Tips for Photographing an Indian Religious Festival

Choose the right gear

Festivals come with a big pool of photographic opportunities ranging from wide angle to telephoto perspectives, so it is always better to only carry two cameras with two different lenses. Alternatively, you can use only one lens which serves both purposes. Also, do keep an extra battery along and faster memory cards.

Plan & Pre-visualize

When planning on shooting an Indian festival, it’s important to do all the research in advance before going to the place so you have an understanding of the rituals and events which will be taking place. Indian festivals are full of color and lights, they are the most vibrant time of the year in India. People are dressed in bright, colorful clothes and ornaments, houses, malls, streets are all lit up and decorated. Decide which state you will be going to shoot to as festivals in India are celebrated differently in different states. Looking up the internet on information on these festivals and how they are celebrated across the country will help you preplan and organize your shoot.


Photo Credit: Rohith Sarcar

Choose the background

Because of all the festivities, decorations and lots of people, it is very difficult to get a clear background. So make sure you compose in a way that the background enhances your shots, keep your main subject in focus while letting the background give a feel of the festivities.


Photo Credit: Roehan Rengadurai

 Focus on the details

The festivals in India make for one of the most lively and vibrant time of the year and there are flowers, lights, color, fireworks and decorations all around! Focusing on the details and capturing various elements like flowers, oil lamps etc. will get you some of the most beautiful shots.


Photo Credit: Picturemakers INDIA

Shooting Mode

Here’s a very important tip – use continuous shooting mode with AI focus, this helps in capturing moving subjects and candid shots. Shooting in Aperture priority mode will also help you get the DOF as per your choice and composition.


Photo Credit: Rammohan Paranjape

Take candid shots

Candid shots, especially in the festivals, are better than the staged ones. Candid shots if captured well can be a lot more vivid and expressive than the ones where the subject is posing and looking into the camera. During the festivals, family and friends get together for the festivities and rituals and the happiness and excitement on their faces is better captured candid.


Photo Credit: Inder Gopal

Click people

People make for some most beautiful pictures, without a doubt! And during the festivals, they are dressed up in traditional, colorful clothes and jewellery. The joyous spirit of people during the festivals is worth capturing, their happy and excited faces make for great portrait shots.


Photo Credit: Veren Mitter

 Capture meaningful shots

Lastly, don’t just click the shutter! During the festivals in India, there’s beauty all around! Everywhere you look, you will find a shot worth capturing but you shouldn’t get carried away. Save your memory card space and battery for quality shots. Take a moment to look around, analyze and then start clicking!


Photo Credit: Guru Charan

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