Indian Wedding Photography

Indian Wedding Photography – A Colorful Timeline of Events

Indian weddings are ultra-rich and vibrant ceremonies, both in terms of culture and color. In fact, Indian weddings stand out for the extravagant and lovely use of colors; a sight that’s unique to the country. For the same reason, Indian wedding photography as a profession serves to be a true testimony to the vibrancy and happiness that unfolds in Indian wedding celebrations. And most of the time, owing to the culture-rich rituals that form part of the ceremonies, you also get to see a series of beautiful emotions, which makes the celebrations even more special.

This is why Indian wedding photography unlike any other type of wedding photography requires great skill and dedication. A typical Indian wedding lasts two or three days in total with a host of pre-wedding and post-wedding rituals like Mehendi, Haldi, Sangeet, Vidaai, and more. Each event is more colorful than the other and culturally significant as well. Because an Indian wedding is so extravagant, it is important to maintain a timeline of different events and prepare ahead of them, so that the rituals flow seamlessly and along with them the photography. It is extremely important for an Indian wedding photographer and their team to be well-versed, proactive, and ready to capture the moments as and when they come.

So here is an overview of what we typically cover over a long and eventful Indian wedding day.

Bridal Makeup And Hair

The day starts quite early with bridal makeup and hair being the first order of business. This is a time-consuming yet important affair that needs proper prepping and patience.

Wedding Portraits

Now for some aesthetic, frame-worthy portrait shots of the bride and groom. The photography teams on both sides huddle together.

The Groom Gets Ready

Just like the delicate details in the bride’s dressing room, there are precious moments in the groom’s room as well. The groom’s attire, his shoes, the intricate details on his outfit.

Group Images

An Indian wedding is a grand celebration at its core and it calls for the best looks in the entire family. The members are also very much a part of the wedding album and it is time to capture everyone.

The First Look

The first look is the first time the bride and groom see each other for the first time before they head to the “mandap” where the rest of the ceremonies will be held.

The Mandap – The Venue

While the portrait shots and group shots are getting done, we have a separate team covering the gorgeous details of the decorated “Mandap” or the venue before the families enter the scene. This is because the décor team has put in hours of work to get the venue to look like a dream destination for the couple to get married in and details are not to be missed.

Indian weddings are well-known for their floral décor elements and traditional aesthetics. Indian wedding photography is simply not complete without some top-class shots of the wedding venue.

The Baraat

Perhaps one of the most fun and colorful ceremonies in an Indian wedding, the “Baraat” is when the groom and his folks make their way to the venue in a musical procession. Usually, the groom makes his entry on a horse or an elephant or sometimes even an extravagantly decorated car, while his friends and family sing and dance around.

To film this very important and fun event, we make use of drones and high-angle shots, so that we can perfectly capture all the great moments in a dynamic moving crowd. Our professional Indian wedding photography team is in fact quite well known for its unique and precious Baraat pictures and videos.

The Arrival of the Baraat

Once the Baraat arrives at the venue, the bride’s family proceeds to greet and receive the team, and escorts them to the decorated Mandap. The groom is required to take his shoes off when stepping onto the Mandap and this sets the cue for the “Jutha Chupai” ceremony where the bride’s family playfully hides the groom’s shoes. The groom is required to find them and retrieve them at the end of all events. Once again, the ceremony involves a lot of tiny details and fun moments, all of which have to be captured with great precision. The “Jutha Chupai” ceremony in particular will involve many endearing moments that add color, character, and vibrance to the wedding album. These moments if captured at the right times and from the right angles, will indeed leave the bride and the groom feeling nostalgic and warm, when they take a trip down memory lane later on in life.

Ganesh Pooja

It is a wonderful Indian tradition to offer prayers to Lord Ganesha, before beginning an important event in life. This is because pleasing Him with prayers is said to help remove negative energies and obstacles that may hinder the start of our new journey.

For the same reason, we have an official Ganesh pooja before the official wedding ceremonies begin in an Indian wedding as well. This is said to help ease the flow of events during the wedding and also allow the newlyweds to lead a long and happy married life.

Being a crucial part of Indian culture, an Indian wedding album inevitably needs these pictures as well. In fact. Most Indian wedding albums have pictures from their Ganesh pooja in great detail.

The Arrival of The Bride

Now it is time for the bride to enter the “Mandap”.

The ceremony is traditionally called “Kanya Agaman” and this is when the bride slowly makes her way to the Mandap to perform the rest of the ceremonies. She is usually accompanied by her maternal uncle or her bridesmaids. Sometimes her friends may also form part of her little gang.

This is where we get those gorgeous shots of the beautiful anxious bride before she steps onto the Mandap to tie the knot. We can also capture some amazing pictures of the bride’s entourage, the warm moments between her and her uncle and friends, etc.

This is a rather short ceremony, which necessitates quick frames and quick clicks on the part of the photographer.

The Wedding Ceremony

Once the bride and the groom, accompanied by their immediate family members, step onto the Mandap, it is time for the official wedding ceremonies to begin. A typical Hindu wedding consists of several different rituals signifying different aspects of the Hindu culture.

First, there is a floral garland exchange called the “Varamala” ceremony followed by a ring exchange between the bride and the groom. After this, the father of the bride places his daughter’s hand over the groom’s hand in an act where he gives away his daughter to the groom. This ceremony is called the “Kanyadaan”.

