Choosing Your Mitzvah Photographer
There’s a lot more to being a mitzvah photographer than having a fancy-looking camera or evening knowing how to use it. When planning your child’s bar or bat mitzvah, you want to avoid hiring someone inexperienced, unskilled, or less than talented. Trusting your family’s milestone event to someone who is not up to the job would be a mistake. Here are some of the factors you should consider when choosing a mitzvah photographer.
Past Clients’ Experiences
The most reliable way to find out what it would be like to work with a mitzvah photographer is to learn about other families’ experiences. A great starting point is the comments or reviews section on a photographer’s website, but you may get a broader array of clients’ experiences by reading independent reviews posted on public review sites such as Google reviews.
You can get a deeper sense of a photographer by talking to past clients about their experiences with that particular individual. Ask not only about what they liked about the pictures but about how they enjoyed working with the photographer. Was he or she flexible, easygoing, accommodating, warm? Was the family comfortable, were they put at ease?
Experience and Commitment
You’ll probably want to ask any photographer you’re considering how long they have been photographing professionally. Long years of experience don’t necessarily translate to wonderful pictures or a terrific client experience, but there’s a better chance that a photographer who has covered a hundred or more mitzvahs will be equipped to handle any challenges that may arise than someone who’s only been a second photographer at half a dozen.
You also might want to ask whether or not photography is this person’s full-time business. You’d likely find a full-time photographer more committed and client-service oriented than someone for whom it is a second job, weekend gig, or side hustle.
Technical Skill and Artistic Vision
At the very least, you need a photographer who has the technical proficiency to capture properly exposed, sharply focused, well-lit photographs regardless of the lighting conditions. The person you choose should understand the technical requirements of your pre-mitzvah portrait session, temple portrait session, and of course at your party.
Of course, your family’s mitzvah celebration deserves more than the bare minimum. Pictures with proper exposure and sharp focus is a pretty low bar. You will be left with technically acceptable images, but not treasures.
You need a photographer with creativity and an artistic point of view to create photographs that will make your heart sing. They need to know how to use light, composition, sensitivity, and timing. A great mitzvah photographer will anticipate and capture moments in a way that makes them come alive and brings the feelings of the day flooding back to you for years to come.
Look for someone whose pictures move you to strong feelings, even though the subjects aren’t your family but someone else’s. Do this, and you’ll be on your way to choosing the best mitzvah photographer for you.
Personality & Demeanor
The personality and demeanor of your mitzvah photographer might be as important as their artistry and technical skills. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with this person, on an important emotional day, so it’s critical to choose someone whose interpersonal style meshes with yours.
You want a photographer who is going to be easygoing and helpful, focused on solving and smoothing over any problems that arise. Your photographer should play an unobtrusive role in your mitzvah celebration, who captures moments instead of trying to force them and treats your guests with care and respect.
You don’t want to hear from your great aunt that your photographer was rude. It will add to the experience of your mitzvah celebration if you like your photographer personally. However, as long as the professional your hire doesn’t rub you the wrong way, they won’t detract from your enjoyment of the overall mitzvah experience.
As you shop around and research the various mitzvah photographers in your area and beyond, you’ll start to notice different photographic styles. Some photographers’ work will appeal to you more than others’. This may depend on composition, lighting, posing and the moments a photographer chooses to capture and then share with the world.
Take note of these individual elements that grab you as you dig into a photographer’s web site. Look and see if there is a deep archive of photos in the style that moves you or just a few. You can always ask a photographer you’re interested in to see a large collection of photographs from one bar or bat mitzvah so you can get a sense of their complete vision of the event.
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