Interview with Photographer Jay Lawrence Goldman

How long have you been photographing Bar/Bat Mitzvahs?

Since Y2K.

What words would you use to describe your photographic style?

Contemporary, Creative, Artistic Visual Story Telling of Milestone Family Celebrations.

Is it weird that you are interviewing yourself?


What type of products to you suggest a client purchase?

An Album for sure. At least a 10″ x 10″. I prefer the 11″x14″or 12″ x 12″. My Album design is something that I have worked on for 2 decades. I create a book that tells the story of the day that will be handed down for generations.

What about prints?

Photography is not meant to stay on the cloud. It is a great place for a back up, but the best photos need to be printed. I love a family photo wall in a home. I grew up with one. Personally, prefer beautiful small frames. Small clusters of 6 x 9 and 8 x10 photos. You can move them around.

Are you a Proactive Photographer or a Reactive Photographer?

Great question. I am definitely 50-50. There are plenty of set up portraits in beautiful light that I find or create, but there are many, many candid moments that I capture throughout the day.

How do you deal with the organized chaos of these events?

This a prime example of where experience really matters. Documenting a Bar/Bar Mitzvah is not the same as photographing a wedding. Most likely there are many more young children and teens involved. There are multiple meaningful moments and traditions that need to be captured during a service. Camera angle and lens choice are critical in these moments.
There is a full cast of family and friends, clergy, a production team, set decorators, catering, security, and entertainment. Navigating through the event and cast and crew is best done in a calm and confident manner. My situational awareness at these events is extremely refined. I know when to back off or when to lean in. If through my experience I can help in a crisis, I will do what ever I can to make sure the event is a success. This comes from years of dedication to my craft and respect for the importance of this day for each individual family that I work with.

What if everyone late?

Many of my families are late to the photo session. Hopefully only around 30 minutes, but I have had times when the family was over an hour late for photos, leaving us 10 minutes at most before they have to meet with the Rabbi or Cantor. Photography plans for the event need to be adapted on the fly.
I have already visualized my photo set ups no matter when the family arrives, so I am able to skip or swap out some of my ideas to take a few photos and help to move the family comfortably into the actual torah service. I work 3 shots ahead. While I am interacting with the subject or shooting candids of a scene on one shot, I have the next 2 shots planned already planned out. If I will need a certain piece of strobe equipment or a specific lens for the next shot, that as already been set up, and I have dialed in the exposure in my head.

What if my child hates photos?

I can work with anyone. See My Number One Tip to read more.

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Pro Photographer in Los Angeles.