One of the ways that I improve my photography skills and hone my craft is through second shooting. Second shooting is pretty much when you are the assistant to a lead photographer at a wedding or event. It is a great experience because not only does the couple getting married get extra shots and angles from their day, but it gives the second shooter an opportunity to learn from a photographer that is significantly more talented. Here is my first Indian wedding experience.

How it happened

One of the coolest second shooting experiences I had was in May 2022. It was last minute; I was scrolling through Facebook looking for potential second shooting opportunities when there was an opportunity to fly to Pennsylvania. Within a week I was on a plane getting ready to shoot my first Indian wedding.

Holy cow what an experience!

Indian weddings are a completely different animal compared to traditional Western/American weddings. They are often multi-day events with multiple types of ceremonies and a lot of really confusing traditions.

It’s chaos but in the best way.

As the second shooter, it was my job to capture the groom’s side of things.

The first day was full of multiple ceremonies.

I only photographed the Sangeet (which means music).

The Sangeet is a celebration for the groom and his family. While this is happening, the bride and her family are celebrating Mehendi. Mehendi is almost identical to Sangeet, and both are celebrations with dancing, food, and Hindi traditions. Here is a more in-depth explanation of what happens during these types of weddings.

After the Sangeet/Mehendi, is the Haldi ceremony. This is where the groom is covered in a yellow turmeric paste that signifies good luck in marriage. The paste is believed to ward off evil spirits and provide powerful healing properties. More gifts are given, and there are more Hindi rituals.

Day two started with the Barat

In my opinion, this is the most exciting part of an Indian wedding. It’s the main event! Traditionally the groom made his way to the bride’s house on a horse or a donkey accompanied by his family and friends. For this wedding, the groom rode a fancy sports car across the parking lot. It was a huge event with a lot of singing and dancing.

After the Barat, a nose-stealing game was played, and then people began to go in for the ceremony. The ceremony is composed of multiple steps: The father gives his daughter away (just like the traditional American wedding); he walks her down the aisle to the Mandap which is pretty much an arch of flowers. Throughout the ceremony, there are various rituals and prayers that take place.

After the Ceremony, the bride and groom got back into the sports car and drive away. They came back for the grand entry at the reception.

The Reception was also really cool! There was a ton of food, and there were performances given by family members before the dance floor opened up to everyone.

The wedding was absolutely exhausting in the best way because I was able to combine my passion for traveling and photography!

I cannot wait for the next opportunity!!

If this wedding looks like fun, I’d love to be the photographer for your wedding. Let’s Chat!

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