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

Masthead header


It’s not always that I get to photograph a completely willing 13 year old boy – but a walk in the park a few swings of a bat, tossing of a ball and some time with the family on a beautiful Saturday morning – less than two weeks to go before the BAr Mitzvah it was great to meet and photograph A – who really brought his game on – and his charming smile – I know what you’re thinking – SMILE? where is it   what can I do – I always pick the non smiling ones, ( hence the don’t smile now. com ) but I assure you – this boy is a happy young man who will party like crazy next week as will I – looking forward to the party at Braemar Country Club.

February 12, 2015 - 11:15 pm

leonie barel - Great shots, so glad there is one of him smiling after what you wrote about his smile!

Taglyan Complex Wedding – on a 10 year anniversary

On the day of their 10 year anniversary of meeting and falling in love – Cynthia and Marlon finally got married in front of their family and friends. The ceremony was emotional, sweet, personal and touching. In the speeches i found out that they hadn’t really been apart for more than 18 hours, since the day they met. For some this might seem crazy – but if you know Cynthia and Marlon you can see how this is possible – they are both just so much fun to be with, and so caring for each other that with all this love – I understand that they cant stay apart for too long….

As soon Nicole, my second shooter I arrived at The Redbury Hotel, we met Paul and tyler, of Boffo Video carrying this dress form down the hallway – and was blown away to learn that they bring one to every shoot – here I was thinking I was a head of the gave since I carried a nice wooden hanger (because sometime sometimes there just isn’t a good hanger to use for the dress shot) and these guys just blew me away with this – and to top it off – the dress was just gorgeous… of course this was just one of THREE dresses Cynthia changed into throughout the night… !!! After the tear jerking first look – ( I love how nervous Marlon was even after ten years) we headied down the street to The Taglyan Complex  where everything was put together beautifully by Sophie of  Stylish Details….



The wedding was Friday night – so this is just a small, tiny , taste of what their day was like… and the party continued way beyond midnight, with a DJ after party…Until I edit all the rest of the photos – the bridesmaids, the dog Remy, all the details, the flowers, the guests, I mean, there was so many things going on and every given moment… Cynthia, Marlon  – who would have thunk?!!?!? Thank you for letting me into your lives – it’s a blast!

September 17, 2014 - 1:29 am

nicolelennox - Oh my goodness Shani, I LOVE these!!!

September 17, 2014 - 12:49 pm

Kristine Marie - These are such vibrant, beautiful photos, Shani! I LOVE the black and white of the first dance.

September 18, 2014 - 10:09 am

Danielle Bacon - Beautiful wedding and a killer ring shot! That last image is so awesome.

September 25, 2014 - 6:36 pm

Aleks - These are drop dead gorgeous photos!!! The colors are fantastic. Love, love, love!!! I can’t wait to see the rest.

Viceroy Hotel Santa Monica Engagement

I have a special place in my heart for Cynthia and Marlon… it was just about 5 years ago, I photographed my first wedding on my own – it was a referral from a dad I knew and even though I had shot wedding before, in my film days, I was just getting back into it, after having kids and being out of the working game for a while… so here I was at Jackie and Ricardo’s wedding who were sweet enough to trust me with their day and since it was an intimate wedding – I actually got to sit at the table with the guests – and I sat next to .. you guessed it – Cynthia, and Marlon….and his brother Mark … Cynthia was the sweetest – funny, warm and just welcomed me to the table as if I had known them forever – she told me her sister was getting married and took my information – I am not even entirely sure I had business cards… low and behold, her sister did get on touch – and she was just as sweet and beautiful as Cynthia – and hence commenced my Wedding Photography career…so when she called to ask if I would shoot her wedding I was more than happy – I was honored… and as I prepare for her big day.. I just had to post some of their engagement shoot – and one day there might even be a part two… because I was wearing my pink converse and then there’s Nathan and Remy too!

September 12, 2014 - 11:36 pm

Sirinya - My congratulations to Cynthia and Marlon (I have known Cynthia since she was 5!) They are adorable. I love the pictures. My favorite that you shared is of the one of them in front of Santa Monica’s City Hall.

September 17, 2014 - 11:54 am

Corey Morgan - These are so fun!!! Great work!

September 18, 2014 - 10:05 am

Danielle Bacon - Love all the different moods in this session! Well done.

September 25, 2014 - 6:33 pm

Aleks - I always love looking at your photos Shani. What I love most about his session is that it looks like a stylish, modern fashion shoot – except that you also capture the love and personalities of the couple. Beautiful work!

September 25, 2014 - 6:35 pm

shani - Aleks- thank you so much for this beautiful thoughtful comment !

Delicate Details

I should have known by now, after having shot numerous events with Alex and Sandra that this isn’t just a baby christening and party for a 1 year old girl… and yet, when I showed up at noon I thought it would be – well,  just a christening and  birthday reception for a one year old… what I didn’t know was that Maryam of  Delicate Details was in charge – so you can imagine my jaw dropping to the floor – and immediately rushing to get all the fabulous details recorded on camera – before all the kids, guests, belly dancer and the two ladies with the snakes (not pictured) all came in …. I don’t know if this party can be topped for their daughter’s 2nd birthday – but I hope to be there when she turns 16 ….

