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Elizabeth Beskin

10 Tips for Hiring the Perfect Mitzvah Photographer

April 17th, 2014 by | Share Blog

009-mitzvah portraitsHiring a Bar/Bat Mitzvah photographer is different from hiring a wedding photographer. These images aren’t just a portrayal of something that you have dreamed about your whole life, but more so a representation of your family as it is today. ¬† Still, you want that representation to bring out the personality of each family member, to preserve this special moment in your family life.¬† You want to feel proud when you look at these images in 30 years! Here are 10 tips to help you focus your thoughts and create your game plan when you’re ready to hire a Mitzvah shooter. 0038

1)¬† Be sure the photographer loves children! ¬†This is one of the most important distinctions for your Mitzvah photographer. Don’t hire a wedding photographer who is available for your date, because there are many unique elements to shooting a Mitzvah that a wedding photographer may not be aware of.¬† There are a lot of kids at these events and you don‚Äôt want someone who captures the happenings from afar, but rather embraces the whole tradition.¬† We have specific photographers that specialize in Mitzvahs because they do amazing family pictures and amazing candid photos — that‚Äôs what you want.

2) ¬†Know what factors affect a photographers rate.¬† There are a lot of options out there and lots of different price points: what’s the difference?¬† It’s about supply and demand. If a photographer is very popular and gets booked a lot on social events, they probably are at a higher price point because there are only 52 Saturdays a year. ¬†Only you can decide how important the photographer’s popularity is to you, but remember: ¬†The more experience a photographer has, the higher the rate is likely to be.¬†¬†AMY_019_DSC0250 ¬†

3)¬† Understand what makes one photographer’s style different from another.¬† Every photographer has their own style, and knowing what those differences are will help narrow down your choices.¬† You can best see style differences in the way they pose people for portraits, their lighting style, their candid style. And remember, the photographer’s personality can make all the difference between photographers. Finding someone to help you navigate the difference is always helpful to the untrained eye.¬† However, in looking at photographers’ portfolios, sometimes there is just a feeling of being drawn to someone’s work — pay attention to that.

4)  Check to see who is recommended at your venue.  If someone is recommended at a venue, it means they have proven themselves time and time again.  This is important because there are no do-overs!  You want someone who does what they say they are going to do.  Getting a third-party endorsement is the best way to ensure that.

5)  Confirm that the rate includes a second photographer.  We usually recommend including a second shooter because many times there are two separate cocktail parties.  With two shooters, one person can concentrate on the kids and the other the adults.

6) ¬†Weigh carefully whether you need proofs or not.¬† Most Mitzvah parents have done away with proofs a this point.¬† Digital is so accessible; the most important thing you’ll need to do with your images is pick your favorites for an album and for frames.¬† While paper proofs are available, you may want to save your money to put towards more images in the album.

7)¬† Said already but worth repeating: Be sure the photographer has shot a Mitzvah before! ¬†There are many traditions and customs with a Mitzvah that are quite different than a wedding.¬† You’ll want to be sure the photographer understands these traditions and has experience¬†photographing them.¬† You do not want to be instructing the photographer during your celebration.

8)  Arrange to meet the photographer before confirming the booking.  We strongly recommend this because it is the person you will be spending the day and/or evening with.  While the photographer will be in the background for much of the event, you want to make sure you relate to her, and that she will bring out the best in your family.  If someone bugs you for whatever reason, this will be reflected in the photos.

9)  If creativity and stylized photography is important to you, know where to look for it.  For a Mitzvah shooter, the creativity comes in the form of posing the family and Mitzvah honoree for portraits, how they use lighting, and how they compose their candid photos.  For us, bringing out the personality of your child is where the creativity is highlighted in each Mitzvah.  A successful photographer not only gets the must-have shots but also get the WOW shots!

10) ¬†Get recommendations from people who have used the photographer you’re considering.¬† Any good photographer will be happy to let you chat with other clients.¬† Ask them to be honest in their feedback, and use it to help make your final decision.

Incorporating these tips into your search for a Mitzvah photographer will ensure you’re happy with photography on the day of the event and equally happy with the resulting photos.¬† Because we represent a number of different Mitzvah photographers, we’re sure to have the right shooter for your style and budget, and we’ll work with you every step of the way to ensure you find the perfect photographer for your special Mitzvah.

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Beth Baynum

Spring smiles back in the heart of Soho

April 3rd, 2014 by | Share Blog

One of our most treasured and talented 5th Avenue Digital photographers, Kari Otero, recently covered an event for the French Culinary Institute, and she recounts her experience here:

5th Avenue Digital PhotographerIt looks as though Spring in New York has finally arrived and this is the season for events to shine. Social butterflies are spreading their wings and enjoying everything big or small as long as a cocktail is involved. Photographers are excited to capture the details, smiles are contagious so we make our way through the bustling crowds loving every minute of the best job on earth.

