Here’s to my favourite Love-birds – Pratties & Dev. Wishing you a full & Speedy recovery Pratibha. We Love You!!
Here’s to my favourite Love-birds – Pratties & Dev. Wishing you a full & Speedy recovery Pratibha. We Love You!!
If you are getting married & are looking to have a pre-wedding shoot (or an engagement session or a lifestyle photoshoot as I like to refer to it as), read on.
A pre-wedding photoshoot is a superb way to get to know your photographer, and for the photographer to understand your personalities better. It is also a great way to get comfortable in front of the camera, which prepares you well for the picture marathon that your wedding is going to be. Here are a few quick pointers that will help you from selecting the point you start searching for the photographer – all the way through the actual shoot.
First things first. You need to book a photographer who can showcase your personality. Once you have browsed through someone’s work – you should have a fair idea about the kind of pictures that you might be able to get. Remember – showing a photographer if he/she can replicate somebody else’s style – is not what you want to do. It is only going to leave you disappointed in the end, and you will blame the photographer for your own bad judgement. Once you can visualise yourself in the photographer’s existing body of work – you have found the right match for your photoshoot.
After having gone through hundreds of portfolios, once you are ready to book a photographer, remember to ask the following questions:
a) Is he/she still available on that date
b) The booking fee & paperwork needed to confirm the date
c) Get an idea about the Location, Timing,
d) The Logistics involved, arrangements that you might have to make for him/her
e) Permissions at the Venue
f) Costs for add-ons – like Prints, Graphics (save-the-date, announcement text), Photobooks, e-books, Fusion Videos etc.
Once you are comfortable with everything – Go ahead and Confirm your booking. Remember, most photographers will not discuss the details & plans for your shoot without a formal confirmation & the booking fee. So you must be very sure that you are going ahead with the right photographer and have studied his/her work extensively.
After the formalities are taken care of – ask for – advice on what to wear, how the photographer plans to style the photoshoot, share the ideas that you have in your mind, discuss the location & style of the shoot, be upfront about how you are comfortable being guided at each step or if you want the photographer to capture everything in a more unobtrusive way. The knowledge of what the photographer is planning to do on the D-day will prepare you a lot for the shoot.
You have gone through the tough task of finding the right photographer, now make sure you are serious about dressing up. I have seen a lot of shoots go bad – because the couple didn’t bother to pack extra clothes planned for the shoot, forgot the matching jacket at home, or just wanted to make do with the existing pair of extra clothes, which were there because you didn’t really want to wear them in the first place. Stick to the options that you discuss with your photographer, show him/her pictures of the kind of styling advice he has to offer. Even if you don’t have time to go shopping for the shoot – pick your favourites, your most classy clothes.
You can hire the best of the photographers, go to the most exotic locations – but in the end – it’s how you look that will make or break the shoot. At the same time, remember – your photographer is not a stylist, but unless you are going to hire a professional stylist for your shoot – your photographer is the best person to help you with the same.
The Location can make you look like Larger than life. If you are confident – go outdoors, to more crazy & popular locations like marketplaces, forts & tourist spots, public gardens etc. If you are staying at an exotic property – get the permissions for the shoot there – you will get the best of both worlds – privacy & beautiful backdrops. And if you are like most couples – who are a little shy in front of the camera, and get conscious of the fact that people might stop and stare – choose a more secluded place, like a far-away beach or farmhouse, or an old ruin which is not on the tourist map, the back alley of your apartment building, or simply your terrace or garden. For variation – ask your photographer if two different locations can be combined, or simply take two sessions with different styling and different themes – while one can be romantic, the other can be playful.
The bottom-line is : There are no set rules. And each photographer will handle the shoot in his own way. You just need to know the Devil
I can’t emphasise more on the importance of ‘letting go’ during the shoot. After the task of finding the right photographer, the location, clothes, the logistics etc. – You are finally ready to make some awesome pictures. Let your photographer take control, while you let go & trust his creativity. Once you stop worrying about how you are looking in a picture – you can focus on having a good time with each other. Using your energy to show how much fun you guys can have together is going to show in your pictures – so focus on that rather than worrying about what your photographer is doing or if he/she is making you look awkward or putting you in silly poses – remember, you booked the photographer because you liked his/her work in the first place.
Just like any other important meeting – treat the shoot with some respect. Keep your phone off, schedule your day so that you have those hours free. Do spend a few extra hours to sleep well the previous night. Be on time & give the photographer the 90mins he asked for. Please don’t make this sound like you are doing him/her a favour by listening to his advice. The photographer surely has more experience with a Lifestyle shoot than you have, respect his/her efforts to make you look awesome!
