Storytelling Images vs Snapshots in Candid Wedding Photography

Storytelling Images vs Snapshots in Candid Wedding Photography

Candid. Documentary. Photojournalist. Reportage. Natural. The list of terms used by wedding photographers is endless these days. All of these terms describe a style of photography. But what exactly do they mean? The terms refer to a genre of photography that imply images shot with the subjects either camera unaware or if they are aware, not acknowledging the presence of the photographer, not “performing” for the photographer. Candid: (of a photograph of a person) taken informally, especially without the subject’s knowledge. Synonyms: unposed, uncontrived, impromptu Once you use this definition, you’d see that many images being passed off as “candid” are really created with the direct intervention/direction of the photographer – through posing of the subject. Having got that out of the way, in the genre of documentary/reportage, there are images that are snapshots and images that are storytelling. A good photojournalist/ documentary photographer is not just looking at the scene in front of him. She’s looking at the story that’s before her. The difference between storytelling images vs snapshots is best explained with a series of images. Here’s a scene of a group of youngsters practising for a sangeet night dance performance. This first image is what would be called a snapshot. It “describes” the scene in a most basic, fundamental way. Through the image we know who’s practising and the location – an apartment room. Now this second image would pass off as a “candid” image. It’s taken with a longer lens so backgrounds are blurred and focus is on the subject. A lot of photographers today call themselves candid. But the photography in their portfolio is...
EOS to X-Trans – a Documentary Photographer’s Journey

EOS to X-Trans – a Documentary Photographer’s Journey

I first took up a camera in 2003. A little too late I feel. Until then, my creative release came through writing. But that first camera – a Canon 350D changed everything. From words, I became a visual storyteller. Small and lightweight it came with me on some exciting adventures. Most notably a year-long documentary project following the fishermen of Goa on the west coast of India – Call of the Seas. When shooting I try to become as inconspicuous as possible. I also love going in close to my subject. I believe Frank Cappa’s quote “If your images are not good enough, you are not close enough.” I suppose my physical frame helps with that! But I also use gear so as to enable this stealth documentary approach. Back in 2005 I did my first wedding in a documentary photojournalistic style, seeking to remain inconspicuous, silently documenting events and emotions unfolding before me. I was hooked to the idea of documenting people’s lives on what is one of the big days in their lives. To have complete access on a day when emotions run the whole gamut is more than any documentary photographer could ask. Over the years cameras have changed but the Canon brand stuck with me. My last camera has been the highly acclaimed 5DMk3. In the meanwhile, I also began working with video. The Canon 7D enabled this transition seamlessly for me. The 5DMk3 only enhanced this. And about 2 years ago I invested in the Canon C100 camera for my video documentary projects. That camera came with me to the deserts of Gujarat and...
Why a Wedding Photojournalist values Moments

Why a Wedding Photojournalist values Moments

Moments are fleeting. In a situation as fast-paced as a wedding, moments come and go before anyone has had a chance to catch a glimpse of it. All too often, for the bride and groom, the day whizzes by with them not really knowing what transpired. A Wedding Photojournalist considers it his/her primary duty to capture those moments for the bride and groom and their family. It is for this reason why a wedding photojournalist does not spend time on staged shots and static details (like the dress or rings). In the pursuit of those staged shots, a wedding photographer can all to easily miss the real moments. Take the case of this wedding. When I walked into the room where the bride was getting ready, the first thing I did was look for spaces and angles. The room was much smaller than usual – very intimate. A large four-poster bed took up most of the floor space. The bride, Tatiana was the epitome of composure – quiet and absolutely “non-panicky”. She was getting ready in one corner by the window. The light coming in was just beautiful. But the small room meant I needed to move slowly so as not to be in anyone’s way. In contrast to the bride, was this little flower girl who was curious about everything around her. She wanted to try out the make-up kits and everything else! I got quite a few moments of the little girl and then it happened. The lack of space in the room and the little girl’s curiosity came together when she couldn’t help peep from behind...
What is Wedding Photojournalism?

What is Wedding Photojournalism?

In your search for a wedding photographer, you’ve probably come across many terms. One common term bandied around these days by wedding photographers is “candid wedding photography” and “wedding photojournalistic style” or “wedding photojournalism”. We’ll get to their meaning and differences later. But its important to note, a lot of times, what is projected as wedding photojournalism is actually traditional posed photography and not photojournalism at all. To me this is amusing. But to you looking to hire a wedding photographer, this can be most confusing. Worse still, you could end up choosing your wedding photographer with your eyes wide shut – quite literally. To help you clarify the subject, I’ve written this post on what is wedding photojournalism and what you should expect from your wedding photojournalist on your wedding day and when she gives you your images. What is Photojournalism? Real life is un-scripted. And in the spontaneous moments we experience reality. It is nigh impossible to re-create these spontaneous moments. The fine traditions of photojournalism seek to capture these fleeting moments for future generations. A photojournalist is a journalist who reports with his camera. Like any good journalist, a photojournalist respects the integrity of the scene before him and will seek to document it as an image, as truthfully as he can. This essentially means no inteference or direction whatsoever to influence the scene. Instead, he will go about quietly studying the scene and, using his skills with light and composition as a photographer, document what’s before him naturally, trying to capture the emotion and moments as they unfold. The Number-one proponent of the craft of photojournalism...
Our Commitment to Moment-driven Wedding Photography

Our Commitment to Moment-driven Wedding Photography

I have been in the field of photojournalism for some time now. I started with a local newspaper in 2000. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to do photo-documentary projects and also documentary film projects. In 2005 I shot my first wedding as a wedding photojournalist and Aether was born! I loved the experience of moment-driven wedding photography and never stopped shooting for couples at their weddings. Over the years a great team of individuals has built up here at Aether. Today, celebrating a decade documenting the moments at the wedding day of brides and grooms, we’ve re-branded the Aether website. At a time when wedding photojournalism is bandied about – a fad – by photographers who are anything but wedding photojournalists, we are re-iterating our focus on “moment-driven photography” that is wedding photojournalism. Its true, a very few couples appreciate wedding photojournalism. Its more common to opt for more posed aka glamourous wedding images. Through this blog we will document our experiences and lay out our thought processes behind some images. Out here, will be posts that hopefully will give you a better idea about our work from a behind-the-scenes point of view. In the process we hope to put information out on our site that will be useful to couples in the process of making decisions on their wedding...