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Mitzvahs

Sarah Merians

Mitzvah Photographer and Mitzvah Mom Too!

Mitzvahs are my FAVORITE!! Having photographed hundreds of Bar, Bat and B’nai Mitzvahs – then going through the experience myself with my own daughter Emily – has given me a unique understanding of this incredible milestone event. I bring my intimate knowledge of this special process, along with my intense love for all thing’s “family”, to every Mitzvah I capture. My photography style is passionate, affectionate, and warm, which allows me to be patient and loving with grandparents, parents, siblings, etc. and to work successfully within the family dynamic. I love growing with families as they return for their second, third and fourth mitzvahs and genuinely share in their excitement!

Some Thoughts

The Mitzvah service is probably the first time your child will stand up in front of the congregation, family and friends in a formal public setting.  After months of hard work, studying and preparing their Torah portion, your child certainly deserves a celebration to acknowledge this huge accomplishment!  You will see that it will be one of life’s proudest moments - I remember smiling so much my face hurt!  I was so proud of my daughter, and so grateful to our friends and family for being there to support and applaud her.  It should not be overlooked that the Mitzvah celebration is meaningful to your guests as well, particularly family members such as grandparents, aunts/uncles and cousins.  It is not every day that your entire family gets dressed up and gathers for a happy occasion!   Don’t miss the opportunity to capture and memorialize it.

Pre-Party Shoots

A casual life-style shoot before your Mitzvah is a great opportunity for families to come together and acknowledge that this is a special time in their lives.   It is also the beginning of the photography process!   It is a great time to test hair and make up for the big day, as well as to have fun with your photographer and get to know each other.  These shoots can take place in our studio or on-location if it works more for the décor at the party.   For instance, a NYC themed party may want to do their pre-shoot on the streets of NYC with yellow taxis or graffiti art.   These images then become part of the photo décor at the celebration.  Girls tend to be a bit more interested in the pre shoots as they love different clothing fashions and outfits.   Boys will often bring hobbies or sports clothing and props.  It is OK to not have any props but merely use this opportunity to be in front of a camera and work with a professional photographer sometimes for the first time.

Temple Shoot

Many temples and Synagogues do not allow photography or video coverage during the actual service as it is Shabbat.  We often will come to your temple the week of the Mitzvah to capture family and Beema photos before your dress rehearsal with the Rabbi or Cantor.  We love capturing the beauty of the space as well as capturing religious traditions and key moments of the service that we would not otherwise be able to get.  It is on the weekday that we can take out the Torah for photo ops with your child and family.  Some children have never even held a Torah before, and it is a great opportunity to practice this!!!   Should clients have a Saturday night celebration, their clothing will be party clothing and not temple outfits.  It is great to capture family portraits both times and continue to practice feeling comfortable in front of the camera.

Party

We just love Mitzvah parties as they are young, energetic and fun parties where all generations come together to celebrate their Mitzvah child with family and friends.  The flow of the day is structured to have family portraits an hour or two before the Invitation and/or cocktail hour.  This will allow everyone to look their freshest (not having hugged and kissed 200 guests) as well as create a timing for the day that allows you and your child to enjoy every moment of the event.  We will allow time before the event to capture all the beautiful décor and unique details that make your event special for you and your child.  When we cover the party, we shoot candid’s documentary style allowing the moments to happen as opposed to setting them up or creating them. This is what is so great about social events. There is so much action and love in the room for us to capture.  We love all the high energy on the dance floor and use many different lenses to capture all the events throughout the day or night.  Long lenses are used to photograph parent speeches so we can be far away (like a fly on the wall) capturing action and reaction without interrupting these powerful and proud moments.

