ENTERTAINING HOLIDAY entertaining PARTY ideas + decor

The art of taking pictures at a party

photography tips at a party

Just in time for the big Christmas party, I taught it would be handy to give you tips on how to take better pictures at the party. After all, photos are memories that we will cherish for years to come.

Natural poses

Beautiful photography is about capturing expressions. The best pictures display peoples as they are. So try not to ask people to pose for the camera.

Instead take tons of shots “au natural”, take several shots of a scene as it occurs and you will dig afterwards the best photos. I learned this trick from my wedding photographer who used to work as a fashion photographer.

Forgo the flash

Using a flash creates shadows, can overexpose the colors and people with sensible eyes look weird. For that reason, I try to take pictures without a flash. For an indoor party, you probably need to adjust your ISO to 400 or 800. If the room is really dark and you do not mind the grainy look, set the ISO at 1600. You can always finish them as black and white.

Photography is a trial and error activity. My advice is that you experiment in the room first to determine which ISO level produces the best results. When in doubts, repeat the same shot at different ISO levels.

Go manual

If you never moved away from the Auto mode before, here are my tips for beginners. I am an amateur photographer with little experience but I moved away from the Auto mode because this is how you create effects. And do not be afraid, digital photography allows you to take as many shots as you like for free.

When you go manual, you need to be aware of the Exposure triangle: ISO, shutter speed and aperture. A change in one influences the two others. Read the informative Digital Photography Tips for Beginners post by Digital Photography School to understand how they interact.

From my experience, shutter speed is critical for action shots and night shots. Beside ISO, aperture is my best friend. Large aperture (small f numbers) decreases the depth of field which results in a magical blurry background. That effect comes handy for portrait photography as all the attention is on the subject.

If you want more Tips for Shooting a Party, read this post written by Lara Ferroni for her Still Life With. blog. She showed us nice party photos with a blurry background. As a starting point, get inspired by the poses and the angles of her photographs. With practice, you will be able to develop your own style.

Crop and make adjustments

Before you send your photos to your friends and family, take the time to edit them. Crop the image, play with filters, lights, adjust the exposure and add some contrast to embellish your photos. If you did not buy Adobe’s Photoshop, I find that Picasa by Google produces great results.

Have fun at your party tonight. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Learn more: Digital Photography Tips for Beginners published on Digital Photography School
Learn more: Tips for Shooting a Party published on Still Life With.
Learn more: Picasa

  • patricia gray
    December 24, 2007 at 19:20

    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2008!!

  • Bettina
    December 26, 2007 at 22:48

    Thanks for these great tips – and so timely, too! I’ll put them to use at my New Year’s Party. No more red-eye for my guests.