Pre-wedding photography has gained major momentum of late and what started out as simple traditional portraits has grown into planned & styled shoots in interesting locations that really showcase the couple’s style and history.
We speak to India’s top photography talent on the most inspiring places for couples to show off their love for the camera.
Namit and Vipul (Knotty Affair)
While every location has a distinct vibe that complements the nature of the shoot, we prefer to shoot in Udaipur when we can. It is definitely one of the most versatile venues we know. There are a series of artificial lakes, lavish royal residences, palaces, courtyards and gardens; the city epitomizes the grandeur of ancient Indian royalty. The regal surroundings make it an ideal destination for pre wedding shoots.
Favorite Location: Udaipur
Shweta and Soumak (The Creative Lens)
As more couples realize how fun (and important) a pre-wedding photo shoot can be, several classic locations are making a reappearance. We love Chandni Chowk in Delhi for its unusual potential. However, a ‘safer’ bet would be Connaught Place also in Delhi. It’s easily accessible and has myriad moods at different ties of the day. CP at midnight especially is magical – light and shadow creating drama and at that time, you’ll have it all to yourself.
Favorite Location: Chandni Chowk, Connaught Place, Delhi
Aastha and gaurav (Hitched and Clicked)
Rajasthan has always been our favorite destination. No matter how often you shoot there, it always seems unique. There’s grandeur, vibrant colors, panoramic views and its ever appealing culture. It’s brimming with all the elements you need to compose spectacular shots. Be it the stunning architecture that takes you back to the age of royalty or monochrome sandscapes that burst into color with their fiery sunsets, there are plenty of backgrounds to choose from to match the theme of the shoot.
Favorite Location: Rajasthan
Shruti and Jayant (Cupcake Productions)
London, hands down! It is one of our favorite pre-wedding shoot locations in the world! Memories captured here are bound to be everlasting reminders of time spent in this beautiful city. Much like the spectacular venues with magnificent backdrops, the pictures taken in London tend to be rather dreamy. The landscapes, heritage and interesting city exhibits never fail to inspire creativity and add to the personality of the photographs. Tower Bridge deserves a special mention for making every shot postcard-perfect!
Favorite Location: London
Aditya and Aditya (Whatknot)
Tucked away in Lonavala, Pavana Lake makes for a quaint spot to photograph couples too shy to pose in front of bystanders. Easily accessible from both Pune and Mumbai, Pavana Lake is gaining popularity amongst city dwellers who are charmed by the countryside. With its grassy banks and pristine waters bordered by mountains, this venue looks like it is right out of a fairy tale. One of the most exclusive features of this location is that the sun sets in the lake. You only have a 45-minute window to get all your pictures in place but the results are astounding.
Favorite Location: Pavana Lake, Lonavala
Siddharth Sharma (House on the Clouds)
One of my recent favorite shoot locations is the Rann of Kutch. Shooting here is not a cakewalk, mind you, but it works as a blank canvas. To a photographer, it provides a great deal of liberty to be creative when directing shots. They can get as imaginative as they want and paint the picture just the way they like. This experience is very challenging, but at the same time extremely satisfying.
Favorite Location: Rann of Kutch
Deepanshi Kapoor (Happyframes)
I find it a little difficult to pin down one location as my favorite. The way I like to work is by asking the couple a lot of questions about their vision and eventually zero in on a space that emulates their descriptions. I believe this is the simplest way to arrive at a decision which will keep the bride and the groom happy.
So I can’t pick just one particular place but let me say I do love settings with a lot of greenery; and if we can get a beach along with that, it’s definitely a bonus. An easy trick, however, to get absolutely any location to suit your style, is to wear colors that contrast with the location. You’ll stand out and the photos will look great.
Favorite Location: any location
‘Pre-wedding’ is associated with fun, anticipation and cosy moments before the wedding and what could be a better way of capturing it than merging memories in the pictures. So I give more importance to a place to which the couple are emotionally attached instead of recommending an exotic or picturesque location. It is indeed a heartening experience to photograph love birds at places where they have spent quality time getting to know each other. Sometimes couples don’t have a story to tell but are excited about a pre-wedding shoot, and that is when we explore new or amazing destinations.
Favorite Location: Couple’s choice / new destinations
Located on the bank of Lake Pichola, The Oberoi, Udaivilas is lush, enchanting, opulent and timeless. The palatial hotel is reminiscent of an old world charm where heritage, traditions and rituals of the kingdom of Mewar have been preserved. I could spend an entire day there and yet feel like I have not seen it all. Boasting grand architecture featuring sprawling courtyards, lakeside grand steps, Mewar artistry, domes and reflecting pools, every corner of this 30 acre property is picturesque – making it my favourite location to shoot fine art and editorials.
Favorite Location: Lake Pichola, The Oberoi, Udaivilas
I would have to say that the place I wish to shoot at is the Dead Sea in Israel. I have unfortunately not shot a couple there (yet) but the place is simply magical. The sun sets behind the Judea desert, the sea is lit by the reflecting light from the red mountains on the Jordan side of the water. The feel is magical, the colours of the desert and the sky, the quality of light and the peaceful quiet of the desert. I always let my emotions connect to the place where I shoot and I guess the desert brings back childhood memories. Those are of course a part of what formed me as a person and influenced the way I look at the world.
I can’t really say that I have something like a ‘favourite’ place to shoot. Some places like Goa or those with historic monuments do indeed make a wonderful backdrop for stunning pictures but I may not go there twice for a pre-wedding shoot. If I did, I would do if I felt I could produce different work than I did before. I believe good images are everywhere and they all depend on the eye of the photographer.
