Last year a returning client asked me if I would shoot her daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. I had done her wedding years before, but it was a small ceremony and more as a favor than on the business side of things. I knew she was familiar with my work and I was familiar with her and her husband…so I set the appointment and contract up. The only thing I was unfamiliar with was a Bat Mitzvah. That’s kind of a big deal. I did what I always do if I’m uncertain about a shoot I have…googled everything possible to see what it was about it. Then….waited….almost a year.

We ironed out the details and the day soon came. I could tell by her numerous Facebook posts that she was anticipating the big day slightly more than I. This was going to be my first big event with lots of people buzzing everywhere. The morning of, it started pouring. I was determined to show professionalism and left bright and early with Kayli, my trusty assistant (my 13 year old daughter, who basically gets paid in peanuts, but does a fantastic job doing whatever it is I ask of her). Hey, I’m showing her responsibility…plus it’s a bonding experience to chat about everyone we saw, on the way home. Always good! Almost. We are females. Well, this was the first time I was leaving my newborn home with his daddy and I was looking at roughly a 6 hour shoot. 8 hour day total.

Not so. Try 12.

As we arrived in Voorhees, N.J., a couple of minutes from The Mansion, where the event was being held, every light in my dash went off. Whomp! What now? Professionalism looks like it may go down the toilet at that point. Unbeknown to me, I was about a mile from The Mansion, but in the pouring rain and after  missing a few signs, I had no idea. So when my truck broke down there was nothing left to do….but cry. But only a little. Still working those hormones out of my system. I called up the client and told her exactly what was happening. She sent out her husband (Thank God also a good friend and ex coworker of mine) and he picked up my daughter, me and all of my equipment and we left the truck behind for AAA and my boys to retrieve.

We still made it on time! This people…is why you should hire me. Ha! Not because of my work or my testimonials…but because a hormone driven, crazy, photographer managed to make it on time because she knew she was the only one there to shoot the important day despite the worst morning ever! I saved the day! Well, I saved my day and eased their minds…but I still give myself a pat on the back for not completely breaking down and quitting the business right then and there.

On to the Bat Mitzvah…WOW! They really went all out. The ceremony was beautiful, Sarah looked better than I’d ever seen her, and the nine million screaming 13 year old girls didn’t phase me a bit. I was in awe that this is what the celebration was like. Everything seemed to go off wonderfully.

I did learn a couple lessons that I will now carry in my mind for other event shoots…and maybe just any shoot at all.

  • Always check your car out before going long distances for one time events and have a back up plan
  • Keep our AAA membership in good standing (It was the alternator that blew) and towing on a Sunday from one state to another = very expensive.
  • Sorry, but, charge more for travel for the reason above. You never know.
  • Always….ALWAYS….eat, and bring Tylenol.  If you are not going to get a headache after squinting through a camera for 8 hours or not have a single bite to eat…when the girl being “Bat Mitzvah”ed dances with the cute boy…God have mercy. Photographer have Tylenol.