Ideal ways to light a Mandap

Ideal ways to light a Mandap

I have been thinking about this post for more than a year. It's very simple but hard to explain everytime so I thought it would help if I made some illustrations to explain the different lighting styles with easily available lighting equipment to get the best lighting for photography and video to avoid the use of a flash or the video light.

This blog post should help the professionals to share these as suggestions to their clients or the wedding planner while finalising on the Mandap design or the decoration for the wedding.

Lighting is the single most important thing when it comes to photography and video. When there is no ample light that's when the cameramen pull out their own lights. So the main objective is clear. 

Why is it important to know this?

  1. Majority of the Indian weddings are conducted inside a hall
  2. Most of the wedding halls in India are dark for some reason. (I guess they expect some miracle to happen and shed light during a wedding)
  3. Because of Point #1, majority of the wedding photographers use a flash and video guys resort to the mighty "sun gun" (sometimes people go the extra mile and use a lighting setup that is typically used to shoot a Hollywood movie)
  4. Majority of decorations do not take into consideration the light inside the Mandap (which is the main area where all the rituals are conducted) but the pillars, the outside of the Mandap are lit with so many lights (WHY!?)
  5. Because of these situations the main subjects – the bride and groom are either in the dark or look orange-yellow because of the video light or there are harsh shadows on the faces. (By now you might've seen at least a 1000 wedding pictures like these)
  6. Post-processing is a pain in the backside. Have to change the exposure, the white balance, etc frequently and in the process miss a beautiful moment (it also messes around with the saree colors, etc.)

Here are some light setups which I hope would help the clients, decorators, wedding planners and obviously us Photographers and Video guys to capture the wedding at its best!

First Setup:

Use two focus lights (without filters) to light the Mandap. The two lights are focused at the roof of the Mandap and bounce the light off the roof to get a nice and even diffused light. The illustration below explains this in more detail.   

Lighting a Mandap with 2 Focus Lights

Second Setup:

Use one Halogen light (without filters) to light the Mandap. The light is fixed at the front using a clamp and the light is directed at a 45 degree angle directly towards the subjects. The photographers and video guys benefit from this light because of the light and shadow on the face. This lighting style is popularly known as Butterfly lighting or Paramount lighting. The illustration below explains this in more detail.   

Lighting a Mandap with 1 Halogen Light Mounted

Third Setup:

This setup is useful where there is no Mandap. Use one Halogen light (without filters) on a stand to light the whole stage. The light is fitted on a stand and placed at a distance of 3-4 feet away from the subjects/stage. The light is directed at a 30 degree angle directly towards the subjects. This lighting style is similar to the second setup explained above. The illustration below explains this in more detail.   

Lighting a Stage with 1 Halogen Light on a stand

Note: The lights specified above is mentioned just for reference (as a basic setup), instead of one halogen light other lights can be used as long as it serves the intended purpose. 

Hope this helps!

Please feel free to share this information with your friends, photographers, decorators and wedding planners. 

One Response to Ideal ways to light a Mandap
  • SG

    Thanks a tonne guys, made a lot of sense :)
    So by this means, the video guy will not need additional lighting?

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