Rodeph Shalom Bar Mitzvah
I recently had the privilege of photographing Seth’s Bar Mitzvah at Rodeph Sholom and Tampa River Center. As is always the case, the family was fantastic and Seth was a joy to work with. You know, writing these blog posts can be redundant after a few years because every one of these events is the same when it comes to my interaction with the family. I’ve never had a bad experience. Not even once. Every family I work with is always a delight and the kids are wonderful. Occasionally I get that rare Bar Mitzvah boy who’s just “over it” but it’s very rare. Seth was a joy to work with and I had a million questions for him because he’s actually a touring stage actor! He’s about to start a new tour in “A Christmas Story.” Being an old actor myself, I wanted to know all about what it’s like on the road!
We did temple portraits the week before the ceremony as is normally the case with most of the temples. Just the clergy and a few immediate family members.
As always, I’m only posting a few images in this blog post. I delivered over 400 images to the family but here I just post a few to tell the story of the day.
Tampa River Center Event
The Tampa River Center is a new venue and this was my first time working there. Wow… what a great venue. There’s great views of the city and the water and a huge outdoor wrap-around deck. Good luck trying to reserve this place because it is going to be very popular for years.
Real quick, let me talk a little about photography at the Tampa River Center. If you are planning an event there you will need to be extra vigilant in finding your event photographer for a couple of reasons. First off, half the walls in the main room are glass and this makes it much more difficult to photograph a wedding or Bar Mitzvah as the light in the room is constantly changing as the sun goes down. Second, and this is a little technical, the ceiling is wood and recessed which means that light won’t bounce off it the way it will in most venues. This means your photographer will need to set up some lights around the dance floor if you want good dance floor pictures. I know this is a bit technical but we photographers see a room different than everyone else does and if you don’t have a photographer who can see the problems and overcome them it will affect your images.
I thought I had seen every Bar Mitzvah game on the planet but no. This time there was a new one called “Ring of Fire.” They have the kids sit on chairs and lean back on the knees of the person behind them. If you do it right, you can then remove the chairs and no one falls! very cool!
One thing is for sure: When you have a theater kid giving a party, there’s gonna be a lot of great pictures because everyone is a performer!
It was another great night! I’ve had 3 upcoming Bar Mitzvahs postpone so far because of the virus but as soon as we get through this I’ll be back on the job. I expect that the back half of this year will be very busy because there will be the normal amount of events PLUS the ones that have moved so if you have an event coming up don’t delay in securing your vendors. :)
Last week was Imaging USA, a 5-day conference for photographers hosted by the Professional Photographers Association of America. The PPA is the largest photography association in the world with over 30,000 members and this year there were over 8000 people at the convention. It’s the highlight of my year because it’s busting with classes and inspiration as well as old friends, new friends and great parties!
This year I taught three classes in one day. It was the same class, “How To Light A Wedding,” and it takes place during “pre-con” which is the two days prior to the “big event” which lasts three days. Pre-con is more in-depth classes (some last all day or both days) and more hands-on. My classes were two hours each.
During the classes, I taught how to light the different situations you encounter during a wedding, from lighting a dance floor at the reception to lighting groups, and individual shots of the bride and groom. I even managed to squeeze in some more unique back-lighting stuff in the limited time we had.
So, the main reason for this blog post is so I can put the images online for my class. They saw them as I shot but it’s always nice to be able to look at them again later and see close-up what the lighting looked like in the final product. These images are a good selection of the different lighting challenges I set up for myself. They have been corrected in Bridge (Lightroom) but have not been hand-retouched (skin smoothing, cloning, artistic burn and dodge, etc), which is how I deliver images to my wedding clients. Hand-retouching is reserved for printed products and albums.
I’ve included some comments for my students to remind them of what was being demonstrated..
These first four images are examples of bounce flash. This is the sort of lighting I use during receptions. It’s fast and gives a good wash of light with no specular highlights and a little direction for depth and contrast.
More bounce flash here as I demonstrate how you can create directional light with the flash on your camera. Also, you can change your background light just by adjusting your shutter speed.
Now we move to off-camera lighting with one light in a softbox. I purposely picked this brick wall because it was small and next to the bathroom. I wanted to show that you don’t have to be trapped by a location that doesn’t seem to offer any scenery. Look around… you can always find something that works!
Now a few using off-camera lighting, including a group shot with students standing in as family.
These last three images are lit with a backlight behind the couple for dramatic effect. The final one has a backlight and my on-camera flash bounced to light the couple from the front.
When I teach photography around the country, I often get asked what lenses I use to shoot a wedding. You might be surprised to discover that I use the same three lenses to photograph everything I do. They have been called, “The Holy Trinity” of lenses because many photographers believe (as do I ) that these three lenses are all you need to cover just about any circumstance.
“The Wide Angle”
This was the last lens that I added to my kit and it’s often used more than the others at weddings. The perfect reception lenses because of it’s ability to capture the whole scene in tight quarters, it’s also the lens I would let go if I could only carry two lenses. It’s very specialized in it’s use but what it does it does so well!
This is the lens that gets used the most. It’s the first one you pick up and the one lens you would carry if you could only carry one lens. Canon’s most popular lens with wedding and event professionals.
“The Long White One”
The most expensive lens in the line-up and also the one that’s white. When you see photographers on the sidelines of a football game they always have these giant white lenses and it all starts with this one. I don’t know many canon professionals who don’t have this lens and I use it for weddings as well as headshots and portraits.
Check out the video at the top to see an explanation of when I use these lenses and how they affect my work!