It is OKAY to have the same picture as that other bride, or that other photographer. It will always be your first image – taken at that particular location for the first time. And it will always make your picture unique.There is always an image or two that has been done before, but you will never get tired of looking at those pictures when you are going to be in them yourself. I highly recommend incorporating at least one of those timeless moments in your shoot.
– By the Railroad
– Silhouette at Sunset
– The Jump
– The Kiss
– The Twirls
At the same time, remember to not replicate a shoot because your aunt’s daughter or that friend on Facebook did it. You are not competing for who has more sexy images (Well, I am sure you are, but not in that way). You are doing a photoshoot because you want to preserve the flavour of your Companionship & Love for years to come.
Be confident with your body. You are not Fat or Thin. You are always going to be you, and that is beautiful. Stop worrying about the better side or the better angle. It’s a date – with the guy/girl you love, and that is all that should matter. Laugh, Be Playful, Be close, hold hands, look into each others eyes, hold each other, try things that you might not do ordinarily, show your fun/crazy/prankful side. Don’t look for direction every minute.
Would you be dull and quiet and unexcited on your proposal dinner or your first date? Well, remember that moment from your past – and bring some Jazz to the 2 hours you are going to spend with your better half. The only difference here is that – there is a camera documenting your behaviour – You better show the world that you love him/her and are crazy about him/her. (Getting drunk helps sometimes ^jk) Don’t overthink. Have fun.
Be clear about what you are looking for. Some photographers are great with traditional poses and some are great with capturing the fun side. Study the portfolio & understand what your photographer has to offer and if it matches your requirement. Once at the shoot – Don’t be casual or just think that the photographer will put some magic stardust on you and make you look awesome – listen to the guidance during the shoot, suggestions, help with poses, hands, feet, etc. Everyone knows you paid top-dollar for a photoshoot, it didn’t happen by chance. Be open to the photographer’s ideas, and don’t dismiss those by saying ‘this is too cheesy’ or ‘we are just sitting holding hands, can’t we do something more’
It’s great to have a mushy and romantic portrait session, and sometimes – its even more fun when you include your family and friends in the shoot. Speak to your photographer if this would be possible, discuss the logistics and additional planning required. These are not just ‘a few more pictures’ so don’t surprise your photographer with this addition right at the last moment. Some photographers (including me) take this as a second session in terms of planning & fees, and so should you. Tell your friends and family to be on time, to follow the dress code & to have fun. It becomes difficult for the photographer to explain to bigger groups – about what he is doing – so you also need to become the bridge between the Photographer and your guests – and give them instructions yourself. A large gathering also means a lot of ideas and pointers from the members. Please let the photographer do his job, that’s the reason why you booked him in the first place, right?
It’s always great to have some time right after your ceremony for some crazy and fun pictures in your wedding attire. Request the photographer for this very important half-an-hour on your big day. You are going to be in a rush – and you would need a very skilled and experienced photographer to create these images – Quick & Fabulous. Look out for the post-wedding pictures in your wedding photographer’s portfolio. It is a huge plus to have one that can shine in this department
No pun intended. Or Maybe.
P.S. That’s me in the Center.
P.S.S. For those who missed what point number eleven was (or was not), Watch this : Wear Sunscreen
If you are a Photographer or a Bride/Groom-to-be and would like to share your experience, or if you think that I missed out on some other aspects of a pre-wedding shoot, please do comment – I would like to add more pointers & include your experience – to help Lifestyle & Wedding Photographers and Brides & Grooms looking to book a shoot for themselves.
“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” The quote from ‘Forrest Gump’ describes accurately – how Akanksha & Robert came to be together.
Their story started on 9th April 2011 on one of those weekends ‘when you don’t feel like stepping out’. Akanksha would have probably just been lazy and not gone to the party, if it wasn’t for her friends. They met at the word ‘Mexico’ and challenged each other to a Dance-off! Robert (claims that he) floored her with his ‘spirit fingers’ move, although Akanksha disagrees with that – pointing out that she won the dance off without breaking sweat. And that is how the ‘sparks’ flew.
In Akanksha’s words ‘Robert made falling in love seem so easy’. While Robert was coming to terms with the feeling of having found ‘The One’. On 11th June 2012, in a room full of beautiful candles & rose petals; Robert – the adventurous, simple and funny globe trotter, went down on one knee & asked Akanksha – the ambitious, fashion loving girl, who; as her friends put it – ‘lacks any basic knowledge of World Geography’ — to be his wife.
Akanksha & Robert’s wedding celebrations started with their ‘Sangeet’ evening at a traditional arab Desert Camp. From the crazy jump-in entry on ‘Chammak Challo’, to Sing-along Music Performances and Stage-on-fire kind of Dance performances by their friends & family, and traditional folk dances like – Tanura & Raqs Sharqi by some of the best Dancers in UAE; coupled with a BBQ, Open Bar & Hookah – the evening was a perfect induction to the Arab world.
