Wedding, pre-wedding or ‘save the date’ photo shoots have now become as significant and elaborate as the actual wedding ceremonies and festivities. From a romantic ‘dive’ into the muddy waters in a paddy field, a steamy romance in a bath tub to a beautiful stroll through the beach sands or a stolen kiss amid a bevy of doves taking wings, the wedding photoshoots these days are as aesthetic as a cinematic marvel. ‘Save the date’ videos and pre-wedding photoshoots are a trend. The videos that are 1 to 4 minutes long or an elaborate collage of pictures that are shot with a proper plot and screenplay often has twists, action and romance in ample doses. The couples entering wedlock are thrilled to have something interesting and unique to cherish forever and are ready to pose or perform for it.
The bride and the groom, their friends and family members make sure that these photos and videos are widely shared on the social media especially on Facebook and Instagram. These would then become instant hits on the family, friends or the work groups. The pictures and videos shot in exotic locations with bespoke costumes often become viral on the social media with hundreds of people liking and sharing them. Recently, a ‘save the date’ photo shoot shot at the beautiful Athirappilly waterfalls had become the talk of the town for its glamorous pics and fashionable outfits that could give any movie or glossy magazine a run for their money.
The photographers often have a list of spectacular locations that suit the personality and budget of each couple. The Puthuvaipu beach is one of the popular locations for pre-wedding photoshoots in Kochi. So, this location has acquired the nick name ‘tharavad’ (ancestral home) among the photographers in Kochi. Interesting properties, from the coracles to the regular boats painted in myriad colours are up for hire in these places. Kuzhupilly, Kumbalangi, Cherai, Malayatoor, Fort Kochi, Mattancherry and Kadamakudy are some of the other popular locations that are chosen by young couples to shoot their pre or post wedding pictures.
The scintillating locales of Munnar, Vattavada, Kantallur and Marayur in Idukku, the serene beaches of Alappuzha and Mararikulam, the bucolic settings of Kumarakam and Kottayam, the colourful festivals and poorams of Thrissur and the iconic waterfall of Athirappilly are favoured destinations by both the photographers and the couples. Besides these, the photographers in Ernakulam also prefer the Varikkassery mana in Palakkad, the Bakel Fort in Kasaragod, the beautiful vineyards in the Kambam – Theni route, the bustle of the vegetable markets in Pollachi and Udumalpetta, the sunflower orchard in Gudalur and the windmills in the Pollachi Road. The brick kilns in Peruvamoozhi, the countrysides of Piravam and Pazhoor and regular tourist destinations like Thattekad and Bhuthathankettu too offer stunning locations and frames.
The pre-wedding photoshoots are often arranged by either the bride or the groom as a surprise gift for the other. This gives the photographers amazing chances to click real candid pictures. In these scenes, the couple would be proposing in front of the camera that is hidden so that their real emotions could be captured in the most original way.
It was only on the previous night of the pre-wedding photo shoot that a groom called up the photographer and said that he had planned a surprise proposal for his bride-to-be. The photographer asked him to bring her to the Kuzhupilly Beach the next day. The photography team had arrived at the location hours earlier to make all the arrangements.
The duo arrived at the beach, sat down at a spot and began chatting casually. Suddenly, a drone appeared above them and dropped a ring box in front of them. The groom then took out the ring and got down on his knee to propose to the love of his life. The bride who was initially shocked couldn’t hide her happiness. All these were meanwhile captured using another drone camera by the photography team. The bride’s candid expressions and emotions when she saw the groom on his knee and the ring was what made their unique ‘save the date’ video stand out.
The live group is the another trend that has caught the interest of young couples. The photographer would start a WhatsApp group with the bride and the groom as the admins. They would add their family and friends to this group. The photographer would then post the couple’s pictures and videos from the ‘save the date’, pre-wedding and post wedding ocassions to this group. They send the pictures directly from the camera using wifi connectivity to their mobile phones which are then posted in the groups. These live groups are so much popular now as it makes easier for the family and friends to shares images and information about the wedding instantly to a large group of people. Gone are the days when only the engagement and wedding were photographed. Now, the photo sessions begin with the ‘save the date’ and pre wedding and continues to the mehendi, haldi, engagement, wedding, teaser and the post wedding festivities.
Cinema cannot be avoided from the wedding photoshoots as the photographers and the couples often draw inspiration from the popular movies. The viral scenes and songs from the movies are recreated with the bride and the groom as the hero and heroine. For instance, the much appreciated scenes between actors Aiswarya Lakshmi and Tovino from the super hit movie Mayanadhi had been used in quite a few wedding photoshoots and videos. The bride and groom would act wearing costumes similar to those worn by the actors in relevant scenes. Wedding photographer Alwin Sebastian Malayattor recalls how he spent an entire night on the flyover at the Edapally highway to recreate a bike scene from the movie Mayanadhi.
The scene in which the couple rides a bike, just like in the movie, was shot past midnight when there weren’t any vehicles passing on the highway. Meanwhile, for the scenes that require a crowd in the background, the couples’ family members and friends make ‘guest appearances’.
A dove is the most wanted property in a wedding photoshoot. The couple doing a romantic ‘run’ amidst hundreds of doves taking flight is the new staple in a wedding album. These are often shot in places like Fort Kochi and Guruvayur. Lighted earthen lamps too are so much in demand. Meanwhile, the Chinese lamps that run on battery have made things easier for the crew.
Colourful kites, hydrogen balloons, colour powders and magic lanterns too are some of the most sought after properties. Some may even prefer having animals like horse, elephant and camels in their albums. Vintage cars and scooters look great in the pictures and videos. There are even theme-based photoshoots according to the professions of the couples. Scenes in which the bride and the groom play sports like badminton, billiards, chess, beach volleyball and football add a ‘sporty’ charm to the pictures. The couple even groove to choreographed dance routines to make their videos interesting and entertaining. Sam Baby of the Sam Baby’s Photography based in Kochi says that whatever the theme may be, the couples want to make it fun and memorable.
Until 8 or 10 years ago, clicking a few romantic pictures after the wedding was the trend. Walking hand in hand or the groom holding the bride around the shoulder was the regular poses or scenes that were shot. These were mostly shot in a beautiful paddy field or in a park with the couple donning usually their wedding dresses. All these would surely look archaic compared to the glamorous and flamboyant photoshoots that are arranged on the new generation couples for themselves.
Photo courtesy – Alwin Sebastian Malayattoor