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David Sahadi: “Take your time”

1) Find ideal lighting. You want to not only look at the actual lighting in the shot, but also the shadows created in the area, and any natural or additional lighting that may be bouncing off of mirrors, metal items, windows, etc. 2) Feel the energy in the room. Emotion is hard to hide, especially on […]

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1) Find ideal lighting. You want to not only look at the actual lighting in the shot, but also the shadows created in the area, and any natural or additional lighting that may be bouncing off of mirrors, metal items, windows, etc.

2) Feel the energy in the room. Emotion is hard to hide, especially on camera. If you or your muse is uncomfortable or preoccupied in thought, everyone will know.

3) Timing. You’ve got to get a feel for when to aim and when to shoot. This part is a bit of an art. But often, the best shots aren’t the posey, perfectly positioned, and posied shots.

4) Take your time. The worst thing you can do is rush art. If you’re just starting out, or not feeling the flow of a shoot — there’s a sure-fire way to make it even harder for you, and that’s if you rush.

5) Play music. Music isn’t always helpful but it tends to ease the tension of awkward silence. It makes the photographer more comfortable and less critical, and the muse more comfortable and less conscious of their movements.


I had the pleasure of interviewing David Sahadi of Sahadi Photography, with studios in NJ/NYC and South Florida . He’s been capturing life’s special moments for more than 30 years. Known for having an eye for light, form, and detail, Sahadi’s shot everything from Ralph Lauren campaigns to unforgettable weddings.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Sadly, I was in the middle of becoming a professional race car driver, but tragedy struck our family. I had a 27-year-old sister who was killed by a drunk driver. My father, at the time, let me know that I was upsetting my mother continuing down this path, and I quit. My father was a professional photographer as a young man and was actually quite incredible, featured in prominent magazines. I picked up on that and felt I had a natural creative ability. I also always loved taking photographs when I was a kid.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

That’s a tough one. However, I think it was part of lucky situation by meeting a beautiful well-connected family who gave me a number of opportunities to photograph many Special Events for them. Including being able to photograph ex-President Bill Clinton along with his wife Hillary at a French restaurant called Le Guan Wei in NYC. I will be forever grateful to this incredible family.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

While much of my work was photographing in NYC, being from NJ, a friend of mine helped me get some of my first jobs under my belt. Feeling I was a very good photographer, they set me up with an interview with a men’s magazine. Not knowing this at the time, I walked into the office being greeted by a very beautiful woman. My friend told me I would be photographing models. I was thinking “wow this is great” — taking pictures of beautiful women as one of my first major jobs. Not a bad way of starting out.

A gentleman walks out, camera in hand, and says “follow me.”

As I am walking down the hallway, we enter a room where there were two totally naked women. While that certainly put a smile on my face, this was a huge embarrassment to me, as this is not the kind of work I wanted to do. So I politely let him know, this is not the kind of work I wanted to do. He understood, and we both had a big laugh over a cup of coffee.

As far as the lesson learned, well not so sure, but my guess would be, “know what you are getting into, before starting.”

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I received an Associates degree in fine art photography when I lived in L.A. The first day in class, even though I had been taking photographs for quite some time, our professor asked us, a class of about thirty students, “Can anyone tell me what the word photography means?”

For as many years that I had been shooting, I felt the mud on my face, as I was not aware all these years, that the word photography even had a meaning. The answer, “Painting with light” — not sure if I ever felt this ignorant. But the funny thing is, I was not alone, as no one else knew that either. The second thing our professor did was hand out a color 8×10 photograph of a food shot dedicated to a front cover for a magazine to all of the students.

We learned that a cover shot for a prominent national magazine has to be looked at by several editors before being published. But the thing was, this photograph had something very wrong with it but was still published. This class was an hour and a half. We literally had all that time to figure it out. Not one of us, including myself, had the correct answer.

It was not until he told us what it was, how obvious it became, and we all wanted to take a gun to our heads. Right in the middle of the picture, there was a fly. He told us that there was only one student in all the many years that found it. I’m not sure if I ever forgave myself for that one. So as far as the question states, “What makes my company stand out”?

I painstakingly pay attention to detail like no one else. From a missing button on a shirt to a crease on a collar. Lesson learned!

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

One must always start at the beginning. Meaning the first thing a beginner photographer must achieve is learning his tool of the trade inside out. I was often amazed by how many pro photographers do not know their cameras like they should. The more you know and understand your camera, the better you will become, and the less stress you will have on a photo shoot that could be above your level, and lead to not being able to do the job you have been hired and paid to do.

Pace yourself, and never take on more than you are equipped for. No one needs that kind of stress. Also never be ashamed of asking for help. We all need that from time to time.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I would not be where I am today without the help of both my Father, Mother, and my sister. They all believed in me and also helped me financially in purchasing some of my equipment. Also, there have been people in my life, who had given me opportunities in getting me some photo jobs which led to bigger and better things. And I will always be indebted to many of them.

Are you working on any exciting projects now?

Well, I have actually just completed a very large art project in Miami for a Doctor who lives in Hawaii. The project lasted three days of shooting, as this was one of the most detailed endeavors I have just about worked on. The detail was everything, and I am proud to say the client was extremely happy with my work and told me, he looks forward to working with me again in the near future. Always great to hear this from a client. Most grateful.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Success does not always mean financially compensated. Success can be putting a smile on someone’s face that may not be as well off as others. I believe we are measured by what we do for people through our actions and our deeds.

For me, one example is every year I donate my services for free to the Alzheimer’s Association. There are projects through each calendar year, that I donate my photography services for free. And to me, there is no better feeling than helping those that are less fortunate.

Can you share “5 Things Anyone Can Do To Take Stunning Photos”?Please an example for each.

Actually, this is not an easy question to answer. If one is not in the photography field, there is no magic answer to this. That’s like asking a doctor if there’s something he can teach you to do an operation better.

If you are not a Doctor, this could not be taught. However, if you are interested in improving your skills in any field, I would suggest doing quite a bit of reading and learning everything you can on a subject you’re interested in. Even with all my many years and experience, I never stop learning and will continue to take in all I can.

There are countless angles and strategies photographers have to produce incredible shots. It involves a little preparation and a little luck. Some skill and a lot of talent. That being said, these are the top five strategies I use to take stunning photos:

1) Find ideal lighting. You want to not only look at the actual lighting in the shot, but also the shadows created in the area, and any natural or additional lighting that may be bouncing off of mirrors, metal items, windows, etc.

2) Feel the energy in the room. Emotion is hard to hide, especially on camera. If you or your muse is uncomfortable or preoccupied in thought, everyone will know.

3) Timing. You’ve got to get a feel for when to aim and when to shoot. This part is a bit of an art. But often, the best shots aren’t the posey, perfectly positioned, and posied shots.

4) Take your time. The worst thing you can do is rush art. If you’re just starting out, or not feeling the flow of a shoot — there’s a sure-fire way to make it even harder for you, and that’s if you rush.

5) Play music. Music isn’t always helpful but it tends to ease the tension of awkward silence. It makes the photographer more comfortable and less critical, and the muse more comfortable and less conscious of their movements.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

My movement would be: To always help people that can not help themselves. I am also a big animal lover, and am involved in stopping animal abuse, and would like to get the message out there to always be kind to all animals as abuse has become all too often. Spread good, and you will be rewarded!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

https://www.facebook.com/SahadiPhotographyDelrayBeach
https://www.linkedin.com/in/studio6photography/
https://www.instagram.com/davidsahadi/
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