A guide to taking matrimonial photos

It’s that time of the year, when all your friends are getting married, or running off to India to “see” assorted girls. You look around and realize that you are the last bachelor in your group. You are sick of going to weddings and receptions and watching your friends snag all the pretty girls.

It’s not like you want to remain single. It’s not like you have not tried. But here you are, sitting in a dimly lit room, alone, reading a blog. You wonder where you are going wrong.

May we suggest that the root of the problem lies with your photo? No, no, we are not casting any aspersions on your looks. We are very sure you are handsome and good looking and all that. But it’s not your looks, it’s the photo.

Now, what do you mean “we?” you ask me. Have you developed multiple personality disorder or something? Nothing like that. I am just saying “we” because here, I am representing the voice of womanhood. Well, something like that. Bear with me, will you…

Consider a typical scenario – parents find interesting leads on “girls”. They consult assorted astrologers who peer at horoscopes and make random pronouncements. Sometimes the horoscopes don’t match. Sometimes they do. Parents are happy. Astrologer is happy. They get girl’s picture and examine it closely. Length of neck, shape of jaw and crookedness of nose and teeth are all carefully measured and analyzed. If the girl passes all these tests, they inform you that they have “received inquiries”.

“So there is this girl…”, your Mom starts off, ending with “…and they want your photo. All I have is your old college photo, taken five years back, and the passport photo, taken two years back. Shall I send the passport photo?”

You panic. Now your Mom will look at any photo of yours and only see her handsome son. But you know better. You have stood in front of the immigration officer many times and watched him open your passport, take one look at your photo, shudder violently and hastily snap the passport shut. Yes, you have no illusions about your passport picture.

“No, no, not the passport photo!”, you shout into the phone. “I will email you a more recent one”.

This is exactly the right thing to do. But this is where you stumble, and it all starts to unravel. Little do you realize how complicated the act of taking a photo is. But don’t worry, we are here to offer our advisory services, based on our collective wisdom gained from looking at photos of hapless guys.

We can see you are now getting impatient to learn more about the magic mantras, so without any more delay, we shall tell you our 10 Don’ts To Taking a Matrimonial Photo.

1. Do not pose with your dog. We agree your dog is beautiful. We love golden retrievers and German shepherds, and dogs in general. In fact, we love them so much that every time we pick up your photo, we only see the dog. So please leave your dog out of the picture. Conversely, this is a great idea if you want to draw attention away from your paunch or your receding mane.

2. Why does every single one of you have to stand in front of the Grand Canyon or the Golden Gate? We now have ten beautiful pictures of the Canyon at Mather Point, and six of the Golden Gate. Trouble is, now all the photos look the same. The only photo we now remember is the guy who wanted to be different – he posed in front of Alcatraz. We wonder what he was trying to tell us?

3. We know which university you went to, so no need to pose in your school T-shirt. On the same note, no photos of you wearing shorts either please…your hairy legs are really not attractive. Really.

4. Don’t send pictures hugging random children, we can see you love children but again, we wonder what you are hinting at.

5. Don’t send group photos, we are not sure which one you are. Or worse, we might decide we like your friend better.

6. Don’t send the photos where you wear goggles and a cap, we do need to look at your whole face, not just at your moustache. What is the cap trying to hide anyway? Your balding pate?

7. Please don’t send any photos taken at parties. We do not want to see you eating samosas, even if they make you look deliriously happy. We do not look at your face, instead, we are drawn to the green chutney stain on your shirt. Then there is the wine glass in your hand. Maybe it contains rum, or wine, or Pepsi. We are cool with it. But all you need is for our Dad, or Grandfather or Random Uncle to take one look at the photo and say “Chee! Ladka peetha hai!”, and you are going nowhere, fast.

8. No convocation photos, please. Yes, yes, we believe you when you say you have a degree. We really don’t need proof, and certainly not a vision of you in oversized purple and black robes. We tend to shudder and think of bats.

9. Don’t take your picture inside your apartment. But if you have to, could you first look around to see there are no towels or underwear lying on the floor? We like to zoom in on digital photos. So do you, I am sure, but we are the ones who will notice that plate of half-eaten food lying on the table, with the interesting green growth.

