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Cinematic Wedding Photography

By Sarabpreet Kaur

Do you love films? Are you a die-hard romantic? Do you end up visualising you and your future partner as the love-struck hero and heroine in movies? Have you always wished to exhibit your love in a style that matches with Bollywood grandeur? If your answer to these questions is ‘yes’, then you must read on to know about Wedding Films... your very own romantic movie is no longer just a dream!

Long gone are the days when filming a wedding ceremony was more of recording an event and presenting it in chronological order. Now, wedding videos are a thing of the past...the era is of wedding films. In a country like India, where benchmarks for romance are set by Bollywood’s perfect love sagas complete with songs and dance, who would not want their love story to be told in the same grand cinematic style? For all the would-be brides and grooms, who secretly envy Bollywood’s Rajs and Simrans for having a perfect love story, the concept of wedding cinematography or wedding films is no less than a boon. The emotions of the bride, the excitement of the groom and the happiness of their near and dear ones are creatively recorded, edited for providing finesse and presented as a film. Professional wedding photographers, after thorough discussions with ‘the couple’, lay out the schedule and theme of the wedding shoot to exhibit real-life romance with reel-like grandeur.

Capturing the Courtship
The courtship period is definitely the most romantic and cherished time in a couple’s shared lifetime. There are moments when initial hesitation starts making way for desire for intimacy, sharing glances changes into exchanging mesmerised looks with each other, future plans transform from mine-to-ours and wedding preparations only add to the excitement of the starry-eyed couple. Such once-in-a-lifetime moments are now beautifully captured for the couple to cherish all their life owing to the new but trending concept of pre-wedding shoots.
Pre-wedding shoots are well planned and executed almost like a script of a movie in exquisite locations, sometimes the place that hold a special place in the couple’s heart. Ace wedding photographers and cinematographers follow a storyboard, which they develop after discussions and approval by the couple, using placards with love-filled messages and props to make still images interesting. In some pre-wedding video shoots, the couple and their near and dear ones express their feelings in a video diary, which are like short, candid interviews. Excerpts from the interviews are strategically inserted in the wedding film to beautifully convey strong, genuine emotions.
Generally, pre-wedding shoots are wrapped up in a few hours to two-to-three days depending upon the concept the couple chooses. The best photographs from a candid pre-wedding photo-shoot or any pre-wedding function are installed as posters at the wedding venue for decoration. Moreover, the moving picture produced by the pre-wedding video footage is played on a wedding function only to enthral the guests with its cinematic magnificence. What adds to the entire experience of the shoot is that the couple gets comfortable with the camera, ensuring they are not at all camera conscious on the wedding day.

Real to Reel– The New Romancescapes

Wedding films are not about simply recording the happenings in the wedding venue and taking the age-old tried and tested shots. Rather, wedding films also involve creative and unconventional shots that perfectly exhibit the real emotions of the bride, the groom and their family, and the pace, progression and significance of various rituals in a wedding.

The latest trend is to freeze in pictures the anxious moments of the bride prepping up for her big day and when she is just about to enthral the gathering with her dream-like bridal beauty. Another concept in vogue is capturing spontaneous moments. Staged and pre-planned poses are definitely needed for portraits and albums but capturing natural reactions, gestures, and expressions take the centre-stage as far as wedding cinematography is concerned. Best shots with minimum or no interference are clicked and recorded; such shots at times capture unique, never-seen-before side of the couple, guests or the relatives.
Quality conventional shots as well as candid shots are much dependant on hi-tech camera, machinery such as cranes, stealth sliders (for aerial and top-angle shots) and other equipment. Various camera lenses and shooting techniques such as Pan, Tilt, Defocus to Focus, etc. are used to get just the perfect shots. After all, technical perfection is the basis of flawless results.

Editing does Wonders

No matter what the quality of the recorded footage is and how it incorporates a variety of creative and conventional shots; until and unless it is properly edited it will remain like a diamond in a coal mine––worth crores but insignificant till it is found and polished.

Editing involves juxtaposing the recorded video footage with suitable audio-songs, instrumental music, actual sound recording of the ambience, film dialogues et al and adding special effects to enhance the presentation. Celebrated wedding photographer, Atul Pratap Chauhan says, “Editing is done according to a storyboard, which is unique for every couple and wedding. From the couple’s candid shoot before the wedding, first pre-wedding function, vidai to excerpts from interviews of the couple, and their family and friends, it is important that each element perfectly assumes its place in the wedding film. Mac systems and software like FCP, Photoshop and Premier are some of the best tools for editing.” Editing is what makes regular wedding videos differ from wedding films...instilling exciting effects, layering complementing audio file in sync with the video, discarding extra footage, and to sum it all up––adding professional vivacity to the otherwise ordinary footage.

Online Oomph

To cater to the changing demands of the customers from the internet generation, wedding photographers consistently come up with new concepts and ideas. The latest trend in making creative use of still images is editing them to design movie-like posters. Such posters, usually circulated for wedding invitations are much cherished by the tech-savvy would-be Mr & Mrs as they are ideal for use as a cover page or profile picture on popular social networking sites, and after all, who doesn’t love compliments showered in comments and likes by friends? Additionally, the couple’s pictures and footage from pre-wedding shoots are creatively put together to create video invites. Elaborating on the concept, Mohit who is the founder of Rajesh Digital says “Creatively produced video invites of not more than 30-to-40 seconds are ideal for invitation via WhatsApp or email. It is important to ensure that the video files are not heavy and are compatible with multiple softwares.”

Bride and Groom turn Hero-Heroine

Exotic locations, choreographed dance moves, creative shots, storyboarding, soon-to-be bride blushing by her partner’s side, would-be groom in awe of the charisma of his better half...anyone can mistake all this for a song sequence from some Bollywood movie but we are talking about the latest innovation in wedding cinematography––lip-synced videos.

Just like a Bollywood blockbuster, well-practiced dance steps, profile shots et al of the ‘it couple’ is shot at breathtaking locations or at a pre-destined function venue, so that one emotionally charged up, filmy video is produced. “Other than videos with an original storyboard, some couples desire to re-enact a Bollywood song sequence just the way it has been originally done. Videos in both the styles are much in demand as brewing romance between the couple is beautifully presented in compact digital files that are easy to upload on sites like Facebook” informs Mohit.

Wedding cinematography has made it possible for every couple, who is looking ahead to share a beautiful, love-laced matrimonial relation, to actually be the hero and heroine of their own and unique love story. No need to just imagine being featured in a romantic Bollywood sequence alongside your partner, it is time to live your own sweet dream...alas!

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