Photographer Yaakov Katz, a resident of Kew Gardens Hills, saw an urgent need in klal Yisrael and he stepped up to the plate. People were hosting simchos without their family members and friends, and they needed a way to include them in their simchos. Mr. Katz used his photography and videography expertise and he created a new division of Yaakov Katz Studios that would do livestreaming. He offers livestream or Zoom for weddings and other simchos.
“I realized that there was an opportunity now to help people by liv streaming their events.” Mr. Katz offers a smooth experience. He has his own Internet connection so everything is streamlined. With his own dedicated hotspot, he has a connection anywhere and you don’t need WiFi. Without professional help, the Zoom experience can be shaky, hard to see, or unnatural. He offers a professional video experience using a stabilizer so that when you walk, it looks like you’re floating. It feels surreal; the videos are seamless.
One client said, “It felt like we were standing under the chupah all the way from Canada. I would recommend this to anyone.”
When he livestreams or Zooms, the participants receive a lot of access. People have commented that his shots offer more of a view of the chupah than for those actually present at the event. “I go right up there!”
Mr. Katz shares his passion for photography and videography. “I like the challenge of telling a story by capturing emotions people are feeling. I try to help people relive their experience through pictures.” There are special shots like catching the moment of a grandfather’s tears.
He began his interest in photography with his eighth-grade yearbook. He has worked as a photographer these past 11 years. First, he began photographing simchos. After that, he started taking family portraits, and that was followed by his work for the Queens Jewish Link as the official photographer. His work was praised by the community. When he left for yeshivah, his brothers continued the family tradition, each in succession stepping in as the Queens Jewish Link photographer. The family members clearly all have photographic talents. Mr. Katz has done extensive photographing of politicians, from President Trump and Senator Chuck Schumer to our local representatives like Grace Meng, the Mayor, and others. He noted, “I enjoy politics.”
He shared some advice to home photographers. The best nonprofessional cameras that he recommends are Canon Point & Shoot Digital Cameras. They are very ruggedly made and strong, and they take great pictures.
If you are using a smartphone camera, you should remember that you can always zoom later. Zooming on the phone lowers the overall quality of the shots. You can always crop a photo. In general, he advises that to keep the quality of the image higher you should not zoom. Also, the best place to focus for a portrait is on the person’s eyes, because that is the most recessed place on the face. Focusing on the nose will blur the eyes. Focusing on the eyes guarantees the rest of the face will be well-focused. If you are in a dark place, you need to bring a lamp and it should be directed to spotlight the faces you are photographing. Avoid putting the light behind the subjects.
When using a computer for Zoom, the computer back should be facing the window. The window light will illuminate your face. This writer wishes she’d known that when she was teaching on Zoom last spring.
Yaakov Katz Studios travels everywhere. He has executed live stream and Zoom in simchos in Monsey, The Five Towns, Canada, and all over. He does both indoors and outdoors, following all COVID-19 protocols.
He explained the difference between using Zoom and livestream, and he offers the choice of either one to his customers. With livestream, you receive your own webpage and it’s like YouTube. You just watch the video, while with Zoom you can interact.
By Susie Garber