10. Is that a TV set showing football in the background? We can see how this would have happened. You are chatting with your friends about going to “see a girl”, and one of your friends offers to take your picture. Let’s wait for half-time, he says. We think this is a great example of how little you care about sending us the perfect picture. Here we are, spending hours deciding what to wear and planning that perfect look for our photo. That is how considerate we are. And you just take a photo during half-time? How can you be so casual about it? This one goes first into the trash can.

As you can see, we tend to read too much into your photos. Yes, we are also very picky and choosy, and use any excuse to turn up our noses.

Yes, we are like this only. But then, do you have a choice? No. So we suggest you print out this list and carefully read each item every time you take a photo of yourself. Trust us, it’ll help.


64 thoughts on “A guide to taking matrimonial photos

  1. Hi, Very very funny! It’ll be interesting to find out if it really helps some guy…I’ll be following the “comments” section very carefully here!

  2. rajk: Thanks. I am also looking forward to everyone’s comments 🙂 What do you think of it? Do you agree/ disagree with anything in the post?

    As to registering with indiblogger, I liked the fact that they were trying to build a good desi blogging community, and wanted to support it. They have some good blogs in there. And oh, the most important reason – I really liked the banner 🙂

    The only details you need to register are your email id and blog’s url. For the “city” field, you can just enter the country you are in, as I did.

  3. That was one good post! 🙂
    I had something (you might like) about the ‘we’ while writing in first person singular here.
    As for the photo thingy, it should be obvious.
    Women can be angels or witches. It pays to be discriminate and choosy. You see, when it comes to men, it is a given that whoever’s picture it is, the guy is gonna be a creep or mutant thereof. so its like ‘WTF’? The only redeeming feature is the pay packet. I believe it is more instructive to send a snapshot of THAT. Deciding becomes easier, you see.
    Now, with paychecks being gender-insensitive, even this is less important. So, what’s the way out?
    Hmmn… maybe try your pot (belly) luck?!

  4. ..and please dont send snaps of you taken in the photo-shop with the (obviously) fake background of the alps.

    ..and if possible, avoid overtly posed snaps such as a fist with a side profile (aka dhirubhai ambani and duniya mere mutthi mein)

    ..if you are an NRI try not to do namaste poses ..you are NOT a mascot for air india but a prospective groom

    ( as you can see, i have been a victim to a bunch of these as well!)

    great post!

    • Since I don’t have many photos, I was thinking of these options. Thank god, I read your comments. To be honest, I don’t know how to pose, or do we really have to pose 🙂

  5. Damn, now I know why that picture of me in front of the Niagara Falls, in my Axxx Univ t-shirt and shorts, with sunglasses and the Yankees cap, with assorted kids and dogs in the foreground, wasn’t closing escrow. 😀

    Nice post.


  6. @ rambodoc: That was funny. And so was your rationale on who should use the “we”.

    @ dipali: I wish some people would take the advice 🙂

    @ Kamini: I think that’s a great idea – maybe I should set up a consulting shop!

    @ a cynic in wonderland: Wow, I can see that you had a much harder time than I did. Namaste? Raised fist? Seriously..what will guys think of next?

    @ kadoo: Thanks.

    @ Padma: Yes, you and Kamini can help me start the “matri consulting” business. Maybe that makes me a new-age grandma 😛

    @ Terri: You forgot, Black Honda Civic. Because black has the highest resale value.

    @ BPSK: The Yankees cap alone would have done it. She was a Red Sox fan.

    @ tgfi: Shucks, I missed so many good ones..Plaster of Paris pillar? Where do they get them from 😛

    @ gooddaysunshine: What, you expect me to give them step-by-step instructions on how to take a photo? Hey, I can’t do all the work around here! And no, I do not diss all the photos. Just the sheer majority.

  7. You have a very good eye for photographic absurdity, real and imagined. And your comments are guaranteed to get the comic imagination going.

  8. ha ha ha ha ha!! Nice. I do think even girls send the most atrocious photos clicked inside studios with blue skies and white cloud background..angelic?..na-uh, scary..yup! Why oh why do women need makeup, good indian clothes, and ofcourse the ‘i am so sweet’ smile..it pathetic..but then i guess arranged marriages are all about..who fooled who, how and how quick. Is it not?

