Bar and bat Mitzvah Photography- by Shani Barel – Serving the Great Los Angeles Area » modern photography with a twist of sarcasm

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Lagoona Blue

I dont know where time went by between last post and this one – work work and work…A big birthday, an anniversary, and much more… and then there was Halloween – and Zoe was planning and plotting and forced me to get online and order a Lagoona Blue costume from Monster High costume, and when we went Trick or Treating she told me the “best thing about Halloween is not the candy, it’s walking with Mommy and Daddy”. FOr me, the best thing for me about Halloween is getting great photos, because that is my candy….year, after year

November 1, 2012 - 10:40 pm

leonie barel - Oh wow. These are so beautiful. I can see here dressing this way without Halloween. She simply looks stunning, not like she is dressed up! Its her look, no wonder she wanted it!!!
Tfu tfu tfu.
And the tooth grew in !!!!!!

Los Angeles-New York

Teenage girl leaning on her arm

I often wonder about the differences of growing up NY vs LA… no need to watch too much Gossip Girl or 90210 to know, that they do grow up different; wether it’s the weather, the size of the homes, the pace of life, or the fact that kids can actually get around town on their own….but I am somewhat obsessed with knowing what it’s like! I asked my first cousin once removed, Danielle, who was visiting our west coast colleges for next year…. about her life as a teen attending a Performing Arts School; but she looked at me as if I was crazy and “Why on earth do you want anything to do with high school…” that I dropped it…I guesss I’ll just have to wait till a TV remake of FAME comes around so that I can find out the truth! Since she was staying the night here, I offered to photograph her – but between the kids showing off their magic tricks, their dance moves and their noise making, and her studying for a subject specific SAT (did I get that right, I just know she’s super smart and studies hard and will be just fine !) we had about 15 minutes to get some photos before they left for the airport to catch the flight back home, and even though she giggled, and exclaimed that NO ONE has ever gotten a good photo of her, I insisted on trying out a few shots – I mean how often do I get a born and raised New Yorker in my paws??!!? So….Danielle – I wish I could take all the credit, but like I said, you are gorgeous, and please, do not cut off too much!!!!!

We looked it up online just to make sure – Zoe and Danielle are Second cousins…..just incase you were wondering about the connection….

September 26, 2012 - 9:47 pm

Emily - Simply stunning

September 27, 2012 - 2:29 pm

Lynn Aunt - I have always said my niece knows to capture the best in people. I thought the Bar motzvah phoos were the best but these definiely are competition!

Wishing you lots of success with your eye for “special” and hand for capturing it

send love love love

January 22, 2013 - 12:25 pm

Your aunt Lynn - WOW you have gorgeous cousins and gorgeous 2nd cousins/cousins once removed and are they lucky to have someone to catch them for eternity, who has a knack of capturing their essence

Way to go my lovely niece wish you were nearby so all my family and my friends and their friends could come and do their books and all their important event and not event photographs

to peek or not to peek

Jumping off the bed

There’s a debate between photographers – to sneak peek or not sneak peek your family session photos – since we like to show the images in person, on a large screen, in a slideshow, to music, to hopefully make the mommy cry…But what can I do..I can’t help myself, as I look through the photos, picking my favorites, editing them to translate my viewpoint from the lens, to “paper” or “page”…  I want to jump with joy when I love that I see and I want the mom to see her children the way I see them – and to show, that even though the kids may have refused to smile, insisted on crying and in general just did whatever they wanted… we captured great, little, moments… and I want to share those right away… so granted, I don’t always get to peek…but today was just too much fun to hold inside, and you know what- there are SO MANY more great ones, I will still make mom cry… :)


Pint Size Kids – The “out takes”

