Last week, we photographed our first wedding since mid-March. After a 3 month break, we were genuinely elated to pick up the cameras to photograph a wedding. While we had kept ourselves busy with various personal photography projects, there is a different joy associated with weddings, and it is the little moments that leave us feeling fulfilled. Waiting patiently like a sniper and being able to capture just the right moment; hunting for good light fervently and finding it; photographing the couple laughing in perfect unison; and so on.
We worked in collaboration with Daa’emi Films and it was vital for us to be in sync with each other, given the “new normal” and nature of the situation. We didn’t want to end up obstructing one another and having worked together on a few weddings previously, we were familiar with each other’s style of working. And thus kicked off the week of celebrations of Apoorva and Kanishk.
WeddingsByKishor Photography Crew – Kishor, Suri and Suresh
Daa’emi Films Crew – Darshani, Namrata, Gaurav, and Venky.
Bride Make Up – Tamanna Makeup Studio
Bride Wedding Outfit – Tarun Tahiliani
Wedding Venue – ITC Kohenur
Wedding Planners – Ishte Weddings
HOW WE ADAPTED
Our primary change in our process of shooting was of course, the masks. All of us wore triple layered cotton masks for the entire duration of the shoot, only taking it off during meal times. I think the mask is the single easiest way to combat the spread of covid-19 and we wore them with discipline. For the events at home, we even carried our own water bottles, to minimize contact. Bottles of sanitizer were carried by every team member and we used them every time we finished a session of shooting. We consciously avoided touching surfaces like the backs of chairs, decor elements, etc – an activity that would have been done without a thought in the old world.
The venue for the Sangeet and Wedding was ITC Kohenur. The hotel itself ensured as many precautions as possible. They sanitized all bags upon entry and ensured that there were plenty of hand sanitizer bottles. Buffet food is normally a high contact situation but they minimized this by having every plate wrapped in paper, and each serving station was separated from the guest by a large sheet of plexiglass. Food was served through a small opening, through which we had to put our plate. Its safe to say that every measure was taken to minimize any chance of transmission. Additionally, given that the main hall was capable of accommodating 400+ guests, there was ample room for 50 guests to move around.
I have been a firm believer in our approach and philosophy of capturing moments, reactions and expressions of not just the couple, but also the loved ones. Even at larger events, we always make ourselves familiar with all the main family and friends so as to be ready to predict and photograph interactions and emotions. That remained unchanged in this scenario of fewer guests. I have grown to become a sort of mind reader over the years, being able to know when a bride might shed a tear or when the grandmother may grin in joy. It is customary for us to know all the main family members by name and they know us the same way too. This becomes doubly important in these small guest weddings where you would feel like a stranger if you don’t familiarize yourself with everyone.
We scaled down our team size but our coordination needed to be on point, especially on the wedding day where there were multiple events happening simultaneously. We regularly communicated with the brother of the bride to know about any delays, so that we could adapt and plan accordingly. We consciously kept down the team size smaller to minimize contact but there was still the same amount of work and running around to do. While one may think a small wedding requires lesser effort, the number of events and rituals to be photographed remain unchanged – the only part that is reduced is the group photos with all the guests. We had to cover the bride’s make up at one place, the groom’s pooja at another place and the family members at another place. As we had discussed the schedule in detail with the couple earlier, we were able to pull it all off seamlessly.
OUR LEARNINGS & ADVICE
All the main family members got themselves tested for Covid prior to the wedding to ensure that none of them were positive. This is a wise move and we would fully recommend all potential couples to plan this way. It is inevitable that people will hug, hold hands, and get emotional during a wedding. We need to accept that the main family will get close to each other.
You can minimize the number of people on the mandap/stage by doing a prior checklist of who needs to be on stage at which point in time. Weddings usually have a lot of people milling around near the mandap, just watching and chatting. This can be avoided with a little bit of planning.
Avoid mobile phone photos on the mandap. This creates unnecessary crowding and makes an unsafe environment for the couple as well as the photographers, who would be jostled aside in such situations.
To combat this as a photography team, we have decided that we will deliver a fully edited set of preview images within 6-12 hours of each event, for sharing on social media and WhatsApp groups.
Finally, if possible, please consider getting married in 2021 only. This pandemic is not going away any time soon and there is no guaranteed way of mitigating the risk by 100%. While all of us can take several precautions personally, one small slip up by a careless third party person can result in unfavourable outcomes.
But if you do want to get married in 2020 – plan in detail, put up signs, wear masks, and don’t forget to enjoy your special day. Small weddings are SO much more fun than massive gatherings. You get to spend time with the people who matter the most to you, and don’t have to worry about putting up a false facade for the public.