  9. Nice post. But if you must know, the problem (as a single guy who fits said profile, I know) is also with parents who are not willing to see past the carefully orchestrated photo.

    A casual photo is dismissed with one snarky comment or the other. If I could, I could send my “silly photo” meme pic collage. I won that meme hands down.

    But sadly, people at home think that my silliness should be kept under wraps to be unleashed on the unsuspecting gal only after she is caught in the net and bound with a yellow thread knotted thrice. 😛 They reject every pic I send.

    My reaction – What the hell! And so I go ahead and give them the “formal” pics they want, but if you look carefully, there will be easter egg type silliness. It’s my idea of revolt!

  10. Getting married was already scary enough. Now this photo thing! Well, am not sure if I would remember all u’r ideas, but I’d think of them if I get into such a photo-taking state.

    Good post anyways(am sure over 85% of married-women would have thought like u, but only a few write on blogs!).

  11. hey – I just registered on IndiBlogger, thanks for helping me find them. How about setting up a blogger meet on their site?

  12. An authoritative article indeed.
    I’d like to point out to a few omissions here, just so that such an abject abstraction doesn’t remain incomplete.

    No mention is made about posting one’s photo-negatives here. Given the tan friendliness some have, you’d be surprised how fair it makes one look! Given the copious amount of TV coverage make-me-fair-for-male creams get, this is definitely a requirement? And negatives, I feel, is quite a eco-pocket friendly solution.

    The other is to post one’s X-rays. After all a sturdy skeletal structure is always reassuring?

    Statutory warning: The above information comes from a matrimonial-column-inexperienced bachelor, so must be emulated to at one’s own risk.

  13. Came across your blog while going through Siri’s.. Your blog relates so very much to some of my own thoughts ,may be because thats reality!!! . Very humour filled..:)

  14. so how do u want anyone to present a pic then…thts impossible to get a pic which doent satisfy any of the above…so go to hell wid ur blog ….

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  16. Hilarious. ROTFL. It reminds me of 100s of photos in my friends’ orkut albums…especially those in america. These days I’m able to guess the places without reading the titles. It’s either statue of liberty, golden gate, grand canyon, sears tower or some damned casino in vegas.

  17. “On the same note, no photos of you wearing shorts either please?your hairy legs are really not attractive.”

    Oh, that was so true in my case. That was a long time ago–I wasn’t ready for marriage but there was this ‘nice’ guy, what-do-you-have-to-lose arguement from my mother. His legs were my excuse. Them hairy legs and the socks-and-shoes-with-shorts combination gave me the most solid excuse I could come up with.

    BTW Lekhni, I have just started that Akhil Sharma book. Hardly into the 3rd page. Maybe I will put down my thoughts after I finish.

  18. Malathi: I am very curious about how exactly you argued your case, and how your mother agreed to your reasoning – was she put off by the hairy legs too? But the whole thing strikes me as quite iniquitous – here we are, supposed to get all decked up (for a mere photo?) wear saris, preferably silk, and smile through our discomfort, while they can get away with wearing shorts? Where is the justice in that?

    While we have spent hours preparing for the photo as if it were a cover shoot on Vogue, the guy looks like he is just back from a golf game!

  19. I was only 25 (but looked and behaved as if I was only 18) and I had only just arrived in the US. So from my parents’ perspective there were still lots of choices and options for me. So my mother herself was sort of half-hearted actually and didn’t push. (But five years down the road, and with me still single, things were not really pretty :)).

    Yes, I was made to dress up too (apply a ton of make-up for the first time, have a haircut and a light perm and change into a wide range of clothes) and have a family-friend, who is also a camera-man in the movie industry, follow me around our home and capture me under flattering light and different backgrounds. It all sounds so pathetic now, but I sort of enjoyed it that day because up until then I had been an awkward, shy bookish tomboy and I had rarely paid attention to the ‘feminine’ inside me. But the fairy tale came crashing down much later when I heard that one guy had remarked that he didn’t like “those types of girls.” I don’t know what ‘type’ he meant but I really took it to mean the worst. Those types of girls! Bwah! After all the effort!

