Most common mistakes of Indian wedding photographers

Directional lighting

Wedding photography in India has kicked off big time. While it’s a good thing that a lot of people are making a career out of their hobbies, the rush to jump on the bandwagon has created a lack of discipline among wedding photographers.

Benchmarks for acceptable images have not been established. With most customers still not trained to differentiate between a good and an average photograph, we see a new breed of “fix it all in post” photographers coming to the fore.

What do you think is our grouse? It’s just the basic technical deficiencies of a lot of wedding images that we see of late.

Having said that, we understand there is always a fine balance between capturing emotion and focusing on technical perfection. What we believe is that making small corrections to technique can in fact amplify the effect an emotion-filled image can have.

#1. Exposure

The usual suspect, exposure can make or break a good image. We’re not saying every image needs to be perfectly lit. Our emphasis is on knowing what your exposure should be and how you go about getting it right. We’ve seen images underexposed by as many as 4 stops—images that can’t be salvaged even in post. The same holds true for overexposed images.

The other side to this is choosing incorrect settings for a particular scene. 1/30 isn’t the right shutter speed for the first dance, unless you know what you’re doing or if you’re chasing a particular look (light streaks and such, and using speedlights to freeze motion). Neither is 1/10 an acceptable setting for an image of the venue, without a tripod.

#2. White balance

When you’re shooting RAW, you’ll be forgiven for your indoor images looking too yellow to start with. Even then, it is always a good starting point to get the white balance right in camera, especially when you’re not dealing with mixed light sources. The auto white balance setting in most cameras is pretty accurate; if it isn’t, learn about color temperatures and set your white balance to suit the ambience.

Unless you’re an ace with post processing images, you’ll be better served reproducing the actual color for most of your images—in camera. Often, correcting colour temperatures in post can affect your exposure, which will in turn require you to compensate for the difference, further degrading the image. Isn’t this reason enough?

#3. Focusing issues

It isn’t really art if you miss your focus in one out of every three images. It is quite nearly a crime to deliver blurry or unsharp images to your customers, when they have trusted you to preserve memories from the most important day of their lives.

#4. Shooting JPEG

Unless you’re shooting with your mobile phones or you’re sure the images you capture will never be printed, there is no excuse for you not to shoot RAW. In fact, you have a pretty good reason not to shoot JPEG when you’ve been getting your exposures and color temperatures far from accurate.

After all, RAW is the most reliable way to correct deficiencies in photographs without losing a lot of detail.

#5. Flat lighting

Light creates definition. It adds dimension to an image. If you do it right, that is. And, if you’re using your on-camera speedlight or an external speedlight on the camera pointed directly at your subject, you’re doing it all wrong. Deer in the headlights, as they call it, is what you’d get with your subjects—and no, that’s not a look anybody would love.

Critical note: Never point your speedlight or flash directly at your subject. They will hate you for it.

Bounce it instead. Or, do anything it takes to not light like a rank amateur.

#6. Messy photographs

There’s not much you can do to aesthetically improve a not-so-appealing Indian wedding venue. Or, to  move all the objects of chaos, as we call the myriad things that adorn the wedding stage. But, you can compose intelligently to make sure your pictures don’t carry the same messiness.

Keep an eye on the edges of your frame, so there are no unwanted elements ruining the image.

We have discussed some of the most common bloopers by beginner wedding photographers. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but it does serve as an eye-opener. Do you have something to add?

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