7 Tips for Taking Memorable Party Photos

24 December 2021

Parties are a great place to capture special moments between friends and family; long-awaited reunions, dynamic moves on the dance floor or a vibrant dinner party. Whether you simply want to be able to capture better quality photos of shared time together or start taking professional event photos, we’re here to offer some advice. Capturing sharp and vibrant party photos while still finding time to enjoy yourself is possible! All you need is a camera, a lens and a bit of practice. Here are our top party photography tips.

1. Don’t be too formal

While you want to make sure you’ve captured everyone in attendance, formal photos don’t always suit the occasion. Pulling guests into photos as soon as they walk through the door is unlikely to result in relaxed and natural images fit for the photo album. The best party pictures make the viewer feel like they are really there and give them a feel for what the party was actually like. This is what you are aiming to capture in your images, rather than just documentation of attendees. Give guests the chance to grab a drink, mingle and catch up before you start taking their photos.

7 Tips for Taking Memorable Party Photos7 Tips for Taking Memorable Party Photos

2. Try taking candid portraits

7 Tips for Taking Memorable Party Photos7 Tips for Taking Memorable Party Photos

Consider taking some of your shots without the guests being aware that you have them within your frame. That will result in more authentic, candid portraits. Most people are more likely to be their most natural selves when they don’t have a camera aimed at their face. Hang back and blend into the crowd, use a slightly longer focal length, or even try to shoot from the hip, using a camera with a tilting LCD screen to help with framing. These steps can help you fire off most of your shots without getting in the way.

3. Use flash

Flash photography provides more consistent results in dim lighting conditions, which is often exactly what you will find yourself battling at a party. For better results, try using flash. The direct flash approach, which is now common in many fashion shoots that are looking to emulate a lo-fi party aesthetic, can be achieved with the built-in flash of your camera. If you are aiming for something a little more high-brow, bounce flash is the way to go. This technique is relatively simple to master but does require a hot-shoe mounted speedlight flash gun.

7 Tips for Taking Memorable Party Photos7 Tips for Taking Memorable Party Photos

4. Learn how to shoot in low light

7 Tips for Taking Memorable Party Photos7 Tips for Taking Memorable Party Photos

Be prepared to combat low-light conditions without relying on flash. The low light can often create a unique look and feel to your images, and you’re less likely to disturb partygoers if you’re capturing a more intimate party. The main setting that you will want to adjust when dealing with the dark is ISO. Raising the ISO helps you to capture well-exposed images without camera shake. But be mindful, the higher the ISO used, the greater amount of image noise captured - so it’s important to raise the ISO gradually.

Another way to let more light in is to increase the Aperture setting of your camera lens, which also helps produce greater background blur if this is something you desire in your images. If you really want to improve your low-light shooting ability, consider using a prime lens for your party pictures, as these lenses generally make up for their lack of zoom by including much faster maximum apertures. To learn more about how to use the right aperture, check out our blog post “depth of field, and how to get it right”.

5. Experiment with different angles

Parties are spontaneous and vibrant. Capturing the movement of people talking, dancing, and embracing can be tricky. A great way to illustrate the real feel of the event is to avoid shooting all of your photos straight on with your subjects in the centre of the frame. Try shooting from a little lower, higher, or even to the side of your subjects to give the viewer of your images the vantage point of another partygoer. When you look back at your images, you will feel as though you are there yourself.

7 Tips for Taking Memorable Party Photos7 Tips for Taking Memorable Party Photos

6. Throw some props into the mix

7 Tips for Taking Memorable Party Photos7 Tips for Taking Memorable Party Photos

Setting up a photo corner or booth with props is a great way to get some interesting party pictures. Silly costumes or fun accessories can help people to loosen up a little, and when people are relaxed they often take better photos. That’s a good tip to remember for taking photos at a wedding party! For a fancy dress or Halloween party, your props can be themed. Instagram is also full of unique, interesting ideas for photo booths. Making photo props can also be a fun DIY task for guests to join in with!

7. Be part of the party

If you are relaxed and enjoying yourself, the people around you will be more likely to do the same.  It’s easy to feel the pressure if you’ve been asked to capture specific people or moments and even more so if you’re being paid and someone is relying on you. But the more you are able to blend into the party, the better your photos will be. Take some time out to relax and mingle, or even have a dance while you take photographs. People will feel comfortable around you and your laid back atmosphere will be evident in your finished work.

7 Tips for Taking Memorable Party Photos7 Tips for Taking Memorable Party Photos

Prep for the next party with these products

Party photography can be fun and unpredictable. You never know what might happen and it pays to be prepared. You will find all the gear and camera equipment you need online at Ted’s. Or visit your local Ted’s Cameras store to get expert advice from Ted’s staff.

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