Five Minutes with Julia Siegel

By Renee Kestenbaum
On March 6, 2012

Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, Julia Siegel, SCW '13, is becoming the go-to girl on campus for poignant photography. Siegel's photos have been used by the Alumni Affairs and Admissions Offices, as well as in the pages of The Observer. "I love being involved," she says, "and I'm excited that I can use my photography to help further my involvement at Stern." Siegel maintains a digital portfolio on her Facebook profile, deceivingly titled "Pictures of the Day(ish)" though it's updated sporadically and often with one picture at a time, with prime shots from around Stern, NYC, Israel, and some that are just plain random.


In her own words:

"My mom taught me the basics [of photography]. When we'd go on family trips my mom would always let me use the camera. I broke a couple of them, but I also captured many moments from our trips.

"I took a photojournalism class in tenth grade, where I learned a lot more, and then I became the photography editor of the high school yearbook.

"There's different types of photography – there's the kind where you take pictures of nature or pose people, but there's also the kind where you watch animals and people and take pictures of their natural behaviors. I really like taking those kinds of candid pictures.

"Sometimes there's lighting challenges that make it tough. You have to know ahead of time about any unusual conditions – like taking photos indoors, on a stage – you have to be prepared to work with it.

"There are other times when you'll be photographing a moment that will only happen once, and you can't miss it. For the yearbook, we'd always have a picture of the Homecoming King and Queen finding out they'd won, their shocked expressions. Something like that's only going to happen once. You have to be ready to capture the moment. And then, if you miss the moment, you also have to think outside the box to find another photo you can use to show what happened. Sports pictures are really hard [for the same reason]."

Siegel's future plans: "I'm majoring in Sociology, but I'm minoring in Studio Art. I took some of [SCW's] computer design classes, and I'm also taking some photography classes at FIT. I don't know if I'm not planning to do anything official with photography, like for a career, but it will be a hobby, something I'll do on the side for the rest of my life. I want to do something kiruv-y while I change the world, and who knows, maybe I'll be able to change the world with photography."


Tips for Budding Photographers:

Whenever you're taking pictures, take more than one. That way you can look at all the shots and pick which ones came out the best. Especially with an event that will only happen once - take a couple hundred. You'll probably end up with several dozen good ones.

Whenever you start taking pictures, use the Auto setting on your camera. See what the camera gives you for light settings, and then use the other modes on your camera to play around from there.

Think outside the box. Sometimes a picture straight down the middle is great, but maybe you can do something more creative.

Buy a large memory card, so you can take lots of pictures, and a card reader if your laptop doesn't already have one.

Siegel captures the moment with a Nikon D80, which she got as a Hannukah present in eleventh grade.

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