5 Tips For Photographing Holiday Parties – GUEST BLOG

Title: 5 Tips For Photographing Holiday Parties

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The holiday season is nearly upon us, and for photographers that may mean a number of Christmas events and similar holiday parties coming up. People love to have professional quality photos of these special events, and indeed it’s a great time of year to create some lasting memories. That said, however, there are certain steps a photographer can take to make sure holiday party photos come out as nicely as possible!

Here are 5 tips for photographing a holiday party.

1. Shoot Groups From An Angle

This is a wonderful tip from Design Instruct online, and provides a great way to add some depth to a group party photo. The fact is, most of us – even professionals – tend to photograph groups in perfect poses, often long horizontal lines of party guests photographed from dead center ahead. Photographing from an angle can better capture the depth and atmosphere of a party, and provides a bit more context in the background.

2. If There’s A Dance Floor, Use It!

Candid photos can be tricky to capture in a party atmosphere, simply because people tend to be aware of cameras. But the dance floor can be an exception, and offers you a great opportunity to capture party guests when they’re unaware, but still laughing, smiling and inadvertently posing. It’s often the best chance during a holiday party – or any party for that matter – to capture great candid shots.

3. Bring A Few Holiday Props

You don’t want to be too blatant about this, or it can quickly become “cheesy.” But a few props to add holiday atmosphere to ordinary shots can be a nice idea. M&S is currently offering some seasonal flower bouquets that can be great accents to Christmas parties, providing fresh flowers in just the right colours for the season. Again, don’t go overboard – but a portable light display, wreathe, or bouquet of flowers may be worth having on hand.

4. Consider RAW Formant

Shooting holiday party photos in RAW image format can be a good way to avoid some of the issues that can come about as a result of lighting. Any party can have tricky lighting, but during the holidays, with decorations and twinkly lights all over the place, lighting can be a nightmare for a photographer. Of course, for some photographers these lights and decorations offer as much in the way of opportunity as difficulty. But shooting RAW photos can sometimes leave you more opportunity to play around with colour and light editing later on.

5. Take Part In The Party

Finally, remember to participate. Viewing a party as a job can reflect in the photos, whereas enjoying yourself allows you to notice and participate in important images and moments. This is a valuable tip for photographing any party.

Fireworks Photography Tips


Here’s a selection of photos from Leeds’ Roundhay Park firework display on 5th December 2013, and a few tips on how we did them.

Get a good place to watch them


A good clear view is best, you get to watch the entire journey of all the fireworks. Too close and you may end up with some great explosion shots, but getting further away allows more options.

Don’t expose for too long


You need a long exposure, but not hugely long, because the additive effect of lots of explosions will be a burned out photo. Most of these image were 8-10 seconds, this gave them ong enough to explode to their full extent, yet not blow out. 30 second shots can end up being very busy and lose all shape.

Control the ambient light


We don’t want a bright orange sky – so it’s well worth sorting your exposure out in advance – take some photos of the sky, using ISO

100 and 10 seconds – then meter to get an aperture which leaves the sky where the fireworks appear looking dark

Pre Focus – then switch Autofocus off



Don’t risk missing an opportunity by having the camera focus system start searching when you hit the shutter. In advance, find something to focus on – a light near the firework start point is ideal. Focus on this, using Auto Focus. Now switch it off. Periodically check the focus hasn’t changed – you may knock the ring.

Use a cable release


It well worth using, your camera will move slighly if you press the shutter – so a cable stops this happening.

Enjoy the rest of the photos….

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