artwork with Italian mosaic tiles. It had small intricate chips of mosaic and when it was done it could well have been part of the wedding décor! Then at another wedding event I came across a huge stall with expensive paintings that people could gift to the bride. Why go for traditional in the trousseau when you can go with exquisite art?”
Image courtesy: Raabta Productions
Couple portraits turn into love narratives
Popping the question in a beautiful place can be romantic, but that feeling doesn’t end there. The love story is just as prevalent when the groom and bride-to-be-come together for their couple portrait. Cupcake Productions, which has a whole gamut of these at beautiful locations from Kashmir to a helicopter ride over the Dubai Skyline, attests to that. Says Jayant Chhabra, “A love story plays a big role when deciding on the shoot venue. We have been far and wide with our cameras and captured the magic that happens, from the mystical landscapes of Kashmir to the imperial splendour of Rajasthan, from the sun-drenched shores of Goa to the cobblestone, romantic streets of Italy. Each setting serves as a blank canvas for each individual love story, whether it be the majestic forts in Rajasthan or the lovely canals of Venice.”
But the geography isn’t as important as the chemistry. Jayant makes an important point as he shares: “It’s not just about the place; it’s about painting their love tale against these stunning backdrops, creating timeless and magical portraits. In our lens, these enchanting locations transcend mere geography. A special love narrative is created around them like living tapestries. The royal forts of Rajasthan stand tall as witnesses to an everlasting bond; the glistening canals of Venice reflect the timeless beauty of a shared journey. Each location serves as both a scene and a character in a story that explores the enduring power of love. It is the meaningful story the couple shares with the world is what this journey is all about, not just the couple. The outcome? Portraits that are timeless and reflect not only their love but also the spirit of the locations where their romance first began. Each picture contains a narrative that represents a fantasy chapter in a timeless story.”
Location recces to lighting: What goes into pre-planning
and the wedding shoot
The photos seem picture-perfect, but it takes a lot to make that happen. Goel shares the low-down on different aspects that come into sync for this. He says, “There is so much that goes into ensuring everything goes smoothly on the big day. It starts with meeting the couple to understand their style, preferences, and any specific shots they want. Then there is a location recce, where we visit the wedding and pre-wedding locations to familiarize with the layout and lighting conditions and identify potential backdrops and photo opportunities.” Another must-have at this point is a special list. He explains, “This is the Shot List, made in collaboration with the couple. It includes must-have shots, such as the first kiss, exchange of rings, family portraits, and candid moments. It’s followed by the pre-wedding shoot concept. If we’re doing a separate pre-wedding shoot, we collaborate with the couple on a concept or theme, and select appropriate outfits and props. Other factors also play an important role like the lighting and equipment where we assess the lighting conditions at the venue and prepare the necessary equipment. This may include different lenses, lighting setups, and backup gear. Having additional photographers or assistants to cover various angles and details. We also need to check if we need any special permits or permissions for shooting at certain locations. This is especially important for destination or outdoor weddings. There is often a need to arrange for transportation between different locations if needed, especially for pre-wedding shoots at multiple spots.” Like all events, this also calls for a contingency plan.
He adds, “Always have a backup plan in case of equipment failure or other unforeseen circumstances. This includes extra batteries, memory cards, and even spare cameras. You need to also plan for low-light situations, especially during evening and night events, by carrying appropriate lighting equipment and test it beforehand. As part of the post-processing workflow, decide on how the entire edit will be done and the output will be delivered. And last, but not the least, keep open lines of communication with the couple, wedding planner, and other vendors involved in the wedding. Ensure everyone is on the same page regarding timing and logistics.”
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