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Meet Shani Barel of Shani Barel Photography in San Fernando Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shani Barel.

Shani, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I, like many other photographers, got a camera for my 14th birthday, that was a LONG time ago, film days, it was the Canon T50 and I started taking pictures and fell in love. Since then, it’s practically the only thing I know how to do. I went to art school and studied photography, of course. When I finished studying, I assisted a fashion photographer for a year and saw a whole other side of photography, a mix of art and business and thought that’s what I wanted to do, but when I moved to Los Angeles. met someone and ended up getting married and having children pretty fast and stopped working almost completely. When my daughter was in preschool, I photographed the kids for the calendar and one of the moms thought my photos were good and asked me to photograph her family. It wasn’t something I had learned at art school, but since it really was the only thing I knew how to do, and loved doing, I started my official business. That was in 2009.

Has it been a smooth road?
Looking back, even with all my photography experience, I had to learn so many things – the business side, the digital side, editing, best programs to use, time management, customer service, marketing, stress management… I admittedly let the business grow on its own, without a plan, so figuring it out, and learning along the way, made for some sleepless nights… I learned some from new friends, some from the internet, from my husband and still learning.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Shani Barel Photography story. Tell us more about the business.
My photography is about the connection – I photograph mainly portraits, kids, families, headshots, as well as Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. I do whatever it takes to get the shots, from telling bad jokes to teenagers, or discussing how math homework sucks, to rolling on the ground to toddler eye level and making animal noises to get them to laugh. I work on location, and I also have a studio set up at home. I am proud of connecting with my clients, making them feel comfortable in front of the camera – and making the photos taking experience fun and entertaining – plus, I have a few images along the way that I am proud of… 🙂

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I’m probably not the best example of a trend predictor – I still remember being in art school 25 years ago and we all thought digital will never catch – as today – even though everyone is holding a camera at every turn, I can only hope that the trend we’ll revert and we will put the cameras down and enjoy life – in business – I see people using film, and large format cameras – on the one hand, the guilty is of photography is amazing and on the other spectrum there are so many bad photos out there – I am sure people will get educated on quality and see the difference.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Shani Barel

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