Connecticut photographer, Connecticut Bar Mitzvah photographer, Hamden Bat Mitzvah photographer
Congratulations on your child’s upcoming milestone! I have photographed many Bar and Bat Mitzvahs at many venues. I have compiled a short list of questions to ask the synagogue that will help you plan your mitzvah photography. It’s important for you to decide how you will remember this event – and photography is a big part of that! But not all synagogues allow photography. Read below for more!
Questions to ask the synagogue:
DO YOU ALLOW PHOTOGRAPHY DURING THE SERVICE?
Some synagogues do and some do not. There are also some slight variations: a few synagogues that I’ve photographed in do not allow photography during the ceremony, but DO allow photography at the very end of the service, once the challah is blessed. This can be a really festive portion of the day. It may be worth having your photographer arrive in time for it.
IF PHOTOGRAPHY DURING THE SERVICE IS ALLOWED, WHAT ARE THE RESTRICTIONS?
At Congregation Mishkan Israel, photography is allowed, but the photographer is restricted to the balcony. This actually works wonderfully well! I have a great overhead view of the service, and I’m not worried about intruding. I have a 200mm zoom lens that allows me to take close-ups. It’s a win-win!
IF PHOTOGRAPHY DURING THE SERVICE IS NOT ALLOWED, CAN WE TAKE PHOTOS BEFORE/AFTER?
I have often taken family photographs in the synagogue before or after the service. This is a good solution if photography is not allowed during the service. Your child will want to remember what the inside of their childhood synagogue looked like! It can also be special to take photographs of your child holding or reading from the Torah. Ask the rabbi and cantor if this can be arranged – sometimes, they need to take it out for you. In my experience, they are usually happy to do so.
IS THERE A WAY TO VIDEO RECORD THE EVENT?
Some synagogues have a static camera set up to passively record your event. If photography isn’t allowed – or even if it is! – this can be a great way to remember the service. You may need to specifically ask for the service to be recorded, so find out ahead of time!
CAN WE TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS WITH THE RABBI AND CANTOR?
The rabbi and cantor have spent many hours preparing your child and are likely important in their lives. Yet it is easy to forget to photograph your child with them. Ask the rabbi and cantor if you can arrange a time for a photo of them with your child. They will likely be honored that you asked!
Questions to ask yourself:
WHAT IS THE WAY WE WILL REMEMBER THIS DAY?
In my family, flipping through photo books is how we remember significant events. I love how everyone brings up details they remember as we look at each spread. And what we each remember isn’t always the same. For you, it may be watching the full service (though I have yet to find someone who has done this!). Or, it may be watching a slideshow of images from the day on your computer, or projected to the TV. Think about how you want to remember this milestone, and plan ahead to make sure you capture it accordingly.
I hope these questions to ask the synagogue about mitzvah photography have been helpful. If you have follow-up questions for me, contact me – I’m here to help!