    Anyway, in retrospect, in my case, none of my mother’s efforts ever really bore fruit.

  20. Malathi: The “A day in the life of Malathi” video sounds fantastic 🙂 if nothing else, you can show it to your children and grandchildren someday! Why is it that parents stop videotaping their children after they reach a certain age (whatever that age is)?

    Did that guy who remarked about “those types of girls” become a famous psychiatrist then? I am amazed that he could, with one look at your photo, classify you neatly in his taxonomy of girls. He even had a taxonomy of girls? Definitely shrink material 😉

  21. :)) good one Lekhni. I remember some friends use to ask me what should we ask girls when we meet them for these marriage proposal meetings. May be to help the eligible bachelor fraternity you should write more on this & related topics.

  22. Very funny post!

    It brings to mind the photo that a certain filmi celeb had on their Facebook profile, taken with an iPhone in the mirror of a hotel room’s loo. Once you got done looking at the thespian, and the iPhone, and your eyes began to survey the surroundings, they would inevitably alight on the pair of skivvies hanging on the hook on the bathroom door! Chee!

  23. La Vida Loca, Sameer Panchangam: Thanks 🙂

    amlistening: Oh, that’s a good post idea 🙂 Will write one!

    Nikhil Narayanan: Good Luck!

    amit: Hope you’ve seen the light now 😛

    filmiholic: Ruins the whole impression, what? 🙂 I wonder why people don’t take just one look at their photos before they send them off or upload them.

    Subhayan Mandal: Comparing yourself to a Royal Bengal tiger would confirm the initial suspicion that you belong in a zoo 😉
    (Just kidding, as you know, but what did you expect – linking to a photo of a tiger? 🙂 )

  24. Subhayan Mandal: It’s a magnificent looking tiger. I’ve always wanted to visit Bandhavagarh and Kanha. I’ve never seen a tiger in the wild, or even in a National Park 😦

  25. This post reminded me of the day when I went to take a matrimonial pic. Reading your post was funnier than the actual experience

    Lekhni: I am glad you liked it. I agree, taking matrimonial pictures of oneself is not fun 😦 You should blog about your experience, though!

  26. came across this post zillions of years after it was actually posted. but still totally worth commenting on – it is brilliant.

    Lekhni: Thanks 😀

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  28. You could have included atleast ONE proper way of taking the fotos….We boys do take girls advice word by word on such matters…lol

    Lekhni: What! Tell you the right way? And spoil all the fun ? 😛

  29. As a desi I know this was one of the most difficult decisions to make (coming as a close second to actually choosing a wife, of course) through this process of finding a soulmate. I am glad I have friends who are professional photographers who obliged me when I asked them. So, here is an offer to you all – guys and gals – if you want professional headshots for yourself (or your mom/dad/uncle/aunty), contact me – http://www.seshu.net. I am a professional wedding photographer and I know how to light a person and what looks cheesy (so, what not to do). Lekhni – sorry for the obvious plug here … edit at will if you don’t think it is appropriate. I got a good laugh reading this out loud. I’ll post it on Tiffinbox as well soon. Cheers!

  30. i think thats a fantastic post,looks like u have loads of exp of going the potential “soul mates”

    but i have seen some pics of my frnds in US of A where they have mentioned the building behind is “biggest mall” or cone in their hand is some “specfic brand of ice cream” or smthng like that ,i think u havent that category yet

  31. Does ‘womanhood’ really speak in one voice? My expereince doesn’t say so.While someone hated me for posing dreamily before the “Taj” ( yes, the romantic mounment and not its now famous namesake), someone else drools over it and thinks its my sexiest picture.Food for thought? What say?

  32. Ha ha ha ha …………………………………….

    Loved it!!!!!!!!!!

    BTW, if that list is any an indicator – you will have to reject 99.99 % of the potential boys for your girl.
    That is too tiring! I sympathize with the poor things whose pic gets dissected like a specimen in an anatomy museum.

    Hilarious! None the less.

  33. 😀 LMAO lekhni! That was both freaking hilarious and educational. Have to send it to my elder cousin…rofl

    (yaay! my comment completes 50!)

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