Favorite Location: Dead Sea, Israel; Historic monuments, Goa
Badal and Raja Jain
Badal and Raja Jain
When we think of Pre-wedding shoots, the first city that comes to our mind is Udaipur. The city where we have photographed the grandest weddings and a place that is all about timeless elegance and style. Every parent, planner or photographer wants the couple to feel like a Prince and Princess on the day of their wedding. And Udaipur with its charming locations, lakes and luxury resorts, exudes royalty and truly makes him and her feel like a Prince and Princess. Much before South East Asia, Europe, New Zealand and Australia became the honeymoon hot-spots, this place was the top choice for couples looking for a unique, romantic destination and stay at one of the best hotels in the world- Lake Palace, Udaipur.
Favorite Location: Udaipur
Snigdha Sheel and Vinayak Das (PhotoTantra)
Snigdha Sheel and Vinayak Das (PhotoTantra)
Every pre-wedding shoot has been a most memorable experience, after all every couple is special. But four places where our experience has been special include Oberoi Udaivilas, Kumortuli Kolkata, Bodhnath Kathmandu and Angsana Laguna Phuket. We often talk about our experience in Kumortuli as most couples even in Kolkata would be unaware of this rare location for a pre-wedding shoot. We went there in 2009 and photographed a couple with Durga Puja idols as backdrop. The mud idols as well as old houses make for an interesting backdrop. The locals are very helpful and co-operative and a camera ticket here comes at a very nominal fee. It feels great to go and shoot there, interact with locals and contribute in whatever small way one can.
Favorite Location: Oberoi Udaivilas, Kumortuli Kolkata, Bodhnath Kathmandu and Angsana Laguna Phuket
Anup J Kat
Anup J Kat
I never let a location curb my creativity- this has helped me shoot anywhere. The location could be a simple wall or nice floor, a home or backyard, barren land, a lane or anywhere actually. A lot of inspiration comes from the couple themselves – what they do, who they are and what they like. It is the couple and the happiness that surrounds their union that makes the moment special and that makes capturing it worthwhile.
Favorite Location: Any location
My favourite place for a pre-wedding shoot has always been Goa. Breath-taking sunsets, beautiful resorts, Churches, Portuguese architecture, old monuments, beaches, greens, mountains, unpredictable skies, rain and the freedom to be away from the crowds- all at one place! It helps me create a variety of pictures- from fun pictures at the beach, to postcards around the monuments and resorts and some really romantic pictures at sunset. Personally, it has always been a creatively satisfying experience to create compelling pictures in Goa while getting to know the couple right before their wedding.
Favorite Location: Goa
Devendra (Dev) Purbiya
Taj Safari Lodges make for such an extraordinary backdrop for pre-wedding shoots. Two years ago I got an opportunity to shoot at Taj Baghvan near Pench National Park. It’s the kind of place that gets you to forget all deadlines or pressures and enjoy home-style comfort in the wilderness. Baghvan Lodge is located by a lovely stream, surrounded by forest – offering a window into the wilderness. The luxury bungalows with sun filtering through the Jharokha offer interesting backdrops for a photo shoot. When we were at Baghvan, there was no television or mobile connectivity in the cottages and that made it a real vacation, though it was a work trip for me.
Favorite Location: Taj Safari Lodges
Anand Rathi (Reels and Frames)
New York City! The sheer vibrancy of this city makes for an exhilarating experience. Though most photographers prefer a quaint environment to shoot in, New York somehow manages to knit both ends of the spectrum seamlessly- from the serene trails of central park to the hustling crossroads of lower Manhattan. A big plus is that unlike most urban cities in India or abroad, NYC is very tolerant to shooting outdoors. Maybe it is because of the many tourists, but we don’t complain.
Favorite Location: New York City
Monisha Ajgaonkar (The Photo Diary)
Sahara Aamby Valley—a place I feel that has been made for love birds who love the great outdoors! There is fabulous weather almost the whole year round, with monsoon just upping the feel of romance in the air. Rich flora and fauna lend a magical touch to the pictures and the best part is it is not too far away from Mumbai!
Favorite Location: Sahara Aamby Valley
Ankita and Akash (WeddingNama)
Of the many places we have shot, Jadhavgarh Fort in Pune is one of the most picturesque. It is one of the few locations where you don’t have to pre-plan your frames. Everywhere you turn, there is a beautiful backdrop – majestic arches, stone walls, preserved architecture, stunning poolside, textured backgrounds, lush green gardens, banyan trees and to top it all a serene temple. The Maharaja and Maharani suites look very royal and are perfect locations for shoots. Even though the Fort is converted into a hotel, the rustic charm of the 300 year old place remains.
Favorite Location: Jadhavgarh Fort, Pune
Jhalak Singhal and Ashwin Mishra (Shades)
Though we are based in Mumbai, in the last year or so, we have done shoots at many outdoor and heritage locations in Delhi. One of our favourite locations in the capital is the National Rail Museum in Chanakyapuri. It is the only open museum we have ever seen and we’d say it is a must-visit not just for children but for adults too. With over 100 exhibits of Indian Railways, signalling equipment and rail-related literature, the Museum is also known for royal & princely locomotives and saloons such as the Saloon of Prince of Wales, Saloon of Maharaja of Mysore and others. And while it is an exciting journey there, the beautiful background of the rusty locomotives and princely saloons give pre-wedding photographs a touch of royalty and timeless style.
Favorite Location: National Rail Museum, Chanakyapuri
This article was previously published in 2015. It is reformatted and republished in 2017.