I never realized the magnitude of the role our photography and video services play in planning a Mitzvah. I obviously understand the power of creating family heirlooms through our album design work, where portrait coverage at an event becomes a family photographic legacy… but there is so much more to it!! The first thing I did for the Bat Mitzvah was I dug up my husband’s and my own Bar and Bat Mitzvah albums to show Emily that we also went through this incredible “right of passage as Jews!” I was thrilled to see how far I have come as a professional in the photography business and how amazing the albums we create here at Sarah Merians Photography & Video Company are today!
As I mentioned in the very beginning stages of this blog article, rifling through old pictures for the creation of the video montage to be shown at the celebration can be an overwhelming project! Especially if your mom is a professional photographer! I feel this is actually one of the next steps to dive into in your photography journey. I will talk more about the montage later in this article.
Starting planning your event photography early on (I suggest a year before the event) will spark the excitement for the Mitzvah. It is a wonderful time to reflect on what a great child you have and you can actually show them, through your personal photographs, how grown up they have become! I found looking through photos of the first 12 years of my child’s life allowed for me to understand her hobbies and interests from very early on. It can help you and your family start to think about any theme or décor elements that you will want to bring to the event. For example, my daughter Emily has been baking with her father every Saturday night since she was little… while I was out shooting parties! I was surprised to find how many pictures I have of Emily as a chef and baking!
I will also be using these images around the room as décor for her party. Please check out more images in the DÉCOR section for how to use photography more creatively at the celebration! Emily’s middle name is Rose, therefore the cupcake logo with “purple rose icing” has become the design element for her party.
At our photography studio we offer a great video and still package that includes a lot. One of our offerings is a complimentary studio shoot so that you can meet your photographer as a family to start to capture new images of you and all and your children!
I suggest booking your photographer a year before the event so that your family can organize a time to get together for this shoot. Not only is it a great opportunity to start to plan for sign-in boards or sign-in books for the party, but it also can be the start of all the fun and excitement. I can’t wait to share my my daughter’s incredible sign-in book with you after her Bat Mitzvah celebration. She and I had so much fun with our pre-shoot and my designer Angela in creating our book!
Even though I am in the business and photograph daily, there is so much planning that goes into the Mitzvah that hiring your favorite photographer and getting some great images early on can be the perfect thing to check off your list to get the ball rolling. Your floral and décor company may want to utilize some of these images in their design elements as well.
The pre-party shoot that we offer as part of your package with new images of your child in their tennis, dance, basketball, skating, or skiing outfits can be used as props for centerpieces or large blow-ups around the party space! The pre-shoot could help with the inspiration and evolution of the event and creation of your child’s brand and logo that will be used as design elements at the party. I started mine rather late in the planning because we were the shoe maker without shoes of course! I am creative and was able to come up with Emily’s logo with her and then our florist took the design and ran with it, but you may need more creative help earlier on. This is why I have put this design element in the Photography section.
4/8/13 Here are three portfolios of pre-party shoots we have done over the past two years. One link below is of shoots on location for both boys and girls. The other two are studio shoots separated by boy and girl for you to be more selective in viewing with your child.
Check them out and share the images with your child for yet another motivation!
Stay tuned for more information about photography and all aspects of it from album design, wall framing, and desk framing to large photo art for your home and lots of other creative products we offer. I can share with you as I educate you on my personal and professional needs and experiences. Photography and video for your child’s Mitzvah are so important because at the end of the day, these are the memories (other than those in your mind) that you will have to cherish for generations to follow.
A special shout out to my team pictured below- Chris, Sheila, Tina, Pedro, and Liel who did a great job capturing everything at Emily’s party! Not pictured here are Davitte, Alex, and Mike! Love you guys! It was one of the hardest things to stand back and watch a photo session happen that I wasn’t shooting, but all of you made it so much easier! xo Sarah
Stay tuned for more great photos and tips, including info on my DJ, our florals & decor, and Emily’s cake!!
Hello to all my Mitzvah followers and fans! I’m so excited to be coming back to my Mitzvah Moms Journal to update you that I have now finished designing my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah album and it is just about on its way to the binder! I couldn’t wait to share it with you. Click on Emily’s Bat Mitzvah Album to see the design! Enjoy! If you want to create an heirloom with images from one of your special events, my studio and team are happy to help!
Tips and ideas for YOUR album:
1) Save a copy of your speeches for your son or daughter that we could then incorporate into your album. (Especially if you do not have a videographer at your party.) We can design a couple of cool spreads in the album that incorporate the speeches so that in years to come your son or daughter can re-read your thoughts and continue to feel as proud as you were on their special day.
Here is a sample of a speech spread in another client’s album. I wanted to show all of you an example that features different colors and design work so I have included this sample, which is not from my party, for you all to view!
2) Save an extra invitation that we can also use as a design element in the album along with any other printed materials from your Mitzvah that you had designed (i.e. escort table cards, table numbers, stamps, etc.)
It is customary, like in the album spread above, to give a speech or a toast at your child’s Mitzvah. Take a look at this collection of images of parent toasts and speeches. Of course, there are no real rules on how to plan a Mitzvah, so if you choose to not give a speech, that is fine as well.
There are many options for how to record messages and well wishes for your child from family and friends on the big day. You can provide a sign in board or a sign in book as just two of many ideas. I chose to design a book for my daughter because I had many images and wanted to create a piece that encompassed Emily growing up as well as utilizing our pre-party images.
I live in Manhattan and don’t have storage to put a sign-in board, plus I wanted Emily to have something she could take out and look at for years to come. I love her sign-in book and will be enclosing a link of it to share ideas and hopefully help you with your decision.
Below is the link to Emily’s designed sign in book! (Before all the guests signed, of course!)
In addition to Emily’s sign in-book, I’ve put together a portfolio of other sign-in books, boards and creative photo décor ideas here.
Most of our clients plan for a cocktail hour before their party begins. In addition to grabbing a drink and a plate of food and mingling with friends, your child and his/her friends can start to take advantage of any extra entertainment or games that you may have booked for your event. Take a look here for a great portfolio of cocktail hour images.
Before your party really gets started, it is time to introduce the Mitzvah boy/girl to the guests. Some families opt to plan for a grand entrance where the Mitzvah child’s name is called (along with family members). We have clients who coordinated this grand entrance to match the theme of the party and other clients who opted not to do a grand entrance at all. Listen to your child and what they feel would be best for them when making this decision. There are no hard and fast rules here. If you and your child do want to plan a grand entrance, take a look at some suggestions in our entrance portfoliohere.
Many Mitzvah parents partake in a couple of traditional Jewish rituals to kick off the celebratory festivities. First is the “Motzi” blessing over the bread (typically a challah) and second is the hora.
A hora is a traditional Israeli/Romanian dance that is usually done at celebrations like a Mitzvah. The Mitzvah child is lifted on a chair to the tune of Hava Nagila. The rest of the immediate family is also lifted in honor of this special occasion. Take a look at our Mitzvah Motzi gallery here and our Hora gallery here.
At your party, our team of photographers will always be on hand to capture all of those special moments. Our reception party candids gallery is below for you to peruse!
We are so proud to announce our new photo booth concept for Mitzvahs! Check it out at the link below! Guests receive take home prints at the party and you receive a photo flipbook and a video piece to help remember your child’s special day.