I’ve been really busy with work these past couple of weeks, but the good news is I finished all of the processing of the Winter season. Now, I have some free time to get back on the blogging scene and catch up with my readers. Every wedding, Mahroo and I are approached by curious guests with questions on photography, but we aren’t always able to answer them as we’re busy shooting. On top of which, some of our enthusiast readers have e-mailed us questions that they would like answered. So, as an attempt to catch up on responding, I bring you the second installment of our Reader Questions.
What are some of the challenges that you guys face at South Asian weddings that aren’t necessarily an issue at mainstream Western weddings? – Keith Burke, North Carolina
The biggest challenge we face at Desi, or South Asian, events are crowds. Unlike Western weddings, there are a lot more guests and the events are far less formal. It all becomes a controlled chaos where you have to adapt to the people around you, yet still manage to do your job.
Some guests always get too eager to be “the couple’s favorite family photographer” and don’t realize that by jumping in front of us during the most important parts of the day, they’re hindering the photographs the clients have hired us to create. Also, you always want to be careful of guests who are so busy partying that at times, they don’t consider safety as a serious issue. For instance, there was a guest who was spinning a large wooden cane as a part of a folk dance without seeing who is behind him. His spinning cane missed my head and my camera by only a few small inches.
I remind myself that everyone is there to have a great time and everyone is a friend or family member of the couple. So, the only thing I can really do is understand, adapt, smile, and do the best I can do. Check out some of the crowds:
A lot of weddings get dark and require photographers to push their cameras to the extreme. What ISO settings do you shoot throughout the day and do you feel that high ISO settings are a must? – Anam Shakeel, New Jersey
Settings are settings and just that. I used to get entangled in numbers and rules when I first started and thought that the camera was responsible for making the images come out the way they are supposed to. I was wrong. Honestly, I’m not trying to push a cliche`, but it truly is up to the photographer how they want to approach any given situation. Really high iso isn’t mandatory, however, a camera that can handle iso1600 well is a good tool to have.
I love your bridal and couple’s photos. At weddings, how do you guys do the lighting for the dramatic couples photographs (type of lights, placement, etc.)? I’m sure, like many photographers, you’re limited on time and space. So, how do you work with your lighting? – Waqas Shahid, Virginia
The most important tools in capturing dramatic portraiture – after you have a dramatic idea – are lights and clean (or interesting) backgrounds. We try to use backgrounds and lights in a way that really set the couple apart. Remember, you never want to make the photograph about your skills, how cool you are as a photographer, or how nice your equipment is. The photograph should ALWAYS be about the SUBJECT. The types of light we utilize for this goal varies on situations, destinations, and timing.
I’ve always wanted to shoot multiple day Indian events, but have never had the chance. One thing I think about is how I would go about cataloging such a wedding and what my workflow would be. What are somethings you recommend in regards to organizing such huge projects? – Alex Stern, South Carolina
We first create a folder for the couple and then download each event in a dedicated subfolder. After that, we import the main folder into Lightroom and start culling the images. You can use star ratings, flagging, or color filters to arrange things as you like. We start marking the ones we like for the blog, slideshow, and final gallery/dvd. Once the organization is done, Mahroo and I start processing the images (color, contrast, cross-tinting, cloning, air brushing, etc.)
Everyone’s mind works differently and it’s important to have a workflow that fits your needs best. Backing up is also essential and if you are working with a partner, having a networked file structure that supports multiple work stations is extremely important.
The quality of your images from start to finish is always wonderful. During the long days of shooting, what do you do to stay inspired throughout the wedding day? – Nancy Cemei, NYC
Honestly, I just take a breather. Whenever I have downtime during the day, I let Mahroo take over and sit down for a second to plan, construct, and compose. I’m a planner, so I try to make sure I have everything rehearsed in my mind before it happens. With so much going on in the day, a lot of times things change last minute so Mahroo and I have to wing it and go with the flow. Nonetheless, it always helps to still have somewhat of a rough idea as to what we’re going to do next. Yours Truly, taking a second out to put things into perspective: