A Fish Out of Water Learns to Breathe

I was recently hired to shoot a bar mitzvah. At first I was terrified… endless hours of photography where I’m forced to use my worst nightmare: on camera flash. All creative elements are going to be stripped from me… I’m going to be stuck taking mediocre photographs with bad lighting of lots of kids doing the cha-cha-slide.

But then I realized that this wasn’t going to be all bad. It took me a moment to get over my initial fears, but then I was able to embrace the challenge and opportunity to capture a once in a lifetime event. Yesterday, I met the 13 year old water polo enthusiast and his parents at the beach to do his portraits for the temple newsletter and signboard. I was put back in my element: portraiture. After patiently posing on his own, his parents jumped in for a little last minute embarrassment.

As comfortable as I am and as much as I love doing portraiture, I now can’t wait to shoot his bar mitzvah ceremony and party.

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4 thoughts on “A Fish Out of Water Learns to Breathe

  1. You have a great eye for portraits – that’s a photographic talent I envy. I think I take good shots of the world and its details, but I’ve never been comfy shooting people. They’re lucky to have you to capture this special celebration.

      • I’ll admit that I have imparted this ability to “see” to others from time to time, but I’m not sure exactly how. I think it’s a conscious slowing down in your mind and in your eye and really seeing instead of just looking at your surroundings. It reminds me of one of those incredibly frustrating thins where you look at the picture in a certain way and you can see things inside the design – do you know what I’m talking about? I’ve never been able to see anything in those pictures, but I see all the tiny things in the outside world as if my eye is a lens. So, we trade tips – how do you get people to look natural? And how do I get over my shyness about approaching someone to take their picture?

      • Thanks for the advice. For people: At first, I was nervous shooting people, but once I realized that my job was to make them comfortable… I focused on that rather than what I was feeling. If there are multiple people, ask them to think about a funny memory, inside joke, etc. to get them to relax and laugh. And keep you camera ready at any moment, and shoot a lot because something the pictures that you don’t expect are sometimes the most compelling.

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