New York | Dave Beckerman

My middle sister (J.) is getting married tomorrow (for the 2nd time) and I was tapped to be second photographer.  I usually refuse to be the main photographer since I can’t stand grouping people together and forcing them to smile and all that stuff.

So I do my usual documentary style - and usually end up with some good shots.  But the first time she got married I had trouble since I didn’t bring a flash and it was just a very dark hall.  So I took out the flash and forced the cat to do a few tests for me in case the hall is dark tomorrow.  I really don’t like weddings.  I don’t like to dance unless I’ve had a few drinks - and I don’t drink anymore.  Too many people.

I would like to do pet photography someday.  I have more respect for cats and dogs than I do for most humans.

I keep the flash on a cable and hold it in my left hand, or put it on a bracket so it isn’t directly above the lens.  Since the flash is a sunpak that doesn’t communicate well with the Canon - I have to work in manual mode - but with digital that’s not a big deal.  I just do a few tests - check them on the camera back - and I’m usually pretty close.  If I were going to do more of this sort of thing I guess I’d pick up a dedicated flash - but I don’t really need it.

There will be 300 people, and she’s also expecting me to get at least one shot to use on the thank-you cards.  Frankly, if I were still shooting film, I wouldn’t even offer to do this job.

The only pain was that I had to buy a suit, since I couldn’t fit into my old suit from 7 plus years ago.  I’ve decided that I’ll go with two lenses - the 30mm f1.4 and 50mm.  In other words, I’ve learned not to get too fancy - and just shoot weddings or whatever as I would anything else.

I do get asked to do weddings - but so far have been able to refuse because I’m busy enough with orders and a few other designer projects which I can’t mention in the blog.

Anyway - buddy told me that I did get his best side.

10 Responses Subscribe to comments

  1. Elisa

    What a patient cat… you usually take great humans pictures, so, if you have more respects for cats and dogs what kind of picture are you going to take? :D

    Oct 04, 2008 @ 6:48 pm

  2. Craig M. Nisnewitz

    Great cat shot.
    Having done the bar/bat mitzvah circuit several times this year I know the feeling about getting those group shots. Word of advice, if you are using a dedicated flash (may also work with the non-dedicated ones) change the white balance to flash. It can make a difference. Try some tests first because the results can be different depending on the room colors, etc.
    Good luck and as they say, Mazel Tov!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oct 04, 2008 @ 7:40 pm

  3. Lester

    Way back in 1980 Dave Beckerman took photographs of my wedding. It was an interfaith ceremony that was probably invalid in both faiths. We hired a second photographer who did the traditional posed shots, which allowed Dave to capture the more candid aspects of the wedding. He got a good photo of the rabbi and priest getting drunk together. He got a good photo of my uncle getting injured doing the Russian squat and kick dance. He got photos of some very attractive women who could not have possibly been members of our family. It was a great success.

    But the tables were turned on the artist that day. My father brought his 8 mm Bell and Howell movie camera and took some moving pictures of the 29 year old Dave Beckerman at work. Dave has never seen this film. I recently converted it to video and intend to save it for the most propitious moment, perhaps his 60th birthday party.

    Best wishes to J. and her new husband. And my condolences to Dave’s old suit, which is forever memorialized in my 28 year old film.

    Oct 04, 2008 @ 10:11 pm

  4. Sinuhe

    Dave - great photo - but I think most of us are curious to see the 8mm movie / video Lester is referring to!!!
    Sounds like a great wedding / party and a fitting farewell tribute to your old suit.

    Oct 05, 2008 @ 3:18 am

  5. dave


    Dear Lester,

    Let this serve as a warning to you.

    It’s true, you may have film of me at age 29 at your wedding. But remember this - when I attended Film School, you agreed to act in several of my movies. I still retain that 16mm footage of you. Taken out of context, it will surely be painful to you, your family and your dog.

    Let me refresh your memory sir.

    I have a clip of you wandering around on fifth avenue in your pajamas! True, as director I had asked you to do that - but if asked about that - I will deny asking your to do so and say that you often wandered the streets of New York in you PJs.

    I also have a clip of you where it appears that you are beating up a medical doctor over a parking spot dispute. Again - this is not going to make you look very respectful of the medical association. I am, in fact prepared to offer this clip to the Medical Association of Overpriced Doctors.

    So think twice before posting your wedding footage on YouTube. You may come to regret it.

    Also, on our last recent trip to the wilds of New Jersey - remember I took pictures of you walking your dog. I have already prepared a photoshopped image of your dog biting a famous race horse worth millions of dollars. That race horse, although favored to win the triple crown - lost. I’m sure the racing commission would be interested in this doctored photo.

    So if you see where I’m going with this - you’ll refrain from posting any video which may make me look silly or undignified.

    And remember sir. I have a lot of experience with people of your ilk. With a long lens, I can see your home from the roof of my apartment building. Keep that in mind.


    Dave Beckerman
    (with cc to William Bennett, my new lawyer)

    Oct 05, 2008 @ 7:45 am

  6. Lester

    Mr. Dave Beckerman:

    My client, Lester, has forwarded me your warning about posting his video of you in flagrante at his 1980 wedding ceremony. As counsel to paparazzi sued by Brittany Spears, Paris Hilton, and Lindsey Lohan, I assure you that you have no case.

    Lester has also asked me to inform you that he is considering a counter suit directed at your libelous accusations against his black labrador retriever, who only bites intrusive photographers and not race horses.

    That being said, Lester is not a vindicative man and he is willing to discuss a possible out of court settlement. Perhaps an exchange of the compromising films can be arranged at a certain north Jersey diner managed by his close “friends.” Of course, no cameeras allowed.

    Alberto Gonzalez, Esq.

    Oct 05, 2008 @ 9:42 am

  7. Stephen BRAY

    Dear Buddy,

    There was once a time when a young blade had all his suits made to measure in his twenties, and they lasted until his fifties, when the no longer young man took on his father’s redundant suits, which were sufficiently robust for the rest of his life.

    I worry that your flat-mate’s suit no longer seems to fit. At my late father’s funeral my elder brother was able to wear an old business suit by the simple expedient of keeping the top button of his trousers undone, but fastening the waistband with string.

    Is it possible that with the advent of digital, and other lightweight photographic equipment, Mr. Beckerman no longer is as well exercised as in the past when, according to his article on camera addiction, he only photographed using a plate camera mounted on a heavy tripod?


    Oct 05, 2008 @ 12:20 pm

  8. Peter

    I can relate to cats even though their love is triggered more by the sound of the opening refrigerator door than by my overwhelming love and affection. “and a few other designer projects which I can’t mention in the blog”… You could give us a hint.

    Oct 05, 2008 @ 2:16 pm

  9. dave

    Peter - actually it’s one of the problems with the blog - that I can’t really talk about ongoing business projects until they’re finished.

    Stephen - not my flat-mates suit (I don’t have a flat-mate). It was my old suit pants that I couldn’t get into anymore. Yes - I am definitely out of shape. Don’t think digital is the cause though - it’s just way too much hanging around the house printing and packaging and not walking as much as I used to.

    Oct 05, 2008 @ 7:20 pm

  10. Stephen BRAY


    Thanks for your reply, I was writing to Buddy, (your flat mate cat), sorry if this caused confusion :-)

    Oct 07, 2008 @ 1:39 pm