Photo Albums

There are so many photographers out there…but what separates us from the pack is not just our high-quality digital capture, but what we do with your images after!   We believe in working hands on with our clients to design and create the most incredible album and family heirloom for you and your family to enjoy for generations to come.  After your party we help you to select the best images that tell the story of your day – which we then retouch and color correct so that you look your very best!   Our designed layouts are creative and modern, and we incorporate details from your décor, logo and color scheme throughout to make the book custom to you and representative of your unique event.  We have a variety of album cover options ranging from Italian leather and faux skins to acrylic covers fused with metallic photos. But we don’t stop there!  We believe in adding meaning and value to your album by incorporating text from parent and sibling speeches and even your child’s D’Var Torah portion, which we insert amongst photos to tell your story.  Your child, and their children, will be able to read your advice and praise for years to come! Our unique albums capture the spirit of your child and your celebration – The album is where we will really shine for you!

Our Team

Experience, professionalism and attention to detail.

We are THRILLED with how the video came together! We can’t watch it enough! Thank you!

Karen Bar Mitzvah mom

“The bat mitzvah was wonderful and we absolutely LOVE Sarah. She is fantastic and having her there was a dream. We were so entranced by and confident in her picture taking ability that we didn’t even take any photos on our phone! Can’t wait to see what you send!”

Kerry Bat mitzvah mom AND Sarah Merians bride!

“The photos are amazing! Will be very difficult to choose (for the album) - Sarah was amazing!

Stephanie Bar Mitzvah mom

I can’t thank you enough. The whole day was perfect from beginning to end and I could not have been happier. People thought the photos you took of Steph on the walls were beautiful”

Lisa Seidman Mitzvah mom and event planner

I cannot tell you how happy we are that we chose you to help us capture this milestone in our lives! Liel was absolutely perfect! He did such a fabulous job getting every shot quickly and seamlessly...he was so skilled in his set up and composition...He was kind and unintrusive. He was professional and respectful and extremely hard working all day and night! Thank you and A++ for Liel and the Sarah Merians team!!

Leah Bat mitzvah mom

Our Work

Browse our team’s portfolios and find inspiration for telling your story.

Ben – Central Synagogue

Devin – The Ziegfeld Theater

Ethan – Steven Wise, The Edison Ballroom

Harrison – Temple Israel NYC, Citi Field

Isaac – Steven Wise, Current

Lexie – Park Avenue Synagogue, Tribeca 360

Mackenzie – Montammy Country Club

Matthew – Steven Wise, Pier 60

Sophie - Current

Sydney – Rodeph Shalom, Tribeca Rooftop

William - Rodeph Shalom, Ascent Lounge

Pre-Party Shoots

Video

Lights, camera, action!
Why not be the star of your very own movie of one of the best moments in your life?

Video coverage will allow you to not miss a moment of your celebration. Hiring a professional videographer will guarantee it! We are often asked “Do I really need video if I have photography?” Photographs are a moment frozen in time that elicits feelings and emotion while video is pure entertainment and action and a very different capture. We feel it is a must if your budget will allow for video too. The band and entertainment and live music at your party is so important…why not relive all the action, music and live fun from your big day? It is also a wonderful opportunity to hear your family and friends give toasts and well wishes which through video can be documented for generations to come!

Video footage can be RAW or edited to music selections of your choice. Once edited we can create a 3-5-minute recap piece to share with all your guests and relive the party all over with them! This highlight reel can be part of your “thank you” to all and make them feel so special to be a part of your once in a life time day.

Carson

All Packages Include:

Photography packages start at $2,900

Up to 8 hours - Photographer + lighting assistant

Online viewing gallery of all images form which all high-resolution digital files may be download.

Popular Package Add-ons:

  • On-Location Lifestyle Shoot prior to Mitzvah: $950
  • Weekday Temple Shoot: $950
  • Custom Designed Leather-Bound Album (50 pictures): $1,500

Ready? Let's Talk!

Our team is excited to speak with you about your big day. Send us your details to start the conversation!

Contact Us

Tell us about yourself and share any details about your big day with the form below.
You can also call us directly at 212.633.0502
or send us an email at [email protected]

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