I love photographing the groom. As much as I love photographing the bride!
In a lot of ways, making portraits of the groom at Indian weddings is more challenging if you ask me. The colors on his person are subtle or non-existent if he is wearing a formal suit. There are fewer flattering poses to play with. Besides, we just have to admit that at a wedding, most eyes are on the bride. This gives the groom enough excuses to take the finery down a notch.
Bagging good pictures of the groom has always given me a lot of satisfaction, because each of them took quite some effort to make. Perhaps, that’s why I love it.
My approach has been pretty simple. Use a variety of lighting tools and techniques, and work on the composition. Everything else falls in place, even the pose in most cases.
I have had a lot of favorites among the keepers. But, there’s one that has been till date my most favorite portrait of the groom. It wasn’t planned, but it wasn’t a lucky capture either.
I had on me — a speedlight/flash, gels, triggers…none of which I used, though it may appear on first glance that a gel did the trick. I wasn’t really planning on using any of those anyway. The light from the window was great, and I could’ve made easy-peasy window light portraits. But, this was not one of the many ordinary days I have had. This was one of those eureka days, when a little observation goes a long way.
I noticed the hanging lamps above the bar counter, and positioning the groom between the window and the counter would give me two light sources to work with. One cool, and one warm. Just like using gels. All I had to do was pose the groom so his face is lit by both sources.
Because the white balance was set to Tungsten or thereabouts, the window light turned blue (or cool), while the light from the lamp stayed warm.
At times, I challenge myself to go beyond the ordinary. Because modern camera technology makes experimentation a lot easier, all you need is a vision and some prior practice. Like the following example, where I used the multiple exposure feature in my 5d Mark III to transform a “regular” portrait into something more attention-drawing.
Simple composition techniques and the use of color contrast can also introduce some variety to groom portraits.
Really, why should brides have all the fun?