Image copyright : Soumen Nath
Few months back I was reading an article in The Huffingtonpost ‘‘The Lie Of ‘Candid’ Wedding Photography In India” by Sanjukta Basu, a Writer, Photographer, Story Teller, Social Media Consultant and Feminist Scholar in which she has raised a question if so called ‘candid’ wedding photography is really candid.

She writes: I have always wanted to be a documentary photographer. By “always” I mean since I was in my mid-20s and owned my first point-and-shoot canon reel camera. By the time I got into DSLR photography I realized that being photographer is not easy. Documentary photography, in particular, is unknown and unpaid. In 2012, my sister’s wedding became my stepping stone into candid wedding photography, and since then it has paid me well. Yet, my heart was on documentary photography.

When a well-known ‘documentary’ photographer told her, ‘After all, what is wedding photography but documentary?’ She I didn’t agree, not in the Indian context anyway. The key aspect of documentary photography is authenticity and not prettiness. But people mostly want their wedding photographs to be pretty, even “candid” ones.

From Left : Sanjukta Basu, Soumen Nath, Aqueel Khan. Graphic : Sauvik Acharyya. Photo courtesy : Facebook & Blog

Soumen Nath, an experienced Delhi based wedding and Getty Images & iStock photographer explains, ‘However I say it differently. Its candid when it’s not posed. Being aware is alright, as long as it’s not posed. The subject would not know if the photographer is shoot him or the person beside him or the whole gathering. Candid photography is about capturing the moment, the expressions, the mood, emotions, the feelings… In a wedding scenario, the bride and groom and everyone else know that there is this photographer shooting pictures. However, the rituals, the guests, the pressures of the event, takes away attention from the camera. They get busy with the day and the Photographer keeps on clicking. Till how long can a subject keep posing for the camera. A Candid photographer will shoot anything between 1000 to 4000 pictures thru out the day. The bride and groom soon becomes bored and start to focus on the various activities of the day… And then Candid photography happens…’

Image copyright : Sanjukta Basu

In general, Taking photos of people when they have no idea that you’re doing it is called candid photography. One of the beauties of photography is being able to catch someone in the act. It adds life to your pictures.

Now, when we talk on candid wedding photography, the candid character of a photo is unrelated to the subject’s knowledge about or consent to the fact that photos are being taken, and unrelated to the subject’s permission for further usage and distribution. The crucial factor is the actual absence of posing. However, if the subject is absolutely unaware of being photographed and does not even expect it, then such photography is secret photography, which is a special case of candid photography.

Image copyright : Aqueel Khan

When interacting on this point, Aqueel Khan, an Engineer and MBA professional, who started photography about 10 years back leaving his corporate profile at Bhopal opted his choice as a ‘Candid wedding photographer’. He goes back into past, ‘Armed with Canon EOS series camera and bunch of lenses I am in a constant endeavor to bring the best and creative part of you.’ He shares his experience, ‘A wedding photography contains various kind of photography like portraits, planned, traditional and candid. Candid is the part of wedding photography (10-50% depend on client’s involvement and photographers timing and energy) …in last few years wedding photography has improved a lot. But portraits pics are dominating entire wedding photography session. Like pre-wedding, bridal portraits, couple portraits are major parts of wedding photography, even post mehandi pictures are also a kind of portraits photography.’

Though candid images have major scope in wedding rituals like haldi, mandap, varmala, baraat, bidai, still he thinks, ‘Candid word has taken over wedding photography today which is not actually correct! Candid shots require lots if energy, timing and creativity which is done by highly creative photographers whereas portrait is much easier.

And lastly, he believes that, ‘in short wedding photography should be called creative wedding photography instead of candid wedding photography.’

But Sanjukta Basu firmly believes that bridal make-up, are not actually candid; and few photographs which are claimed as ‘candid shots’ are actually taken after the make-up was already complete; the touch of the brush is only for effect. She shared few bridal make-up shots for comparison to establish that ‘they are not always “pretty”, because the bride is still half-dressed, the skin is not yet perfect and so on.’

Image copyright : Sanjukta Basu
Image copyright : Sanjukta Basu
Image copyright : Sanjukta Basu

Time has changed, so technology, social life and demand of people. 20 years back there was least demand of candid wedding photography. People used to find a good wedding photographs around. Now, a word ‘candid’ has been a must-have add-on in that activity. But this word merely justified this expensive event, and it is actually a presentation of creative aspect of people.

Whatever, we shall wait for new thing for future. Let time speak the creative future of candid images!