Sikhs don’t necessarily like looking at themselves in a mirror, so when we do we often find ourselves taking countless portraits. And why not, when looking back over the past few years the impact of western culture has been massive! We have become a fashion generation, driven primarily by the media that wants to show us glamorous weddings and celebrity weddings. This means we want our wedding day to be featured in the papers, on the television, on the internet, and in magazines. Not only that you will probably never see us in an album but that we are quite possibly famous! As multi award winning London wedding photographers who are expert at capturing and photographing all the Sikh wedding traditions we know where and how best to ideally position ourselves for the best shots.
There is an element of theatre involved in most Sikh wedding photography, because you have to capture the emotion of a small group of people whilst maintaining the focus on what is truly happening. And this is a whole different discipline to traditional photography, where a long exposure is taken to expose the scene, then edited together to create a film; it is very different to a digital camera and requires a different approach. There is no pre-lensing or post-lensing involved, because all the work can be done at any time, even when you are on the move.
For many couples the actual attire is one of the main features of sikh weddings. It’s important to capture both the dress and the bride’s looks, which is why many Sikh photography firms employ a designer with a strong background in Indian fashion to come onto the project and provide their own creative input. There is no need to think too much about colour, as the colour of the dress is representative of the culture of the bride and groom, so the photographer needs to choose warm, flattering colours for the dress rather than hot pink or lime green. With so many colours to choose from it should hardly be a problem, and it helps that the wardrobe of the model is heavily decorated so there are plenty of brightly coloured pieces to choose from.
The bride is also a pivotal part of Sikh weddings, and there is a lot that can be achieved with a simple camera in hand, but a beautifully posed and candid shot of her is a real feature. A typical Sikh bride has been traditionally depicted as beautiful and serene, so capturing every inch of her is essential. In fact, a common theme in Sikh weddings is for the bride to wear only one pearl on her finger as a symbol of her purity and to ensure that no blemishes will mar her image. This is not a requirement for all Sikhs, but wearing a single pearl is a mark of respect and dedication, and any bride who wants to look her best during this important ceremony will do well to stick to this principle.
Finally there is the wedding album itself, and Sikh weddings are often very colourful celebrations so a really effective way to capture the essence of the occasion is with a wedding album. A professional photographer will already have a good idea of what a good album should look like, but it is worth asking the bride to help. There is no need to try and replicate the album that your friend might have gone for, since yours will be totally different and unique. The main aim is just to create something that looks good and is not too intrusive, so as long as the two of you can get along, you should be okay.
Over the past few years, digital photography has improved a great deal and has also opened up a whole new avenue for Sikh wedding photography. It allows the photographers to capture more natural movement and to adjust the focus more easily. This has meant that more Sikhs are now going to these specialist photographers to have their wedding rituals captured. With so many different traditions to follow, and so many different colours to choose from, it comes as no surprise that so much detail is needed.