By Arjun Kartha
Sonam and Vivek tied the knot in a traditional Syrian Christian ceremony in Kochi this year. Happily, the much feared July monsoon held out for their perfect day. To add to the beautiful Church and ceremony, the couple took a keen interest in the smallest of details - from the matching groom & bride cars, to the fantastic violinist Balabhaskar, the photo booth to the flash mob - to ensure that their guests had a wonderful time and took home many fun memories.
With so much attention to detail and the fact that the couple was really willing to go that extra mile, I wanted to make sure that their wedding album was something that would make their grandkids envious of how "cool" their grandparents really were! Here's a small selection of some of my favorite pictures from the time I spent with Vivek and Sonam - along with some notes on what I was trying to achieve and how we finally got there.
Being a bride isn't easy! We woke up at 6 in the morning to get to the salon-Sonam was half asleep, but she was a real trooper. I spiked myself with several cups of coffee, but I don't think Sonam had that luxury.
I really wanted to get her some pictures that would remind her years later that not only was she the queen for the day - but was also a bridezilla (by her own admission, not mine!)
Most of what I shoot are moments from the wedding AS they happen - but Sonam walking down the stairs in a lovely gown was too much of a photo-op to resist!
During the ceremony, there was a bevy of photographers all over. I decided to find moments from the wedding that would really stand out. The priest wasn't too keen on anyone walking around, so I switched to my 'paparazzi' lens and looked around for just about anything that caught my eye. To my surprise, when you alter your perspective - there's just so much detail that you can find. Here's a small sample of the vibrant colours I found there!
All through the wedding, I kept looking out for a moment I could get the couple all to myself. Right after lunch, they were just about to leave when I waylaid them in the car just as they were about to pull out. I generally hate odd poses, so I decided to let them be themselves. I started talking to them, and remember saying something corny like "So guys, how does it feel to be married?" - with my eye glued to the viewfinder - and they spontaneously reached out and kissed each other. Magic!
Now I knew that this was a "girl- next-door" story - so I just HAD to bring that into the album somewhere. Again, quickly improvising- I managed to get a few minutes with the couple just after they had gotten married and were heading to their rooms to change - so I had them act out a small skit. Step 1: Boy meets girl. Step 2: Boy asks out girl. Step 3: The rest is history! The wicked grin on Vivek's face in Step 3 is really what made this picture stand out for me!
One aspect of the wedding that I really wanted to document was how much the friends and family pitched in - and how the bond between the groomsmen and the bridesmaids is such an important part of the wedding! I managed to get them all together for 15 minutes - which was quite a task by itself. Everyone was rather tired after the ceremony and I knew I didn't have much time. I wanted to get a group shot of all of them - but didn't want a traditional posed approach. On the spur of the moment, I yelled "group hug" and somehow everything naturally fell into place.
Here are some pictures that really happen at the spur of the moment-the "tug of war" and "throwing the bouquet". After the group hug, I wanted to get more fun shots of the group. This tug-of-war was really fun, and we all know that nobody messes with the bride - so it's no big secret who won!
The first dance is something that's rather sacred during a wedding. Since this was an impromptu gathering before the actual "official" first dance, I really wanted to build on how important friendships are when you start seeing someone, and decide to get married. The first dance, surrounded by close friends and family is really a moment to remember. The challenge here was to make everyone focus without feeling that they were posing for a photo - but in the end everyone had a good time and I'm happy I was able to get a few good pictures of the moment.
After 15 minutes of hectic bouquet catching, tug of wars and lots of laughing - the girls were really tired but the boys were game to go on. I decided to ask the boys to hoist Vivek up in the air - after all, it's easier to get married with a little support from your friends!
The next morning, tired and sore from all the hectic shooting the previous day, I was lucky to spend a few hours with the couple alone at the Bolgatty Palace in Cochin. My usual approach is to just ask the couple to be themselves while I lurk in the background with as little input as possible until they gradually forget the annoying photographers altogether. We didn't have much time, so I knew I had to work fast. Luckily, Sonam and Vivek were just perfect and were probably secretly glad to get away from the crowd and be alone for the first time as a newly married couple. A low hanging branch, a boardwalk, a deckchair by the pool and a swing were fun spots to hang about for a while. After finding a good spot, I just let them be- and that's when the best pictures just made themselves. Just before wrapping up, they wanted a picture of them jumping off the pier into the ocean (the symbolism just gets me...marriage is about jumping into the ocean without a lifejacket, get it? ;) )- now I knew I couldn't ACTUALLY make them jump so I asked them to run down and stop just short of jumping. Or did they? Pictures don't lie!
Shooting weddings is great fun, and I hope you enjoyed this insight into what goes into making magical moments come alive for a couple during a wedding.
About Arjun Kartha Photography:
Arjun Kartha is a professional photographer based in New Delhi, India. Follow Arjun on his Facebook fan page (www.facebook.com/ArjunKarthaPhotography) or on his website, www.arjunkarthaphotography.com