The field of wedding photography has always been a fairly male-dominated arena. However, in the digital age, people don’t want their wedding to be captured just as a sequence of ‘events’. They want to see the essence of their wedding day. Today, what’s required of a wedding photographer is not just technical knowledge of how to handle a camera, but how you experience celebration and capture it aesthetically. Women are perhaps more attuned to emotions and details, so it is no surprise that they’ve started entering this field.
As a woman photographer, I believe that wedding photography in India is immensely rewarding, but at the same time, not without its challenges.
For instance, I carry two cameras on me during a shoot, along with a bag of lenses. Like me, most candid women photographers are still working alone and do not have assistants. Backaches, shoulder-aches and numb thumbs are something that I have learned to accept as a part of the job.
Besides, food patterns go out of the window — you end up missing meals or eating at odd hours so as to not miss an important moment in the wedding.
But the chaos of it all is also what makes Indian weddings unique. Whether it is a Punjabi, Bengali, or Tamil wedding, families are always all over the bride and groom. So in between the chaos of events, family, and other studio photographers, one has to run, twist, bend, squat, push, and while doing all that, compose and create beautiful photos.
The squabble with studio photographers who view candid photographers as a threat is another problem. Being a woman and a petite one at that, I’ve found that most studio photographers are usually considerate and give me my space. However, recently at a wedding, a studio photographer violently grasped my arm and pushed me aside to get his picture. I remember feeling enraged and humiliated — first as an artist and then as a human being.
But aside from these incidents, I have never really felt unsafe as a woman at a wedding.
That being said, there are a lot more advantages too to being a woman in wedding photography. Most brides feel more comfortable with a woman photographer for their ‘getting-ready’ photos.
Personally, I have a weakness for beautiful jewellery, shoes and saris. I find that this interest is a great conversation starter, and the family and friends tend to feel comfortable around me, which results in beautiful happy photos.
I believe that soon more women will enter the field of wedding photography. As you get to pick your schedules, it can be a great profession for women with families too. Financially also, it is extremely rewarding. Most of all, you get to travel, be around beautiful clothes, design and jewellery, and be a part of celebrations. And if you love photography, you get to live your dream.
The writer is a candid wedding photographer, you can connect with her @ssenphotography