And, as always, Graham & Graham's Top Ten Bar/Bat Mitzvah photos of 2008.
This was our best year ever, with more events, more new locales, and new ways of looking at the art of Bar/Bat Mitzvah photography.
In first place, we begin with Dimitri @ Leo Baeck Temple.
Sam Graham and Dimitri pushed the limits at a Bar Mitzvah/family portrait shoot, and (with further assist from Photoshop) came up with a memorable, iconic image that we used as this year's holiday card.
Samantha @ Wilshire Boulevard Temple' s Irmas campus.
Shortly before her Saturday morning Bat Mitzvah, we brought Samantha to the front door of the temple sanctuary, and made use of the natural light for a soft light portrait. It was made all the nicer for us with her comfy lean against the door. Against the torahs in the background, it just makes this a definitive Bat Mitzvah portrait. And you should hear the girl sing !
Lana @ Manhattan Beach's Congregation Tikvat Jacob
We've photographed at CTJ, our local hometown temple more than any other Los Angeles shul, but have never gotten a shot like this! In November we attended an incredible photo seminar by Doug Gordon, who encourages shooting portraits with little video lights instead of flash units. The idea is you'll get softer, less harsh light. We've been experimenting with video lights since, especially at CTJ, and love what we see, but this is our favorite.
We put the video light into an umbrella, turned off all the lights in the sanctuary, and this is what we got, a moody, reflective shot.
Sam @ Long Beach Renaissance Hotel
Okay, this photo is not arty, but it is THE iconic Bar/Bat Mitzvah party shot, and for good reason. Who can ever tire of seeing a kid up in a chair, hoisted by his parents and friends, having an absolute blast? The confetti just makes it that much better.
Sam had his Bar Mitzvah at the Long Beach Temple Israel. It was our first time there, and we look forward to returning in February for Emily's Bat Mitzvah.
Thomas @ Santa Monica's Beth Shir Sholom
Another classic, iconic shot we can never get enough of--Bar Mitzvah boy reading from the Torah, in a beautiful temple, dressed to the nines, with his talit refelecting in the glass.
Tyler @ CTJ in Manhattan Beach.
This shoot was special for a number of reasons. Manhattan Beach's CTJ is a conservative temple with strict, no-photography-during-services rules. Tyler is a special needs child who is autistic and doesn't use a lot of words. He had an afternoon service, which ended after sundown, so for the first time, at our pleading, CTJ let us document part of the service. We were honored to be there for this historic occasion. And so was Tyler, who seemed just absolutely thrilled with every moment of the big day. His enthusiasm was infectious on everyone.
Alex @ Temple Menorah of Redondo Beach
Redondo Beach's Temple Menorah is a large, beautiful building near Torrance, and it can be really dark inside, even with the lights we bring to photograph our portraits. This was our second time shooting at Menorah, and it was really, really hot inside this day. So after about a half-hour, we opened a side door to let some air in--and look at what came with it--beautiful, soft daylight. We brought Alex to the door with the torah, and let the natural light shine on her face. We loved the results so much, now we always look for the side door at all our temples!
Andy @ Orange County's Temple Beth Shalom
Bar Mitzvah boy in front of torahs, with our favorite Canon 70mm-200mm 2.8 lens. It's a classic, made all the better this day thanks to Andy's orange hair, juxtaposed against the orange hue of the torahs. This was our fifth shoot at our favorite Orange County shul, Temple Beth Shalom , and we look forward to returning in 2009.
Brandon @ Camp Hess Kramer
Look, we traveled to Israel to photograph a Bar Mitzvah!
Not quite, but it sure looks like it.
Not quite, but it sure looks like it.
Brandon and his family spent the weekend at Wilshire Boulevard Temple's Camp Hess Kramer in Malibu, where he went to the torah in the rustic chapel in the woods, and then partied in a big tent below.
It was an overcast day, so for this image, we put a flash unit on a light stand, bounced into an umbrella, to help the image pop.
Alex @ Temple Shalom of the South Bay, Manhattan Beach Marriott.
Who can beat an outdoor ceremony on a beautiful September day overlooking a lush green golf course? That's Alex at the Bima, with smiling Rabbi Lori from Hermosa Beach's Temple Shalom of the South Bay looking on. Temple Shalom travels to different venues each weekend for its B'nai Mitzvahs, and Alex's mom choose the wonderful Manhattan Beach Marriott (we're biased--it's five blocks from our home) for the event. On this day, with Alex singing up there, and smiling so, with the greenery of the trees and grass a magnificent backdrop, the M.B. Marriott never looked finer.