Choosing a photographer for an event – such as a Bar/Bat Mitzvah or wedding – can feel like a daunting task, but choosing the right photographer can make your event special for a lifetime.
Brigitte Bardot once said, “A photograph can be an instant of life captured for eternity that will never cease looking back at you.”
Eternity is a long time, so you want to make sure that the decision of which photographer you hire for an important life cycle event is a good one. But there are many good photographers out there, so, how does one choose a photographer?
Start by getting a good reference from someone whom you know and trust, from your caterer, event planner or director of the venue. There are also many blogs that will have lists of questions to ask, things to consider such as budget, venue location, and style. While those lists are useful for helping you make the decision, the one question that is rarely mentioned is: how does the photographer photograph? Not what type of cameras do they use, but how do they photograph their subjects? Do they just observe their subjects from the outside, or do they jump into the action and photograph as a participant?
“You don’t just take a photograph, you make it.”
– Ansel Adams, pioneering American photographer
For Aviva Maller of Aviva Maller Photography in Stamford, CT, making photographs, rather than taking them, is her mantra when she is hired for her client’s wedding, Bar Mitzvah or Gala.
Fit is very important. Maller believes that photography is very personal; not all photographers are the same. “I believe that part of being a good photographer is being a part of the action. I try to get in not simply as an observer but become a participant, indistinguishable from the guests from the point of joy that emanates during the event.” Part of being a participant, Maller believes, is being sympathetic to the person being photographed. “I want to capture the emotion of the moment. I try to capture not just the person or merely document an event, but record the emotion of the person or people being photographed.”
And before you hire a photographer, consider that not all photographers see an event in the same way. As Maller noted, “What I [or any photographer] capture on film is different from what others see.” In other words, each photographer brings his or her own perspective to the finished product.
In addition to candid shots throughout an event, Maller likes to get familiar with the clients through a rehearsal photo-shoot. “I like to set up a rehearsal for the photographs and take pictures throughout the rehearsal,” says Aviva. She believes that this allows the clients to relax a bit before the big day and shots, both casual and formal, can be taken without guests in the background.
Sharing photographs has dramatically changed over the last few years with the advent of new technology. Email and social media have provided new options to share photographs with friends and family instantly. But seeing and sharing over the internet is just one aspect of the changes that are occurring: there are more affordable options than ever before. With easy-to-use programs available online such as Snapfish (www.snapfish.com), and Shutterfly (www.shutterfly.com), people can now create their own tabletop books, instead of the pricy traditional leather bound books that you used to wait months to receive.
But regardless of whom you choose, a professional photographer is still an important addition to any event. “I had one client who came up to me during an event, ‘You are doing very, very important work. Years from now, I will have these pictures to preserve my most precious memories.’”
“Most things in life are moments of pleasure and a lifetime of embarrassment; photography is a moment of embarrassment and a lifetime of pleasure.”
-Tony Benn, member of British Parliament
For more information about Aviva Maller, please visit her website or Aviva Maller Photography, 60 Mac Arthur Lane Stamford, CT 06902. Contact: 203-554-6758, firstname.lastname@example.org