Bar/Bat Mitzvah Photography
After years of planning and preparing, in a blink of an eye, your child’s mitzvah celebration is over. All that’s left are your memories, some favors, your video and PICTURES. For this reason, at Mitzvah List, we think one of the most important decisions you can make when planning your child’s mitzvah is who your hire as your photographer.
Unlike many other professions, there are no licenses or regulations for photographers. Anyone can pick up a camera and say that they are a photographer. For this reason, we have consulted with Brian Masserman, of Masserman Photography to find out what mitzvah parents should look for when hiring a photographer.
Brian, a distinguished professional photographer, with over twenty five years of experience, owns and operates a full service studio in Keego Harbor, Mi.. Not only has he and his well trained and experienced staff photographed thousands of local and destination Bar/Bat mitzvahs, but his studio also photographs family, high school senior portraits, weddings, on- location green screen printing services, corporate head shot, GLBT unions, custom framing, youth sports teams, and photo restoration services. For many families, a simcha is not complete without Brian! One word that truly describes Brian is PASSION! He truly LOVES what he does. After speaking with Brian, we are convinced that you should look for the following when hiring a photographer for your Bar/Bat mitzvah celebration:
(1) Hire a full-time professional photographer. A part-timer that is looking to make extra money taking pictures may not be fully equipped nor does that person have time to properly edit and deliver your images in a professional manner. You don’t want someone with a pop-up flash that does not have an arsenal of lenses, cameras and equipment, photographing your event. You want someone with the latest technology that will continuously maintain his or her equipment. A part-timer may take a few good shots, but they may not be consistent. Remember, there are no do overs. Your photographer has one chance to take the right shot. You won’t see the pictures until it’s too late, so make sure you are hiring someone that loves what they are doing enough to make it their full time career.
(2) Look for a photographer with lots of experience. Event photographers are like professional golfers. If they are not practicing, they will never improve their game. Hire someone that has photographed lots of different types of Bar/Bat mitzvahs like orthodox, conservative and reform. Make sure you ask targeted questions like what kinds of religious and non-religious photos do they take and how many years they have been in the field of photographing life events. You will have enough stress on the day of your event. You need a photographer that knows what to do and what shots to take. An experienced photographer will be there early, dressed appropriately and immediately take charge. You should not have to HOLD THEIR HAND!
(3) Hire a photographer that will assist you in putting together your album. They should spend quality time with you after the photos are delivered. You want to choose the right pictures and your experienced photographer will know which ones those are. Have your photographer create a leather bound album that will be passed down from generation to generation. Avoid the photo books that have very thin pages and don’t have a lasting and archival photographic paper. And of course avoid those photographers that only offer you an electronic version of your photos without properly editing, retouching, cropping, color correcting and offering an online gallery your images! That would be a complete disservice.
(4) Hire a photographer you like. You need to do an in person interview and make sure that your photographer is professional, patient, kind, easy going, but can also be pleasantly assertive. Make sure your photographer understands your culture and family dynamic. Ask yourself, is this someone I would want to have around my family and friends? Your photographer will be with you for hours and hours during a very fun, but very stressful time. It’s important to realize that it’s not only about taking the pictures. Your photographer needs to make your family and guests feel good about themselves so they look good in the pictures. It’s a good idea to have a portrait session of your child prior to your celebration to make sure you can work together.
(5) Make sure your photographer will enhance and retouch all of your photos. Everyone, including super models need a little retouching. Make sure your photographer will brighten your teeth, remove exit signs, eliminate shadows and even blur an unsightly background. No one wants a picture of themselves with spinach in their teeth. Your photographer should take care of this.
(6) Get at least three references. Not only should you call the references, but ask your other mitzvah vendors about your photographer. It’s a good idea to look for reviews on Yelp or Google. Remember, this is an important decision.
(7) When it comes to photographers, it’s not about the price, it’s about the value. Ask your photographer about their average price per print. Don’t expect to pay the same price as your would from Costco, but you also shouldn’t pay $100 for an 8 x 10. Remember, you are looking for quality. It’s important to realize that true professional photographer calibrate the colors in your pictures to the colors that are printed in your photos.
(8) Make sure your photographer is insured. You want to have someone that not only has liability insurance, but almost indemnity insurance to compensate you if something terrible happens to your images. A professional will make sure that they have proper insurance to protect both you and them.
(9) Ask your photographer how they back up your photos. Make sure your photographer has several back-ups both on-site and off-site. This is VERY important! What happens if your photographer’s studio burns down or has a flood? You want to make sure your pictures are properly protected, just in case!
(10)Ask about time frame. You want someone that will give you your photos in a reasonable time. We’ve all heard stories from mitzvah parents that they still haven’t seen their photos, months after their event. Realize, you will not have immediate gratification (except for a few teaser photos), but make sure you are comfortable with how long it will really take.
Photographing life events, including mitzvahs, can be difficult. There is lots of emotion involved and you need to make sure that you hire the right person for the job. Make sure this decision is not taken lightly. Hire someone with a great reputation that will provide you with impeccable service and make you feel good about your decision. If you are happy with that person then you may want to strongly consider hiring them well in advance for your other children now that you have built a relationship!