10 Tips for Hiring the Perfect Mitzvah Photographer
by Beth Baynum for 5th Avenue Digital Photography
Thursday, September 17, 2015

Hiring a Bar/Bat Mitzvah photographer is different from hiring a wedding photographer. These images aren’t just a portrayal of something that you have dreamed about your whole life, but more so a representation of your family as it is today.   Still, you want that representation to bring out the personality of each family member, to preserve this special moment in your family’s life.  You want to feel proud when you look at these images in 30 years! Here are 10 tips to help you focus your thoughts and create your game plan when you’re ready to hire a Mitzvah shooter.


1)  Be sure the photographer loves children!  This is one of the most important distinctions for your Mitzvah photographer. Don’t hire a wedding photographer who is available for your date, because there are many unique elements to shooting a Mitzvah that a wedding photographer may not be aware of.  There are a lot of kids at these events and you don’t want someone who captures the happenings from afar, but rather embraces the whole tradition.  We have specific photographers that specialize in Mitzvahs because they do amazing family pictures and amazing candid photos — that’s what you want.

2)  Know what factors affect a photographers rate.  There are a lot of options out there and lots of different price points: what’s the difference?  It’s about supply and demand. If a photographer is very popular and gets booked a lot on social events, they probably are at a higher price point because there are only 52 Saturdays a year.  Only you can decide how important the photographer’s popularity is to you, but remember:  The more experience a photographer has, the higher the rate is likely to be.   

3)  Understand what makes one photographer’s style different from another.  Every photographer has their own style, and knowing what those differences are will help narrow down your choices.  You can best see style differences in the way they pose people for portraits, their lighting style, their candid style. And remember, the photographer’s personality can make all the difference between photographers. Finding someone to help you navigate the difference is always helpful to the untrained eye.  However, in looking at photographers’ portfolios, sometimes there is just a feeling of being drawn to someone’s work — pay attention to that.

4)  Check to see who is recommended at your venue.  If someone is recommended at a venue, it means they have proven themselves time and time again.  This is important because there are no do-overs!  You want someone who does what they say they are going to do.  Getting a third-party endorsement is the best way to ensure that.

5)  Confirm that the rate includes a second photographer.  We usually recommend including a second shooter because many times there are two separate cocktail parties.  With two shooters, one person can concentrate on the kids and the other the adults.

6)  Weigh carefully whether you need proofs or not.  Most Mitzvah parents have done away with proofs a this point.  Digital is so accessible; the most important thing you’ll need to do with your images is pick your favorites for an album and for frames.  While paper proofs are available, you may want to save your money to put towards more images in the album.

7)  Said already but worth repeating: Be sure the photographer has shot a Mitzvah before!  There are many traditions and customs with a Mitzvah that are quite different than a wedding.  You’ll want to be sure the photographer understands these traditions and has experience photographing them.  You do not want to be instructing the photographer during your celebration.

8)  Arrange to meet the photographer before confirming the booking.  We strongly recommend this because it is the person you will be spending the day and/or evening with.  While the photographer will be in the background for much of the event, you want to make sure you relate to her, and that she will bring out the best in your family.  If someone bugs you for whatever reason, this will be reflected in the photos.

9)  If creativity and stylized photography is important to you, know where to look for it.  For a Mitzvah shooter, the creativity comes in the form of posing the family and Mitzvah honoree for portraits, how they use lighting, and how they compose their candid photos.  For us, bringing out the personality of your child is where the creativity is highlighted in each Mitzvah.  A successful photographer not only gets the must-have shots but also get the WOW shots!

10)  Get recommendations from people who have used the photographer you’re considering.  Any good photographer will be happy to let you chat with other clients.  Ask them to be honest in their feedback, and use it to help make your final decision.

Incorporating these tips into your search for a Mitzvah photographer will ensure you’re happy with photography on the day of the event and equally happy with the resulting photos.  Because we represent a number of different Mitzvah photographers, we’re sure to have the right shooter for your style and budget, and we’ll work with you every step of the way to ensure you find the perfect photographer for your special Mitzvah.


For ideas and venue suggestions, visit www.GreatPlacesDirectory.com.

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