There will be more details to come – but in the mean time – here are the vendors who collaborated on this princess party –

Planner and coordinator – Maryam of Delicate-Details

Fabulous flowers by Butterfly Florals

Tremendous tents by  Raj Tents

Custom cake by Royal Cakes

Delicious Desserts by Sugar Babies Cupcakery

Snake Girls – not pictures yet – The Dancing Fire

The whole event took place at the St Maximilian Kolbe Church in Westlake Village


August 27, 2014 - 9:42 pm

Kristine Marie - Wow! Lucky little girl!

August 28, 2014 - 2:20 pm

Sadi Lane - What a gorgeous event! Love all the colors!

August 28, 2014 - 2:59 pm

Karen D - Wow!!! Totally unbelievable, so pretty!

August 28, 2014 - 8:16 pm

Kristen Burtch - It is straight out of a fairy tale. Amazing detail shots!

September 3, 2014 - 9:24 am

Brady Puryear - Crazy!! Such a fun party. Gorgeous photos too!

Zuma Beach – Last Day of Summer (Vacation)

I got the Fitbit  just over a week ago – essentially a fancy step-o-meter that counts your steps and syncs with an app in which you can track your walks, your workouts, you food and water intake aswell as sleep and weight gain or loss… basically it can keep you honest. For the first few days I wore it I was amazed at how little I walked – I was home all day – working on the computer and occasionally making my way tot the kitchen to eat something – most of my steps were taken by making my way to the kitchen to eat something – and I refuse to write down what I ate because that just messes with my psyche, my eating habits and my self esteem – ( I have addressed this issue before and about a two months go decided, yes decided, to love my body as it is and stop wasting time on worrying about it) Anyways….I had a gift certificate and I used it to get the fitbit ( I got the Zip one) and I attach it to my pants and I count… first few days as I mentioned, I was very far from my goal of 10,000 steps a day… but on Saturday – a day I shot a Bat Mitzvah – I easily (ok it wasn’t easy, it’s a lot of steps) I made it, and I have every day since… yes, I know it’s only three days! But there’s a point to the story – and  that is – that now, instead of just sitting around at the beach, I actually got off my butt and walked around – and on the day I remembered to bring “my black and white camera” and forced myself to look around… I love the feeling of using the camera that doesn’t show me the image right away – that forces me to shoot in black and white that makes me challenge myself to find things to capture when I am not obligated by contract and don’t have to please anyone but myself – and that are not shot on the iphone! So this is how Fitbit made me a better photographer! And as I look at these photos after I dropped off the kids at school for their first dy back – I just wonder to myself – how were we not at the beach every single day of the summer? Luckily – it ain’t over yet, and if you live in Southern California – you know it’s pretty much the same all year round – so we’ll be back!

Temple Judea Bat Mitzvah for SJP!

This is just a Sneak Peek of the photos from SJP’s Bat Mitzvah at Temple Judea – followed by the party – I loved the services at the Temple aswell as the decor and beautiful lighting – and one of the things  I loved the most was the modern Torah covers – in PINK! It was a total surprise for me when they opened the Arc – in itself a lovely designed modern arc… Anyways – SJP was beyond lovely – a truly  beautiful girl inside and out – congratulations!  so in the mean time… just a  taste of the day….Enjoy!

August 13, 2014 - 2:50 pm

SIdney Morgan - Beautiful work!!! I bet they will love the photos! xox

August 13, 2014 - 11:48 pm

Annie - Looks so fun! great moments!

August 14, 2014 - 1:34 pm

Kristine Marie - How fun! Great sneak peeks!

August 15, 2014 - 1:59 am

Sadi Lane - What a fun event! Great worK!

Las Vegas – (not much happens when you’re with the kids)

Obviously, going ANYWHERE with your kids is not the same as getting away on our own , but still… I took my black and white camera and got SOME shots… Obviously one cannot cover LAs Vegas in three days with kids in tow – but I still managed to use the camera when one of them wasn’t hanging on me, asking me something, telling me a story or handing me their trash from their candy… so this is what I got… a glimpse…albeit tiny, but still my point of view. Thank you for looking – and comments, are always welcome! 

August 6, 2014 - 8:51 pm

Kristen Papac - Very beautiful black and white work. I’m a fan!

August 6, 2014 - 11:44 pm

Sadi Lane - Looks like a fun trip and lots of awesome photos!

August 6, 2014 - 11:47 pm

Kate Breuer - Love the black and white in the desert. Beautiful!

August 8, 2014 - 8:05 am

Liesl Diesel - yay for vegas! I love the toning on these, really beautiful!

August 12, 2014 - 3:15 am

Stephanie Overstreet - Looks like a great trip, and seems you saw quite a bit, even just from these few photos! Great job.

A journey home

I am so used to saying goodbye, but never get used to the pain. My dear dear dear friend is leaving Los Angeles.. and I must be in denial because I am holding it together. My entire life I was the one always moving… every couple of years… never staying long enough to really get to know a place a neighbor, a family… but having been in LA for 14 years, and in my current home for 9, I am now the one experiencing the pain of being left behind… I will miss my friend Liora, and of course – Liora – I wish you only happiness, success and peace – and I will see you soon!

August 6, 2014 - 9:03 pm

Kristen Papac - It’s always so hard to say good bye to a good friend and neighbor. :-( but the memories will last forever. Great family shots!

August 6, 2014 - 11:44 pm

Sadi Lane - These are gorgeous, love big doggies!

August 6, 2014 - 11:45 pm

Kate Breuer - What a beautiful shoot! The dogs are more than cute!!

F a c e b o o k
F r i e n d