Getting the most from your simcha photographer

DSC_6245Eli Amaru-293 Coby Abrams-632863 Ari and Talia Portnoi

Being photographed should be one of the highlights of your celebration

By Yehoshua Halevi

There is a light-hearted argument among the main service providers at life-cycle celebrations as to who is most important to the party’s success. Caterers will tell you unequivocally that guests always remember the food. Musicians boast that the celebratory mood is entirely in their skilled hands and voices.

Photographers advise our clients that after the band has packed and gone and the leftovers are no longer left over, what endures are the memories you hold in your heart and the photographs you hold in your hand. Certainly it is important to give careful consideration to each of the professionals you hire for your simcha. This is especially true with photography, a field that has greatly diversified in the digital era so that many more styles and options for packaging the finished product are now available.

How then do you filter through the myriad choices to find the best photographer to meet your needs? Here are a few simple suggestions to help you make the right choice.

Enthusiasm – The best photographer to record your celebration is someone with energy and enthusiasm and who shows genuine interest in you and your family.

Style – Choose a photographer whose style and creativity you admire and whose photographs you would like to have adorning the walls of your own home. Images tell a story better than words ever could. Choose a photographer who shares your attitude about what is beautiful. Look at his or her work. If you don’t see it in their portfolio you won’t see it in your finished images.

Experience – It is important to find a well-qualified photographer who has ample experience photographing the particular kind of event you are hiring him to shoot. An experienced photographer will be able to produce high-quality images time and time again. Find out if he or she does this for a living or for fun. You need to be confident that your photographer has the versatility, the awareness and the sensitivity to capture the essence of your celebration.

Personality – Is the photographer that you meet someone that you can get along with? You should feel at ease with this person because you will be spending a lot of time with him or her. The more comfortable you are with your photographer, the more relaxed and beautiful you will appear in your photos and the more you will enjoy your time in front of the camera.

Price – It’s never wise to choose a photographer based on price alone. Photographers offer different price packages and it is important to understand what everything costs and exactly what you are getting in order to make a fair price comparison.

Getting what you want – Although years of experience have taught me to anticipate special moments, I am always grateful when a client provides me with both a list of things they want photographed and close friends and relatives attending the party. Your photographer should be available to do whatever you request, but don’t leave him or her guessing what’s important to you.

Celebrating overseas – One of the most rewarding areas of my work is photographing families who have traveled to Israel to celebrate the coming of age of a child or a wedding. I have worked with families from the U.S, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, France, Mexico, Scotland and South Africa. There is always a unique, elevated level of simcha among these families that produces magical images. The convenience of email and the internet make finding a photographer in Israel, viewing his work and arranging a booking simpler than ever. You can also expect to pay 30-40% less for most services offered in Israel, including photography. The ease and speed of processing digital images also makes it possible for me to deliver the album to the family before they return home.

References – A final word of advice: Contact references from recent clients who hired the photographer for similar work.

The special time spent with your photographer should be one of the highlights of your celebration. Ideally, you will select a photographer who will exceed your expectations, not only for the moment, but for a lifetime. After all, your photographs will be a cherished family possession for years to come.

2 thoughts on “Getting the most from your simcha photographer”

  1. Do you have a current email address? Interested in speaking w/ you about photographing a bnai mitzvah in israel and my emails keep bouncing back. thank you!

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