Capturing Colors And Festivals As A Photographer In India

India is a country renowned for its vibrant and diverse culture and festivals. Every state and region in India has its own unique set of festivals, each with its own customs, traditions, and significance. Festivals reflect the diversity of people and their customs and traditions. With photography, one can capture these in frames.  

Tips For Photographers To Capture Festivals In India

Capturing festivals in India can be a challenging but rewarding experience for photographers. Here are some tips that photographers should follow to capture festivals in India: 

1. Participate in festivals

The best way to capture the essence of Indian festivals is to participate in them. Attending these festivals will allow you to experience the joy and energy of the celebrations first-hand. You will learn about the customs and traditions associated with the festival and the best shot will come when you understand the reason behind celebrating the festival. Some of the best festivals to cover are: Lathmar Holi of Barsana and Nandgaon, Dev Deepawali of Varanasi, and Durga Pooja of Kolkata which attracts visitors from the whole country.   

2. Research the festival

Before attending a festival, research its history, traditions, and significance. Why do people celebrate it? What do they wear? For how long will the festival last? This will help you prepare better for the photography shoot and enable you to capture the festival better. If you want to cover Chhath Puja, you should be aware of the rituals- women keep fast and visit riverbanks early morning to offer Arghya to Sun God. 

3. Arrive early

Arrive early at the festival venue to avoid the crowds and get a good spot to capture the action. You can have a layout of the venue so that you don’t get lost in the crowd. You can talk to the organizers to get a schedule of rituals that will happen and get to know the spots fixed for them. This will also enable you to capture the preparations and build-up to the festival (behind the scenes), which can be equally fascinating. BTS videos are in trend these days. 

4. Use natural light

Most festivals in India are celebrated outdoors, which means you will have to rely on natural light for your photography. Try to shoot early in the morning or late in the evening when the light is soft and warm. Avoid harsh midday light, which can create harsh shadows and blown-out highlights. In crowded areas with low lighting, photographers can use portable lighting to illuminate their subjects. 

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5. Choose your lens well

Use a wide-angle lens to capture the overall scene and the crowd’s energy. Use a telephoto lens to capture details and candid portraits of the festival-goers. Use a fast lens, i.e. a lens with a wide aperture, to capture low-light situations and freeze the action. For this, you need to think of the shots before attending a festival and practice using these different types of lenses in a short span of time. You can also work with a team to get the best possible shots of a festival. 

For photographing Deepotsav where devotees light thousands of diyas at Ghats, you might have to use telephoto/wide-angle lens along with drones to capture different shots like this- 

Courtesy- Kshitij Patle | Lit diyas on a ghat

Courtesy- Kshitij Patle | People lighting diyas on a ghat

6. Be respectful

Always be respectful of the festival-goers and their customs. Seek their permission before photographing them or their activities. This will help you build a rapport with them and enable you to capture more natural and candid shots. If you’re visiting a temple where photography is prohibited, you should be aware of it. It is better to get permission from the festival organizers for recording the celebration and follow the guidelines issued by them. 

7. Look for unique perspectives

Thousands of people attend a single festival and hundreds of photographers would be covering the same event. Look for unique perspectives that capture the beauty of the festival. Try to avoid cliché shots and look for angles that provide a fresh perspective on the festival. Look for symmetry, patterns, and lines that can create a sense of order and balance in your photographs. 

8. Capture the emotions

Festivals in India are full of emotions, from joy and excitement to devotion and reverence. Try to capture the emotions of the festival-goers and convey the atmosphere of the festival through your images. It is your imagination that brings life to a photo. 

Festivals in India are full of emotions, from joy and excitement to devotion and reverence. Try to capture the emotions of the festival-goers and convey the atmosphere of the festival through your images. It is your imagination that brings life to a photo. 

Courtesy- Shubham Wanjari | Boy playing with colors

 

Courtesy- Vishal Shinde | Girl lighting diyas on a ghat

You can write multiple POVs (Point of view) for the same photo and post it on social media. 

9. Pay attention to the dominant colors

Every festival in India has its unique color palette. For example, Holi is known for its bright colors like pink, yellow, green, and blue, while Diwali is associated with golden, orange, and red hues. Understanding the dominant colors of the festival can help you create amazing images. Every festival in India has its unique color palette. For example, Holi is known for its bright colors like pink, yellow, green, and blue, while Diwali is associated with golden, orange, and red hues. Understanding the dominant colors of the festival can help you create amazing images. 

Color is an essential element in festival photography in India, as the festivals are known for their vibrant hues and colorful celebrations.  

I) Use color to create contrast

Using colors that contrast with the dominant color of the festival can create dynamic images that stand out. For example, using a blue or green background can create a striking contrast against the bright pink colors of Holi. 

Courtesy- Nikhil Singh | Two boys wearing Kurta Pajamas

II) Capture color in motion

Festivals in India are often characterized by movement, dance, and music. Capturing the movement of dancers or the fluttering of colorful flags can add a dynamic element to your images. 

III) Experiment with color temperature

Adjusting the color temperature of your images can create a mood or feeling that enhances the festival’s atmosphere. For example, using warmer colors can create a sense of warmth and intimacy, while cooler colors can convey a sense of calm and serenity. 

IV) Focus on details

Indian festivals are known for their intricate decorations and designs. Capturing the details of colorful rangolis, ornate jewelry, or intricate henna designs can create images that showcase the festival’s beauty and intricacy. 

Using color as an element in festival photography can make your images stand out from the rest and show the vibrancy and beauty of Indian festivals. 

10. Use protective gear

In crowded and festive environments, photographers may need to protect their gear from accidental bumps, spills, and dust. A camera bag or backpack with padding can keep the equipment safe and organized. Wear comfortable shoes with good grip to prevent slipping and tripping in crowded areas. They may need to kneel or crawl to get the perfect shot. Elbow and knee pads can protect them from scrapes and bruises. 

For example- Ganesh Chaturthi celebration in Maharashtra attracts a large crowd. So don’t forget to take precautions if you’re visiting the festival. 

Courtesy- Vishal Shinde | People celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi

11. Edit your images well

After the shoot, select the best images and edit them to enhance their colors, contrast, and clarity. Use editing software to crop, straighten, and remove distracting elements from the images. Add captions or descriptions to the images to provide context and convey the essence of the festival.  

Courtesy- Vishal Shinde | People celebrating Janmashtami

In conclusion, capturing festivals in India requires planning, patience, and respect. By following these tips, you can create a compelling visual narrative that captures the diversity, vibrancy, and emotions of Indian festivals. 

And if you are covering India’s festivals, we would love to have your content on our website! Indievisual.in (that’s us!) is an India-centric stock footage company that accepts photos and videos from creators across the country. You can register yourself as a creator and start earning.  

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