I always recommend for my clients to create a shot list for their photographer. The goal is not to micromanage your photographer, but rather to let them know what images are most important to you. Here’s how to do it right:
Know What’s Included
Be sure to read your contract carefully. Will your photographer be at the party the entire time or just the first few hours? Will you have a family portrait session in the sanctuary? When will that photo session be? Will you want special photos of just your child to use a decor at your party?
Know Your Photographer
When you selected your photographer, you should have looked at his or her portfolio. From there you’ll get a sense of the type of photos he or she takes. There are the “gimme shots”–posed photos of your family with the Torah in front of the ark, your child lifted up in a chair during the hora, relatives doing the challah blessing, a group shot of all of your child’s friends, etc. that you should always see in their portfolio. These are the shots that they don’t have to be reminded of unless you don’t see them in the portfolio or your photographer has no experience with Bar or Bat Mitzvahs.
Have a List of Family Groupings
Your photographer doesn’t know who the most important people to you are, so it’s always helpful to give them a list of the family groupings that you’d like captured. There are so few occasions when you have all of your family together in one place with a professional photographer, so take advantage of it! List the name of the people and their relationship to your child. For instance:
- Mitzvah child, sibling + paternal grandparents (Anita and Harry Rosenberg)
- Mitzvah child, sibling + aunt, uncle and cousins (Rona and Barry, Tracey and David Weiss)
- And so on
While it’s tempting to include a list of every possible combination (Mitzvah child alone with grandparents, Mitzvah child with sibling and grandparents, Mitzvah child nuclear family and grandparents…), keep in mind how much time you have for photos and be judicious. If these posed photos are happening during the cocktail hour and you want to attend the cocktail hour, talk this through with your photographer and Mitzvah planner and see what they realistically think you can get through.
Let Them Know The Important Details
Your photographer isn’t a mind reader. If there are details that are important to you, let them know! For instance, if you spent hours gluing teeny embellishments onto escort cards, you’ll probably want to let them know you want close ups. Are there sentimental details that you want to remember? Something like a tallit that every person in your family has worn for his or her Bar or Bat Mitzvah? Will you want photos of paper goods like invitations, menu cards or programs? If so, make sure you give a pristine version to your planner or photographer to make sure they get photographed.