Monday, November 12, 2012

A Return to Event Photography --- A Malay Solemnization Ceremony

With the revival of my SB-600 speedlight comes my return to taking photos of events, the first of which was my cousin's solemnization ceremony at her home in Petaling Jaya.

The solemnization ceremony was held in her house with a relatively low white ceiling, so it was a really good environment for shooting with the speedlight aimed straight up to get some even, neutral bounced light from above. This way, the subjects were evenly lit and harsh shadows were almost undetectable, except in some photos.

The key event in solemnization is the akad nikah, where the wali, in most cases the father of the bride, gives away the bride to the groom in an exchange of ijabkabul (the acceptance of vows or agreement). As I was not the official photographer for this event, I did not position myself in the best location for capturing this event, therefore the above photo was the best one I could get of the akad nikah ceremony.

Also due to the overwhelming large number of people present and the layout of the house, my cousin the bride was only able to witness the akad nikah through a live video screening. I imagine her having mixed feelings of nervousness and joy as she watched her husband-to-be recite his 'qabul' in response of agreement to her father's 'ijab' on the screen. Once the recital of the ijab and qabul was over, the couple is considered ceremoniously married.

I know at once my cousin was glad the ceremony went on smoothly without a hitch.

After the traditional and religious ceremony was over, the relatively more modern/western influenced exchanging of the rings was done.

The exchanging of the rings were also accompanied by the 'official' kissing of the hand, the Malay version of 'you may now kiss'.

As Malay and Islamic traditions discourage public displays of affection, this kissing of the hand (and sometimes forehead) would be the first intimate moment between the couple that the family and friends may witness.

Close family members are usually dressed in some predetermined theme or color scheme for the occasion, and this rare consistency in outfits is always a good time for a quick and fun family photoshoot.

I know the sisters enjoyed the fun shooting sessions a lot, with all the funny props.

Also, since the bride was prettily prepped for the ceremony, she would take the chance of this rare occasion for some personal portrait shots, along with her husband.

As you can see, since I was not the official photographer, it was difficult for me to get eye contact from the subjects since it was not my photoshoot session, hence the off-camera look of the subjects.

Overall, I was quite happy with how the photos turned out, especially when I was able to work with the environment and the lighting really well. Of course, with any piece of artistic work feedback and comments would very much help in improving my future work, so I would really love to hear from you regarding the shots above, or any of my other photo works in the past.

I have some more events to shoot already lined up this month, so be prepared to see some updates on those!


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