The Wedding Day started with the traditional welcome or ‘Tilak’ ceremony for the family by Akanksha’s mother followed by Haldi (vatna) for Akanksha. Before we knew it, it was late afternoon. And the Golden light from the evening Sun created a magical ambiance at the beautiful beach-side Rotana Cove Resort in Ras-al-Khaimah, UAE. Akanksha, accompanied by her Father and bridesmaids, reached the ‘Bridge’ – that separated her from the Wedding Party, the Mandap and of course, Robert. They exchanged Garlands across the wooden Bridge & went straight to the Mandap for their wedding ceremony & feras. Overlooking a breathtaking sunset by the beach, their Hindu Ceremony was truly a magnificent sight. The most emotional part of the evening was the time when Akanksha & Robert exchanged wedding rings & read out their vows to one another. An ‘I Do’ followed by some of the most touching speeches & toasts and a handful of never-heard-before secrets & nicknames.
The evening was full of endless dancing, drinking, chatting, eating, more drinking and a Bidai-in-the-buggy ceremony – which could not have been more fun & full of life! The Night ended in true Disney style – with a Shooting star brightening up the Night sky, and they ‘lived happily ever after…’
– Special Thanks to PingPing, Jinanda & Rucha – for helping me put this together <3
Their families knew each other for the longest time, most of their friends were common friends and they lived in the same city. And yet, for all practical purposes, were unaware of each other’s existence, until a birthday party got them together and they’ve never been apart since. This made for the perfect love story to culminate in a beautiful tropical wedding in Goa
The white sandy beaches of Majorda, Goa, played perfect host to the revelers from UK, for a fun loaded three days of ceremonies and partying beginning with vatna and mehendi by the sea side, for which Manpreet wore a bright yellow and hot pink lehenga-choli, and flowers in her hair. A mela theme saw a splash of bright colours across the beach, with a choori-wala and nariyal-wala and lots of colourful chakris and ethnic motifs around divans with bright cushions strewn across them.
A traditional Jaago and choora ceremony in the evening was followed by a Sangeet that rocked the dance floor, with all of Mane & Aran’s friends putting up a very special performance for them, and Harlem Shake proved to be the flavor of the evening as the dance floor came alive with insane energy levels unleashed all at once.
The wedding day started early, with Manpreet and Aran getting ready in their respective rooms and a short kalgi ceremony for Aran after which everyone set off for the Gurudwara in Vasco, where the brightly coloured baraat procession drew a lot of attention from the locals as Aran and his family made a grand entry, were well received by Manpreet’s family, waiting to welcome them, and after a Milni everyone proceeded for the Anandkaraj. It was a very emotional moment for Aran’s mum as Manpreet and Aran took the last phera around the holy book.
The wedding over, it was time for everyone to let their hair down and party all night at the Magical Forest at Park Hyatt, Goa, beautifully decorated by Candice and her very talented team from Marry Me Weddings – with lots of candles and some very elegant tapestry. And today was Manpreet’s day and she owned the dance floor, dancing to all the numbers belted out by the DJ, right from Bollywood chartbusters to Punjabi hits to dubstep. And she carried this over to the after-party that went on till the wee hours.
The final day was a white themed beach party at the popular beach shack – Zeebop – which again saw a lot of dancing and this time, also, a lot of emotional words of gratitude from Manpreet & Aran, to their parents for giving them a dream wedding and to all their friends and families for taking out the time and making the effort to be with them on a very special day in their lives.
Oh. And a big shout out to Bauuer, for putting so much energy in Manpreet & Aran’s wedding celebrations. I cannot imagine the 3 days without Harlem Shake!
In the recent past, a lot of my good friends broke the happy news of their upcoming nuptials. They flattered me asking if I could shoot some friendly advice their way – as to planning their Great Gig on the Earth (kindly forgive the allusion to Pink Floyd here).
Well, I am no expert in the industry but having observed and documented a lot of weddings in the capacity of a photographer, I learnt a few things that can come in handy if you are planning your own wedding and do not intend to involve a professional wedding planner. And I’m going to list them out here, so you can find use for them too. These points may or may not come-in handy if you are planning for a larger than life celebration at an exotic/obscure destination.
So the big question has been popped and you have said yes (if you are the bride; else you have popped the big question and a Yes has been said). Your parents and his/her parents have given you their blessings and the wedding date is being finalised. Of course you are over the moon and can’t wait to be together for good and have all your friends and family have the most memorable celebration. To ensure this, you’ll need to plan ahead. The key is to give yourself time – at least 6 to 8 months to organize the details and do it without stress. Now get a pretty little notebook, grab a mug of coffee or chai (#youprefer) and read on to figure what will help you create a beautiful, (almost) stress free wedding celebration that your guests will remember for a long long time.
