One of the top South Asian Wedding photographers in the World, Charmi Peña, is a Nikon Ambassador. She puts all of herself into everything she does, be that her family, her business, or her community.
Growing up in Indian culture, all the things we do traditionally just felt natural to me when I started shooting weddings. But the more weddings I took on, the more I realized just how important what I was photographing was and how important it was to spread education about the culture was since so many people are interested in photographing the beautiful, colorful, emotional weddings South Asian people have.
There is SO much to learn, so be sure to dig in, but to get you started, here are three things you MUST know before you start taking on Indian weddings:
South Asian weddings Are About Family.
Of course the couple matter most. But their relationships with the parents, grandparents, aunties/uncles, siblings, cousins (oh MY, could this list go on), are all super super super important to the wedding. My cousins are considered my siblings, my aunties and uncles are just more sets of parents. I grew up in a house with my grandmother living with us like SO many South Asian immigrants kids – and you’ll see that those relationships, because of traditions are super important. Make sure to pay attention to people around the couple. They’ll be so pleased to see you show their family the love you show them in your images.
Be ready for Anything
No matter how many South Asian weddings I shoot (and we’re well into the hundreds now), every family has their own big traditions, and they don’t always realize they’re unique to them, so asking beforehand doesn’t always help. I’ve learned to never let my guard down and think it’s ok to take a second to chimp and scroll through, because guaranteed something is happening at that exact moment that I didn’t expect because it’s out of the “norm”.
Research South Asian weddings, ask what region of India/Paskistan your couple is from, ask them to send you a program beforehand. Assist and then second shoot South Asian weddings before you take them on as a primary shooter. Because the traditions and the flow and the guests at these amazing weddings have different expectations than you might be used to if you haven’t photographed them before, dipping your toe in and really learning everything you can before you dive in as a primary is going to save you from missing anything or embarrassing mistakes that might keep you from doing more South Asian weddings!
Getting Started with South Asian Weddings?
Dave with Táve here! We’re happy to share that with the help of Charmi, we’ve put together a getting started template for South Asian Weddings that you can find inside of the template gallery here! Not part of the Táve team yet? Sign up for a free trial here to get started!