Then there are a number of rituals involving the sacred fire or the “Homa”, done while reciting important Sanskrit Mantras. All of them hold immense significance in Hindu mythology and culture. In the Mangalsutra ceremony, the groom places a sacred necklace around the neck of the bride while reciting Vedic mantras. This necklace is said to be made with 108 sacred yellow cotton threads with a pendant in the center called the “thali”.

The “Saptapadi” and “Mangal phera” ceremonies involve recital and reinforcement of the wedding vows. This is done while the couple’s dupattas or shawls are tied together and while they take seven steps around the “homa” symbolizing the seven vows. More rituals follow these exciting and emotional events in the wedding ceremony, meant to bind the bride and groom together for life. Bringing these special moments alive through the reels is our job.

At Shan Photography, we consider it our privilege to shoot every magical moment in your love story. And our team of shutterbugs goes the extra mile to ensure that all crucial elements fall in the frame. We also love filming the priceless emotions in between, perfect for you to relive these moments over and over again over the years. With the “Ashirwad”, or the event where the senior members of both families bless the couple with special gifts and prayers, the ceremonies on the Mandap come to an end.

Now it is time for the “Vidaai” which is yet another emotional and important feat.


During the “Vidaai” ceremony, the entire family gets together to offer a big send-off for the newly married couple. It is a grand gesture of blessing and couple and wishing them a great life ahead.

In Indian wedding photography, this is one of the golden moments where the crowd comes alive with overwhelming emotions, including happiness, sadness, love, affection, and much more. This is where we as a team work together to capture the scene from multiple angles and positions, so that we get the best of each family member for the couple to rejoice, for years down the line.

Wedding Lunch

What’s an Indian wedding without a grand feast?

It is now time for everyone including the bride and the groom to have a great scrumptious lunch. Most families prefer using authentic Indian caterers and having the best food that reminds them of home.

In photography, this is a great time to capture the mouth-watering food, the delicious textures of the dishes, the colors of the desserts, and of course the amazing people enjoying the food.

In addition to the food, the lunch session would be a good time to capture some formal shots of the family members.

Couple Photography

Time to take some more great pictures of the newlyweds in their grand wedding attire, before they change into their next outfits.

This session is usually a more relaxed and laid-back opportunity to take some great pictures as the team gets more time to consider frames and shoot the couple, while the rest of the family slowly has lunch and retreats for the afternoon.

During this session, we also get to film the couple wearing the adornments from the cultural and religious ceremonies including the “mangalsutra”, the “sindhoor” and the wedding rings, etc.

The initial couple photography sessions were from before the couple officially became one, while this session films them after. It will be quite interesting to see the transformation through the pages of the wedding album.

Getting Ready For The Reception

After some well-deserved downtime for the bride and the groom as well as their families, everyone starts getting ready for the reception. Once again, we set out in two teams to capture the gorgeous details from the bride’s room as well as the groom’s room.

The bride’s hair and makeup is also retouched or redone altogether and we like to get some good shots of the new look up close. The groom typically changes into a dapper suit or an outfit that goes well with the look of the bride. We love capturing the little details on the groom’s end as well, like the boutonnières, cufflinks, shoes, and other striking colors.

Reception Details

The reception venue is just as grandly decorated as the wedding venue, and it calls for detailed attention as well. Indian wedding photography teams like ours love to capture many wonderful details, like the décor, the aesthetics, the furniture, the dinner cutlery, the flowers, and of course the reception guests when they arrive. There may also be other important and endearing venue details such as framed pictures of the couple, perhaps some entry decor, party favors arranged on the sidebar, the dessert table spread including the wedding cake, the decor elements on the backdrop, the lighting, and many more. All of these little details allow the couple and their families to recall how grand and fun their Reception was.

Indian Wedding Photographer San Francisco

The Grand Entrance

As the newlyweds make their way into the reception venue, the crowd bursts into cheers and congratulatory wishes. Family members greet them with bouquets and sweets as well. It is indeed a sight to behold and the energy in the room must be captured by all means.

In cue with the crowd’s cheering and welcome, the couple enters the venue with great happiness and gratitude. It marks their first official event as a couple which is also why the moment must absolutely be caught and framed.

In addition to the emotions, the grand entrance also proves to be a great way to film smaller details like the sparkle of the embellishments on the couple’s outfits against the venue lighting, the entryway decorations, and the ambiance of the evening.

Performances, Speeches, And Dinner

Indian wedding receptions are usually filled with fun and energetic dance and song performances by friends and family members. We also get to see some heartfelt speeches by loved ones. Then of course there’s dinner, where we can see everyone indulging in some fine food again.

The performances, the speeches, the toasts, and the conversations in between; are all a big part of the grand celebration and it is indeed the photographer’s job to film each moment without fail.

To film all of these details with great precision, we make use of high-quality zoom lenses, 4K lenses, and similar technologies. We also use suitable lighting to complement the artificial lighting of the venue, as the event is in the evening.

The First Dance

An amazing moment of the night that cannot be missed is the couple’s first dance as newlyweds. It is a lovely and romantic gesture, where the bride and the groom either prepare a dance for the crowd and perform, or perform freely. The song chosen is typically something that holds meaning for them as a couple, or just a romantic love song of their choice.

There are usually a hundred different beautiful frames to film a first dance as it is filled with elegant moves and soft smiles, and we need the best equipment to capture the moves as well as the facial expressions.

We use high-precision sliders and automatic gimbals for perfectly stable 360-degree shots to capture the dance moves, along with the emotions.

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