Monday, March 14, 2011

A really fun Bar Mitzvah and party

Yesterday was another good long day of shooting, as I started photographing at the Temple at 9am and then ended at 1:30pm. I arrived back home and then edited images for an evening slide show, with just enough time to get to the JCC in Palo Alto to shoot the party, which ended at 10:30pm. Combine that long day with day light savings time and I am really tired today. But, it was well worth it. We had a great time celebrating Michael's big day.

I love shooting images at Temple Beth Am in Los Altos, CA because the colors inside the Temple are just amazing. As I have been doing lately, I used the new Sigma 85mm 1.4 lens (wide open) to get this nice shot of Michael at the bema. (Photographers note: Using a wide aperture really helps to separate the child from the background, and in this case, really draws the eye right to him and away from everything else.)

Also, during the service, I like to break out the 15mm fish eye lens to capture the entire synagogue from the back of the room. 

This is one of my favorite images from the service. Michael was carrying the Torah behind the other Bar Mitzvah boy and I wanted to key in on "my family" (since the other family had their own photographer). I put the focal point right on Michael's face (keeping the camera in AI Servo focus) and tracked him as he came towards me. What really makes this shot is the sunlight highlighting his face, drawing the attention right to him. Part good planning and part good luck!

And then it was time to party... They had their evening party at the JCC in Palo Alto, CA. I had never photographed there before, but really enjoyed the venue. This was one of my favorite shots from the party. mostly because of everyone's expressions. (Photographers note: Because my flash was closer to the people in the foreground, they were a little too bright, drawing undue attention to them. So, in Photoshop CS5, I darkened the people at the bottom of the image to draw the viewers attention to the people on stage (which included Michael).

Not all venues have a place for a photographer to shoot from above. But, this particular location did, and I found it in advance and planned on getting some shots from up high looking down at the festivities. As luck would have it, I ran up there right as they were starting a conga line. Fun stuff!

Shooting with the Canon 50mm 1.4 lens and keeping the aperture to f2, I grabbed this shot of Michael dressed up in some of the DJ's props. I really like the genuine smile on his face. Nothing forced in this image. (Photographers note: Like the image of the dancers on stage, I darkened the boy in the foreground to draw more attention to my subject.)

To me, this photo says it all. You can see the love and admiration that the parent's have for their son. I shot some images of just the parents and then realized that the best shot would be from behind Michael. So, I moved behind him and focused on his parents (using a 70-200 2.8 lens wide open) blurring him but keeping his parents tack sharp. The key to successfully shooting a Bar or Bat Mitzvah is to tell the story of the entire day. This shot helped me sum it all up!

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