You specialize in Jewish life cycle events. Are you Jewish?

Nope! In my biggest dreams come true, I’d celebrate all high holidays and Friday night Shabbat dinners and 8 nights of Hanukkah with my clients-turned-friends (hint hint), but I’m not Jewish. I was raised Christian. 

In 2009, my photography mentor’s college friend's daughter (say that 5 times fast!) was having her bat mitzvah and they needed a photographer. She called me and I said “of course!” having never attended this kind of event before. Norah walked me through the process and then graciously spread the love in a huge way. Today, I'm proud to say that my bar + bat mitzvah clients are almost 100% word of mouth referrals – YAY!

I pride myself on knowing the ins and outs of synagogues across the Minneapolis / St Paul area - everything from traditional posing, sundown rules, rehearsal schedules and unique aspects of your synagogue. I bring a fresh eye to these events and am so blessed to have been welcomed into this vibrant community!

do you have training or an education in photography?

My photography training was self-taught from age 9 to 17, until I took a post-secondary college photography class while I was still in high school. I took four years of undergrad photography coursework and I loved it so much, I took some classes twice!

After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in English in 2008, I attended Minneapolis Community and Technical College and earned an Associate’s Degree in 2010. Over the years since graduating, I’ve participated in several workshops, mentoring sessions and weekend classes to keep my skills sharp and my mind fresh.

I opened the doors of my business on June 16, 2007 - 2017 will be 10 years in business! I'm proud to say that since January 4, 2016, I've made this business my full-time job / career / dream life. I love writing about my journey through this process on my blog and meeting new photographers for coffee to share my story. Say Hello if you have questions or would like to meet! 

there are so many photographers out there. why should we choose you?

I first picked up a camera because I saw my Mama doing it during all of our big and small moments. She prided herself on having everything from those first day of school photos - backpacks, ponytails and all - to the moments we lost our first tooth or first night in bunkbeds - and I'm grateful to have such a well-documented childhood that is now visible in endless scrapbooks. 

I'm obsessed with looking through old family photos and so many of my favorite memories were sitting around my Gram's kitchen table or on the floor of my great-grandparents' home surrounded by stories. Laughter, tears, memories - it all floods through my brain and it reminds me of why I chose this to be my dream job. 

If I can help you and your family cement those memories in photographs that you'll frame in your home and generations to come will see them and hear their family story come to life, I've done my job.  

I believe that images have the power to ignite memories we thought had faded and remind us of the people, places and things that mean the most to us. My mission is to show you your real life moments in an authentic and candid way, while honoring your traditions and the legacy of those who came before us. 

Our kids are so young, our house is messy and dark and we think we can’t commit to a full session. Should we still hire you for a lifestyle session at home?

ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY YES! I don’t photograph dirt and dust, but I will photograph your kiddos in their favorite places both in and outside, being themselves and feeling the most comfortable. I’ll photograph you and your partner loving on each other in the kitchen, playing on the floor with your kids, making pancakes, riding bikes or reading books. You being you and YOU deserve to be documented in the space you’ve so lovingly created for the people you love the most. These sessions are typically more candid and longer; I love to get in on the book reading and the playing and running around too!

Do you photograph newborns?

I sure do! I love working with clients expecting their first, second or fifth child - what a miracle and special time in life! I offer a first year package that includes maternity, newborn, 6 month and 1 year sessions. I also offer these sessions ala carte, but encourage clients to book a package, where I take care of contacting you to schedule upcoming sessions, editing all your images to have a similar look and feel and that bond with your child from day 1 is unparalleled. One of my very first first year clients, little Raina, is now almost 3 and knows me - so sweet! She runs for a huge hug at the beginning of all their sessions and we have such a special bond - I love it! 

In summer 2016, I photographed my first fresh session in the hospital and FELL STRAIGHT DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE of baby love. I love offering these sessions to my first year clients - what a treasure to have documented those first few hours as a family! And if there's a big brother or sister involved? ALL THE HEART EYES! 

