When you do something you love, the quality shines through. Eli Weintraub began learning photography in high school. He pursued it first as a hobby, taking photos at events and as the Camp Simcha photographer beginning in 2008. He took on selected professional jobs part-time as he pursued a career in finance. But when the frequency of photography gigs picked up, he made Weintraub Studios a full-time business. Now he’s in demand as a photographer and videographer for simchas and events.
Weintraub photographs events in Passaic, where he lives, and throughout New York and New Jersey. He has traveled across the U.S. leading the media team of Kids of Courage, an organization dedicated to supporting children who are seriously ill and their families. He has been hired for events in London, Paris and Israel, and more unusual destinations like Azerbaijan and Tbilisi, Georgia.
Weintraub’s ability to get stunning images starts before he picks up a camera. One of his tried-and-true methods in photographing a simcha is to direct the people in portraits by name. “I learn the names of every sibling and it’s etched in my mind for 10 hours,” he said. “Instead of jumping into the portraits, we have a conversation. Then I can refer to them by name with instructions like, ‘Chaim, raise your chin.”’
He likes to build relationships with the people he photographs so they are comfortable and relaxed. “In my portraits, I try my best to get smiles and reactions that are as genuine as possible,” he said. “After I finish an event, a client will often tell me I did an amazing job. I say, ‘You haven’t even seen the photos yet!’ And they say, ‘I know they’re good because of the way you interacted with us.’”
Weintraub is usually the sole photographer at an event. “Most events only require one person. I don’t always push for more, but I do have a network of photographers I can call when needed.” It has become trendy to add a photojournalist but Weintraub says a good photographer can do it all—portraits, candids and action shots.
Many photographers retain ownership of photos so clients have to purchase albums and prints from them. Weintraub feels that people pay for his service. His clients have perpetual access to their photos. They can make additional purchases if and when they choose. “My photos are yours forever. If you lose or forget the link, I keep them backed up. I’ve had people come to me five or six years after a simcha and ask if I still have the photos. I tell them, ‘Of course I do!’”
While Weintraub’s success comes from his skill in capturing events and bringing out the best in people for their portraits, he stays on top of advances in technology. “I never want anyone to think the photos could have been better if I had the newest gear,” he said. “That’s why I stay up to date with high-quality equipment.”
To view the Weintraub Studios portfolio and get more information, visit www.eliweintraub.com.