I wanted to share a few highlights from one of my new favorite venues nestled in the heart of Soho with exclusive catering by¬†FCI Catering and Events. ‚ÄúThe Studio‚ÄĚ looks and feels like your own private loft space,¬†ready to be transformed for any unique occasion, I‚Äôm thinking of the ULTIMATE dinner party.¬†With it‚Äôs ability to partner with the International Culinary Center, the most¬†exquisite food streams from their kitchen, edible art in the making.¬†From freshly made¬†macaroons¬†to mozzarella making on site to giveaways that linger with a hint of thyme, I can‚Äôt wait to see what this team cooks up next. I was lucky enough to cover two events this last month and experience what makes this beautifully crafted operation so special. ¬†If you receive an invitation to their next soiree, GO!! ¬†Cakes by Ron Ben-Isreal, enough said!

2014-04-01_00022014-04-01_00032014-04-01_00112014-04-01_0001 Read the rest of this entry »

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Beth Baynum

Promoting Tourism: Photos Tell the Story

March 14th, 2014 by | Share Blog

20140227-BJ-0056Tourism promotion is serious business, and lots of event marketing dollars go towards attracting travel professionals. In this tightly competitive industry, drawing the right audience is key, and the way to do that is through a stellar event.

When you see it done right, it’s magical. But to actually see it requires photography, and the quality of the photography has to match the caliber of the event.

The promotional event produced by Immedia PR for the Canadian Tourism Commission perfectly illustrates this principle. They selected the ideal upscale venue to bring in the travel specialists they wanted to target: Per Se in the Time Warner Center. They offered spectacular food and an engaging program, punctuated with beautiful, high-quality collateral materials and swag to take home. Read the rest of this entry »

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Elizabeth Beskin

Fresh Trends for Wedding Albums – A Break from the Traditional

March 7th, 2014 by | Share Blog

Bel Air album font 5th Avenue Digital has been producing photo albums for years, with very few changes to the styles and formats available from the manufacturers.  But over the past few years, new print technology innovations have yielded major changes in the variety of options now available for wedding albums.

Gone are the days when the only option was an oversized, plain leather bound album.¬† Now we can offer something unique for every taste and budget. It has never been easier to color-correct, crop and edit images with the technology that now exists, which allows us to get really creative.¬† This encourages couples to include more d√©cor shots and fine detail shots (like shoes, menus, flowers and room shots), and many more candids than ever before.¬†styles and formats available from the manufacturers.¬† But over the past few years, new print technology innovations have yielded major changes in the variety of options now available for wedding albums.¬† Read the rest of this entry »

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Elizabeth Beskin

Boudoir is Officially Better than Chocolate

March 5th, 2014 by | Share Blog


The rush of Valentine’s Day is over but here at 5th Avenue Digital we are still basking in the glow of our Boudoir events and just how empowering these sessions can be. Boudoir parties and individual clients alike, they all walked away with beautiful gifts for themselves and their Valentines.


Most clients plan these gifts as a surprise for their special someone, so the real fun comes during the unveiling of their favorite pictures.  Some put together small photo books that tell a story with their favorites and others choose a single image to frame.  Here are a few real reactions from some of the men who received their one-of-a-kind gift:




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Beth Baynum

Retro Green Screen Photography Brings History to Life

February 3rd, 2014 by | Share Blog

Green Screen Photography The New York Historical Society recently held their annual Family Day, and like last year they made Green Screen photography a big part of the event. We must applaud Liz Stern and her team at the Society: they really know how to utilize the Green Screen technology to maximum effect. They use paintings and photographs from their archives for the Green Screen backgrounds combined with historical costumes, to create historical vignettes that really came alive. Read the rest of this entry »

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Adrienne Hays

Duke Won THE GAME — And Nick Won THE GIRL!