How often do you schedule mini sessions?

Mini sessions are offered on a few dates per year in spring, summer and fall - all outdoor locations. Mini session rates apply ONLY on these dates and time slots must be booked in advance. Sign up for my mailing list to get the latest news on these dates! In 2017, I will be announcing them in April and when the slots are gone, they're gone! :)

How do I dress my family for our session?

I love Pinterest just as much as the next gal and I created a board just for this purpose: https://www.pinterest.com/sydneebickett/what-to-wear-family/

New pins are always being added, especially as styles change and I find cuter combinations! Never be afraid to ask questions or send photos of ideas – I love to help with styling!

Will you photograph our nonprofit event?

One of my favorite #SBPvalues is the Pay It Forward concept. Therefore, I’ve identified a few local nonprofit organizations that I donate both my time and talents to on a yearly basis. I’d love to learn more about the organization you love - send me a note with the info, budget and your connection to the organization.

Do you shoot weddings?

I shot weddings from 2006 to 2013 and decided to put them on the backburner when I fell in love with bar + bat mitzvahs. I ended my 2013 season with 3 ultra-fabulous couples and have been thinking about them ever since. I’m a sucker for a good love story - I’d love to connect over coffee and donuts! If I’m already booked or have a friend who will be a better match for you, I’ll share their contact information with you. 

You share a lot about fitness, healthy eating and running on social media. How do I start my own fitness journey?

There’s a blog post coming on this topic! I was never athletic or active growing up, until 2010 when my cousin asked me to run a 5K race with her. That kickstarted my journey into running all the distances, including 2 marathons in 2013 and 2014. The thing that has kept me going is not the number on the scale, but rather the idea that I want to do everything in my power to be the best ME I can be – for myself first, for my business and for my tribe, present and future.

Accountability from friends, family and strangers and a program that suits your lifestyle, schedule and personality are the things that work best for me! I’ve been a member of numerous gyms, had several personal trainers and done a few fad diets or challenges, but the thing that remains is the idea that by starting, you are introducing a true lifestyle change. This change doesn’t come overnight; baby steps matter!

I’m in no way a certified personal trainer or coach or athlete – I’m just a gal trying to live her best life! If you have any questions or need a referral for a fabulous gym, trainer or program, I’d love to offer my own experience as an example.

Share more about your personal style! 

I love the idea of finding pieces and styles that fit your body type and are flattering and most importantly, fun. If you don’t love opening the closet in the morning, change something! Just like any lady out there, I’ve struggled to find a pair of pants that hugs and fits in just the right way, but the most success comes from being happy with who you are on the inside first. The outside will come J

My style comes from working with a budget and a need for outfits that can take me from my home office to a session or event to happy hour with friends. I shop at Target and Old Navy, with fun graphic t-shirts and more from causes like Sevenly, Cotton Bureau, Walk in Love and TOMS!    

Who are your favorite vendors for bar + bat mitzvahs?

I ADORE so many vendors and am grateful to call them friends, so it’s hard to pick favorites, but here is a short list of those I’ve worked closely with on several events in the last 8 years:

Synagogues:

Temple Israel Minneapolis / Beth-El Synagogue / Adath Jeshurn Congregation / Mount Zion, St. Paul / Shir Tikvah / Temple of Aaron, St. Paul

Event Planning:

Amy Zaroff Events & Design

Event Lab (Lauren Segelbaum)

DJ and Entertainment:

A-List Entertainment (Becky Salita)

Level11

Spaces:

Walker Art Center

Weisman Art Museum

Calhoun Beach Club

Bachelor Farmer

ARIA

The Varsity Theater

Create Dining Studio

Fort Snelling Base camp

Wellstone Center, St. Paul

Children’s Theater Company

Oak Ridge Country Club

The Westin

Radisson BLU Bloomington

UpperCut Boxing

Catering:

Create Catering

Spirit of Asia

Damico

Deco Catering