When Kyle and Zoe were younger, I was always looking for indoor playgrounds that would be a little heaven for me – a place where the kids are kept busy, happy and safe, and where I can zone out for a tiny bit, not having to chase the two little ones for every single moment anymore!!!! I think I had tried every indoor space available in the valley that was available  at the time… and then I found Pint Size Kids – it’s the perfect place for kids who like to lay, imagine, and have fun… wait, are there any kids who don’t? With their pretend city rooms, I want to go in and play with a dream red kitchen – oh wait – I do get to play in a red kitchen…oh wait, I PRETEND to cook in  the red kitchen, because if you know me… my kitchen isn’t  getting too much cooking done in it! We decided to invite some kids for a little photoshoot at this fun, beautiful and creative space and had a couple of hours of another pretend kind  – The Studio… these are some “out takes” or what I call… some favorites… it’s just a  little sneak peek to what went on! Thanks to Mindy and Tobiah for trusting me with the little crawlers, walkers and jumpers!

…and Maxwell!

It’s really all about the dog. That was clear from the beginning, when Evelyn called me regarding an engagement shoot…I would consider this a family portrait since CLEARLY, to Evelyn and Ryan, Max, is not a mere K9…and in so many ways, he was easier to deal with then kids….first of all, it completely acceptable, in fact, required, to bribe him with treats….second, he’s on a leash!!!! a short one!
Obviously my months of workouts have started paying off a since I was able to hike up and down and keep up with Evelyn (turns out she’s a real sport- check out her ABOUT page…) and Ryan and Maxwell…and it was just a walk in the park!
So thank you Sirinya for sending Evelyn and Ryan to me, and mostly, thank you for watching Max when we needed some grown-up time too!
August 23, 2012 - 6:52 pm

Sirinya - Oh. My. God. Shani, you did it again — the pictures are gorgeous!!! You totally captured my friends and their dog. Thank you!
Love, Sirinya

Bride and Groom

Malibu Wedding Photographer

Tis past weekend I had the pleasure to be part of Melissa and Peter’s wedding… The cool thing for me, was that the wedding ceremony took place on Friday night, and the wedding party on Saturday – the nice part was that after the emotional ceremony and the family formals, we were just in time for magic hour photos – still high on wedding bliss, and then I went home and they went to be with their families, and the next night, I got another opportunity to photograph them in the same gorgeous light, in a second white dress…and all those photos will be up and running… bit for those who missed Melissa in her fairy tale dress…The rest of the details will be posted soon!

Malibu Wedding photographer



The Boys

Now that I am old, I mean, older, no, I mean, wiser… whatever… I am no kid anymore… I live vicariously through my children… no, that’s not it either, but what does happen to me sometimes, is that I am able to glimpse back into my childhood, and remember what the world seemed through my eyes as a 7 or 8 year old, the ages my kids are now…I love that feeling, a memory rushing back, going back to my younger self, re-living the moment, and then, re-living it again, and again, as myself today, the older self, I mean wiser… I always get new insights into those moments – sometimes they just shed a new light, sometimes they dispel my fantasy, and sometimes, just sometimes,  they enhance my appreciation for my childhood, my parents, my life. Looking at the above image of Robert and Paul, I wonder, how big does Robert look to Paul, how much of a big brother hero is he? How will he forever remember these moments they spent together, kidding, loving, walking, running, hugging, tickling… how will this moment affect this 7 year old for the rest of his life? What will he think about these images in 20 years?

I love photography, and more than capturing a moment in time, it’s creating one, and recreates it over and over again.

And of course, knowing this family – siblings and parents, I know that many wonderful memories are created every day of their lives, and I am just happy I am in a small way, a part of this family, forever.



Krystal and Kyle recently got engaged – I was delighted to be at their engagement party to document their lovely family embrace their  unity. I arrived a little early and got them to walk a few step outside their home (not an easy feat in those shoes…) I loved that we could just walk outside and be in another world, and since we timed it right, we just got enough light to get these moments of love…..Krystal looked so va-va-vooom in that dress and the hair , like she stepped out from another era,yet timeless! Thank you again for agreeing to it all!

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