Sunday, May 29, 2011

A High-Tech Bar Mitzvah

Yesterday was another Bar Mitzvah here in the South Bay Area. It started like so many others, with individual portrait shots and family pictures. But, it did not take long to figure out that this family is not like most others. They like to let loose and have fun. Both kids are truly unique and they fully embrace their independence. 

This is one of the more "typical family portraits" from the morning.

I was taking pictures of Max reading from the Torah and then he showed me his special yad (pointer). I focused on the Hebrew words and Max added the personality in the background.

As I mentioned, there is no shortage of personality in this family. Towards the end of the service, Max turned towards his friends and family and gave them a wave. Love that!

I am always looking around me when I am shooting an event. At one point, I turned towards the back of the synagogue and saw this father and son who were trying to stay quiet in the foyer of the Temple. The little guy (Josh) had his nose pressed against the glass and I was able to fire off a couple of shots to capture this moment. You just have to love little kids!

Most 13 year old kids choose to have sports themes or Hollywood themes for their parties, but since Max is a total techie (and even runs his own technology blog - "Good Morning Geek"), he chose technology as his theme for last nights party. Each of the centerpieces incorporated old technology parts and a silicon valley company name.
Standard place cards? Nope - not at this party. They created CD's for each person (and they even had some for Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg who rudely did not show up).

At the entrance to the party, they had a wall of colorful balloons and all I could think of was, "wow - what a killer place to take portraits of the kids." Setting the camera to a wide aperture between f1.4 and f2.0, I was able to diffuse the background and create a really dynamic setting for the kids.

One of the DJs had an amazing afro (and yes I am jealous). I reached the camera high above him and shot this image of the MC working his magic, with the afro in the foreground. Yeah - I crack myself up. :)

The hora "traditional Jewish dance" is a big deal at the party. I love capturing the great expressions on the kids when they get lifted in the chair. I was not disappointed last night.

Both son and father embraced this to the fullest!

Later in the evening, it was time for the family to surprise Max with a montage of images and video of his first 13 years. (Photographers note: This is a perfect time to capture images of the family without them knowing that they are on camera. Even though the family had never seen the montage, because it was put together by another family member, I had watched it in advance to determine key moments that might draw the best reactions from the family. Use a fast lens and key in on each of the family members as their attention is on the screen, and not you.)

I am not sure if this little boy decked himself out in all this paraphernalia or if he was outfitted by some of the other kids, but I could not pass up this shot. Did I mention that I love photographing kids being kids? :)

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