Extraordinary Days Require Exceptional Invitations
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Choosing a Photographer II

Personality

  • Is your photographer a nice fellow? Is she or he dressed nicely? A good photographer interacts well with the clients, blends with the guests and makes everyone laugh. That's what makes the picture come out great!

  • Photography is an art. Is your photographer an artist? Does she have a passion for photography? Does she do her work with excitement and creativity? Try to get an impression.

Time

  • Often clients complain about photographers leaving early and missing important happenings. You want someone you can trust to show up, be alert all through the evening and stay until everything is over.

Money

My Bar Mitzvah Album

  • It is hard to give a figure of a photographer's or videographer's price. It varies. It depends on the package you choose. These are some considerations that affect the price:

    • How many photographers will attend your simcha?
    • For how many hours will your photographers work for you?
    • How many shooting locations you will have (rehearsal, service, party, home, etc)?
    • Digital of film? Film is usually more expensive.
    • How many photos will be shot? The Doc's advice is to have more photos than you think you will need. You will have more to choose from with better chances of getting that special photo moment.
    • How many photo prints will you get? Which size? What is the cost of an additional print?
    • Do you get photo album? Which kind?
    • Who is the photographer? When you get a photographer with a presitgious name, you pay for the name.
    • Will the photographer come to the temple before the BM and take pictures there? Casual shots at the house? These are extras.
    • Does the price include a montage? A video?
    • Does the video include special effects? Titling & graphics? Interviews? How many hours of editing? How many DVDs you get?
  • Shop around, negotiate, and don't be shy

  • Are you on a tight budget? We all are! Here are some suggestions that could save you money:
    • The Doc saw beautiful works of photography made by photography students, and the cost was much lower. However, when you work with students be even stricter with examining demos and samples ahead.
    • Why won't you ask from a relative with a photography hobby or an old family friend to take the photos? It is an honor!
    • Use disposable cameras for the table shots

      . Easy, fun, inexpensive – it's nice to have one element of your BM guaranteed not to break the budget!

Video editing

Bat Mitzvah photo frame with Hebrew calligraphy
  • Ask who will do the video editing. You need a good professional to handle this task. Don't let them give the work to a high school kid with a software. Good editing makes a great video.

  • Would you like your video to include graphics? Special effects (slow-motion, B&W, transition effects, etc)? Or would you like minimal editing? Artistic? Something in between? Think about the style that you want and discuss it with the videographer.
  • A 3-4 minutes video montage of the entire BM day is a nice way to close the video.
  • To achieve best results, the Doc usually works on the footage with the video editor in the editing room. It may sound a little over the top, but it assures that the video will be treated with its own uniqueness and personal touch.
  • Ask the videographer also for the footage that did not make it into the edited version. One day you will enjoy so much doing a full length 5 hours BM party screening!

Hiring the photographer's videographer?

  • Often the photographer offers to have their videographer shooting the event, or the DJ to have their in-house photography team, and so on. Is this recommended?

  • Doctor Simcha does not have a strict principle here. It all depends on the qualities of those whose services are offered. The way you got to a professional – through another professional or independently – is less important. What is important is that they will be good professionals!
  • Sometimes photographers demand that you will book video with them too (or the videographer having a similar demand). Don’t compromise on quality and price. Videographer and photographer are two different professions. Keep yourself the freedom of picking a talented videographer. Consider also that it is important that both the videographer and photographer cooperate and not be in each other's way.

Contract

  • Sign a contract. Put in writing all the requirements that are important to you.

  • Some of the companies use contracts with funny clauses. Read well the contract and ask to fix it where it matters. It is your right.
  • Make clear in the contract the name of the photographer/videographer who will be working for you. It is not enough to book with a famous studio. They may send you one of their novice photographers and your pictures may reflect that.
  • Put a minimal advance down when you sign the contract.