January 30th, 2014 by | Share Blog

5th Avenue Digital Engagement PhotographyNick Giglio, wanted a unique proposal to his girlfriend Meghan. ¬†And for those of you who don‚Äôt know, Giglio means ‚Äúlily‚ÄĚ in Italian ‚Äďwhich will come into play later.¬† Nick contacted ¬†5th Avenue Digital with intentions of hiring a ‚Äúsurprise‚ÄĚ photographer to shoot his engagement proposal to his girlfriend.¬† This is a popular request and we have shot a number of these types of proposals around the city and in Brooklyn, and they’ve all said ‚ÄúYES!‚ÄĚ

Nick had a few specific requests.¬† He wanted an arrangement of flowers including white lilies (tying-in with his last name), and the colors of the flowers had to be blue and white ‚Äď Duke‚Äôs team colors. (Side note: It is not easy to procure blue flowers!)¬† He has been a Duke fan forever, and he thought Meghan would never suspect the proposal to happen before the basketball game. He even wanted to buy the photographer a ticket to the game so she could get a few shots inside Madison Square Garden.¬† So 5th Avenue Digital came to the rescue and got approval from the stadium to allow camera equipment access for this special occasion. Read the rest of this entry »

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Elizabeth Beskin

Valentine’s Day (The perfect reason to love Boudoir Photography)

January 22nd, 2014 by | Share Blog

Boudoir Photography by Kari Otero Valentine‚Äôs Day is fast approaching and in a city of 8 million, let‚Äôs face it, you have many opportunities to be struck by cupid’s arrow! It is the most romantic day of the year and the perfect moment to shower your Valentine with tokens of love. For many this will be chocolate, roses or sharing a bottle of bubbly, but Boudoir Photography is catching fire and securing a spot as one of the most intimate gifts one can give.¬† The Boudoir Experience can empower women any day of the week but here are our top ten reasons why it‚Äôs the ultimate gift to give this and every Valentine‚Äôs Day.

1. New Year, New You

January is the time for making resolutions, stepping into the New Year refreshed and ready to conquer new goals.¬† The Boudoir Experience will add that extra dose of confidence to your new routine –and your Valentine won‚Äôt be the only one to notice the extra bounce in your step.

2. You Said ‚ÄúYes‚ÄĚ

Recently engaged? Congratulations, now you have two amazing reasons to give your love a gift as romantic as the proposal.¬† The groomsmen gift is the perfect way to ignite passion from the beginning. Give them a keepsake that reminds them just how lucky they are long after the session is over.¬† Bridal Boudoir instantly adds a few more props to your list of options; the veil, the shoes, the panties embroidered ‚ÄúI Do” and the ring!¬† Create some old Hollywood glamour or channel Marilyn Monroe in¬†Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend.

3. Game On

While most men are securing their spot to watch the Super Bowl here in New York, you are creating the perfect game plan just in time for Valentine‚Äôs Day.¬† We love it when our clients keep their experience a secret from that special someone. Steal his favorite button down shirt or priceless football jersey and leave the rest up to us. Touchdown. Read the rest of this entry »

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Elizabeth Beskin

Tips for Fabulous Family Photos – by Jen DelCastillo

January 17th, 2014 by | Share Blog

Jen DelCastillo 5th Avenue Digital Photographer 5th Avenue Digital photographer Jen DelCastillo is our resident expert on family photography.¬† Now that she has a child of her own, she’s become even more adept at getting the most from family photo sessions. We’ve asked Jen to convey some of her wisdom to us non-experts.


I’ve been photographing families for over 14 years now and I often ask myself: what makes a really great family shoot?
With my family shoots I always bring a lot of excellent lighting, along with my techniques, my creativity and an attitude of compromise.  With these tools, I create a relaxed and comfortable environment where people can have a fun experience getting a cherished photo with their family.
Whether your kids are babies, toddlers, teens or adults, one element always rings true: self-expression. When you enable family members to get involved, have choices and express themselves it allows comfort, which helps make kids of all ages feel relaxed, allowing you to capture the most natural and beloved images.

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Elizabeth Beskin

Tips for Finding a Great Wedding Photographer

December 11th, 2013 by | Share Blog

0078-2-20130928-BJThe Knot released an article recently on how to find an ideal wedding photographer. It may not be the easiest task when you begin planning your wedding, but these ideas can help you find the right one for you. Keep in mind, your wedding images can last a lifetime, and that’s the most special day in your life that you will want to relive throughout the years.

1. Settle on a Style:

You may want to look into a photography style that you prefer to begin with. For instance, you may be interested in a documentary style. Instead of having a series of traditional poses, these are spontaneous or candid photos of people, décor, or action. The photos capture the moments exactly as they happened and tell a story at the same time. 5th Avenue Digital offers a variety of photographers, each with different styles to suit your specific tastes.

2. Do your homework:

Review potential photographers’ websites and blogs to check out photos of other weddings they’ve shot, which will give you an idea of their style.

3. Set Up an Interview:

Deciding on a photographer is not only based on their portfolio, but meeting with them in person as well. Be prepared to talk about your venue, your wedding style and what you envision for your photos. 5th Avenue Digital will set up interviews for you with the photographers you like most, saving you lots of time and trouble. Read the rest of this entry »

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