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Ask A Pro: Choosing a mitzvah photographer comes down to style, personality and budget

Cleveland wedding photographer - Lindsey Beckwith


Lindsey Beckwith, Owner | Lindsey Beckwith Photography | Cleveland

What is the most important thing to get right?

From the client’s point of view, you need to make sure you like the photographer’s style. That is what you’re going to have in the end. Also, is it within your budget? Can you put up with this person for however many hours a day? It all comes down to those three things: style, personality and budget. The food will be eaten, the fancy clothes will be put away, but what is left is the pictures. You have to like them.

How can photography help capture the memory?

Photography is the only way to capture a memory. The photography can just zero in on those details. One little thing can help trigger a specific memory, which can bring back the whole thing in a way nothing else does. This is one of the few times a whole family is together, so getting these types of shots – both posed and candid – is important. It is about documenting the story of you.

How can photography be used in unique ways?

You need a photographer who can really just blend in and capture children being silly and themselves. A photographer that can connect with the kids is a good place to start. And at that age, they are still kids but there is also a little glimmer of the adults they’re going to be. So, it takes an unobtrusive approach and a discerning eye. You need a photographer that can interact with the parents but also one that sees the child as No. 1. That will produce unique photos in itself.

What is often overlooked?

I think people get too focused on the price. They think they can find a photographer that fits their budget and it will be fine. They need to pay attention (to whether) this is a professional and (whether) this is their full-time job and (they are) not just a weekend warrior. You get what you pay for. Also, a lot of people don’t think about copyrights. If I do a mitzvah, I will inevitably take beautiful pictures of the centerpieces. But, a lot of clients don’t realize they don’t own the photos and can’t distribute them to other vendors. Families are nice and they think an aspect (of the party) is awesome and want to pass a picture on, but it isn’t theirs to give.

What trends are you seeing?

I don’t pay a lot of attention to trends. I want the clients to be able to look back at the photos and it be timeless. The only thing out of style should be their hair and clothes. The way the photos are framed and produced should not be trendy. You want pictures to look realistic and natural.

When should parents start planning?

As soon as they book the venue. The instant they have the date, this should be the first thing they get. We fill up just like everyone else. Since photographers can only do one event a day or sometimes a weekend, you want to reach out quickly.

Why is photography a critical aspect of the celebration?

Because the human memory is faulty and photos bring everything back in ways that memories just can’t. This is an important part of one’s life and you want to keep that. It’s worth noting the reading of the Torah and being on the cusp of adulthood. Photos retain those moments. BM