1. Set the Date
Pick a date that gives you ample time to prepare. Figure in weather, public holidays or weekends if you want to make it easier for your guests. Check if the date you have chosen is among the most popular ones. If it is, there’s high chance you might miss out on your fav venue or other vendors. From personal experience, I can say that it makes sense to pick a date that is not a global favourite. Doing this will save you and your guests from traffic jams, confusion at the vendors’ – like make-up artists, caterers, decorators etc. and a few things less to worry about on your big day.
2. Guest List
This is *the* deciding factor in most cases, of the budget of the wedding. Your venue will need to be capable of hosting the number of your guests. Then, your caterer will give you a cost estimate based on the number of people she/he is making food for. You also need to know how are you going to host your out-station guests and how many of those are there. The easiest way to go about it, is to get an indicative list from both families first, and then follow up later with details.
3. Service Providers
If you still haven’t got a notebook out and are not making notes, please get started right away. You’ll need to list down all the key service providers – Caterers, Confectioners/Halwai (#youprefer), Decorators, Hair & make-up artists, Mehendi artists, Priest, Registrar – it is mandatory to register your wedding these days – Entertainment/DJ etc. and last but not the least, the photographers & videographers. Phew! that is quite a list. The best way to fill this list is by a. asking for recommendations, b. Google. Believe me, Google is indeed your best friend here. Google will let you determine the credentials of the service providers you have been recommended, or you found otherwise. See their work samples, discuss availability and budgets, and terms and conditions of course and book. If you really like somebody’s work, don’t wait too much to decide. And if you really perfer taking your time to make a decision, keep the option b, c and d handy.
4. Fitness & Beauty
You want to look grand on your big day. Everybody (well, almost) in your family, extended family, and your friends and colleagues will be watching. There will be pictures and video and you do not want regrets or I-wish-I’d-done-this to cross your mind later on. Besides, being fit and looking their best never hurt anyone. So if you don’t already follow a fitness regime, now is a good time to start one. A healthy and balanced diet, supplemented by any of your favourite activities/exercises – gym/yoga/power yoga/pilates/zumba/dance/
Are you going to move to a new home? Or are you going to move to an existing room in the family home? What are the gifts that you are taking along? If you have stuff like home accessories, home linen etc. lined up, it would make sense to shop for it early on. These are things that do not go out of fashion And once you’ve shopped for these, you can mark them off on the checklist (don’t tell me you still haven’t made one!) and pack them up.
6. Invites & Guest Accommodation
So, I’m assuming you’ve laid out a strong foundation for the big event (Ok, I understand your wedding is really personal and close to your heart, but wake up – it is an event at the end of the day and if you’re not going to put your emotions aside for a bit, the organization will suffer. Let’s begin by calling things by their names, okay? Okay.) So, in a couple of months, you’ve got the key things in place – the venue(s), the caterer, the guest-list (more-or-less) and while we have about 5-6 months in hand, lets get your invites done. Do you have a knack for design? Did you see a gorgeous invite recently? Meet with a few card-makers. Figure if you want to do different sets of invites – a more formal set to be sent out by your parents and a more fun set to be sent out by you. This is also a good time to start making stay arrangements for your out-station guests. Ask friends and relatives if they are up for hosting some of your guests – does someone have a vacant house, which you could use for a few days? This way, you can be sure of providing a very comfortable stay to all your guests, without blowing a hole in your pockets and being worried about their comfort.
7. Wedding Dresses
Do you have a thing for designer bling? Or are you a sucker for D-I-Y? Either way, go window shopping, browse a few blogs and decide what style appeals to you. Make an appointment with your fav designer or darzee (#youprefer) and choose your options for the different events. To avoid the last minute hustle and unbearable stress, start the preparations on this front too – get your measurements taken, order your outfits for the big day and for the slightly less big days around the big day. While you’re at it – do not forget that you will need matching accessories and paraphernalia – shoes/jootis, bangles/costume jewellery, ties/bow-ties, cuff-links etc. Order/Purchase these little details when you are getting your main outfits ready and voilà! You have another item taken care of on your checklist.
Guess what, we’re over halfway through. And I reckon this is too much text/information to swallow for one blog post. So, I’m off to make myself a cup of fresh masala chai, and I will leave you with this parting thought – it is one thing to be organized and to follow a fitness regime and it is quite another thing (and not a nice one) to be overly obsessed with planning your big day and worrying about if you are thin enough or pretty enough. Listen to James Blunt – You’re Beautiful! (And) It’s true…