Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Stormy New York Engagement to a 4 day Orange County Indian Wedding

During the fall wedding season, I flew to New York for our first ever NYC engagement session, where our bride and groom were completing their medical school residency. Upon arriving, I was relieved that the weather was clear and warm. I incorrectly thought the engagement shoot, 2 days later, would be similar. #epicfail
The morning of the engagement shoot, it was apparent there was a storm that had landed overnight, and predicted more rain and heavier winds. When I met with out couple at 7am, we decided to change wardrobe slightly just to withstand the possible wetness that would follow. We each had umbrellas in hand, and for the first time in my life, I wrapped myself in a poncho.
What I originally thought was going to be a difficult and challenging day, proved to be one of the better engagements I’ve had the privlidge of capturing. First off, the storm was a blessing in disguise. The heavy rain, although making it difficult to navigate around central park where we started, also helped keep the tourists away.
We were able to roam around the park and briefly do some creative shots when the rain would subside. After central park, we went to the street and subway to get some key New York looking shots. Overall, it was a success.

A few months later, I had mentally and physically prepared to shoot 4 days straight for my first ever multi-day Indian wedding. The location would range from Diamond Bar to Orange County, which would ultimately be 1-1.5 hours from my home. It was more beneficial to me to be able to go home to back up the data after each night, and get a good night’s sleep in my own bed before the next day. We shot both at the groom’s parent’s house and at the bride’s house they had rented, as her entire family had come from the east coast.

Indian weddings span across multiple days because of the various types of traditional ceremonies that must take place. Since this was a traditional Sikh wedding, there were multiple traditional aspects to the 4 days, ranging from the Sangeet to the mehndi. Because of the various traditions associated with each, and our couple's slight divergence from some of these, I'll skip the specific details.

Some things that are important to at least put into perspective for those unfamiliar with multi-day weddings is first off, the bride has to have her make up done by around 5:30-6am on the ceremony day. This means we as photographers/cinematographers arrive before that to capture her finishing up. There are also lots of smaller traditions, where if you're not prepared, you'll completely miss. One such thing is the bride's family attempting to steal the groom's shoes after the ceremony. If after the exceptionally long ceremony you feel you can catch a break, you're wrong. An intense "fight to the death" or capture of the shoes erupts unexpectedly.

I took over 10,000 photos during the 4 days. If I wasn't in tip top shape physically, I would not have made it to the end. If I had not prepared mentally, I would have missed key moments. And if I didn't have such a large appetite for Indian food, I would have been severely disappointed by all of the delicious options offered several times a day.

Have questions about your upcoming wedding? Send me an email!

Photographer & Cinematographer

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