Saturday, January 30, 2010

This Is Halle - And This Is Her Bat Mitzvah!

How did I come to be here? Well, my wife and I were heading down to California to visit family. Prior to going, my wife's uncle asked me if I’d like to help him shoot some “portraits” for one of his friends. Sure, I said, no problem. Once I got there I found out that we would actually be shooting Halle’s Bat Mitzvah. I’ve never been to a Bat Mitzvah before; it sounded like fun!

Halle and her family were awesome! Halle loved the camera and the camera loved her, too, not to mention her little sister, brother, cousins etc.

Now, I'm not Jewish so this was quite a new experience for me. I learned that what we were shooting was the full dress rehearsal on the day before Halle’s Bat Mitzvah ceremony as cameras are not allowed in the synagogue during the actual service. This was a good thing because we pretty much had unfettered access to shoot as much as we wanted throughout the rehearsal.

The Rabbi was fantastic and made sure that we got the most out of shooting. He kept reminding everyone that this was the only time for photos so remember to make it look like the real thing. He was also extremely helpful in pointing out the best vantage points for certain parts of the ceremony (I suspect this wasn't his first Bat Mitzvah).

Overall, this was a great experience. I got some good shots and some not so good shots, but I also learned a lot about what works in these situations and what doesn't.

Oh yeah, one of the best parts - I have a chance to do this again in 2 years for Halle’s sister’s Bat Mitzvah! So Mari, if you’re reading this, have your people call my people and let’s see if we can work out the details.

Okay here’s the techie stuff... Things moved pretty fast, so now I understand what a "run & gun" situation is like. I tried to keep things simple by shooting in manual so I could make adjustments on the fly. Shot with a Nikon D300 and 24-70mm f2.8, wide shots used the 10-24mm f3.5-4.5 and I used an SB900 attached to the hot shoe in rear sync mode.  

Below are my favourites; hope you enjoy!


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