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When it’s party time, it’s digital photography time! Dinner parties, balls and soirees deserved to be photographed just as much as the fraternity kegger, the backyard cookout or the guys’ poker night. Whether you’re attending as a guest and want to capture the fun of the evening with your group or a pro or semi-pro that has been hired to cover the event, there are a number of tips that will help you tell a more complete story of what happened on that occasion. Read Part 1 of this PhotographyTalk.com article for the first 5 tips, the other 6 are below.
Learn How to Shoot Without a Flash.
Using the flash unit on your camera will be appreciated even less by guests than wielding a long lens. It’s important that you thoroughly understand how to control ISO on your DSLR camera, so more of the available light can be captured to illuminate your pictures. If you’re shooting with a compact camera, then disable auto flash and test the camera’s various settings to determine which will match the event’s specific lighting situation. Of course, the better the sensor in a compact camera, the more likely any low-light photos will have greater quality, more balanced color and less blurring.
Learn Your Camera’s Mode Settings.
You will have various shooting modes available to you, depending on the type of camera you are using. Some of these modes could provide the right exposure for an event’s specific location. For example, one mode may match well with a beach party, but another mode is better for a dance with low lights of various party colors. This is another good reason to arrive at the event early, so you can fire a few test images at various shooting mode settings to determine which is best for the location.
Take Advantage of Any Zoom Range.
If you’ve equipped yourself with a 24–70mm zoom lens or similar focal length range, then use whatever telephoto length you have to record the chatter and interaction of guests from a bit of a distance. You’ll be even less intrusive, which may allow you to shoot pictures you couldn’t if you were closer.
Know the Human Animal.
Dinner parties, balls and reception are social events; and humans are social animals. Take a few minutes to survey the room and guests as a psychologist might and notice how people act and react. You’ll quickly recognize that certain interactions and situations almost always cause or include a specific kind of response, facial expression or body language that can become some of your better photos of the event. Once you develop this skill, you’ll be able to anticipate when people are about to give you a great moment that you must record.
Look for Unique, Wild Angles.
It’s difficult to think of and shoot parties and events differently than they’ve already been photographed millions of times, but you might bag a unique image or two if you shoot from the hip or place your camera on the floor or a tabletop. Find a stepladder or stand on a chair. Bring a pair of roller skates. Do a little out-of-the-box thinking and visit the event venue in advance to find unusual positions from which to shoot.
Let Everyone See the Glitz and Glamour.
Photos of these kinds of events are perfect content for photo-sharing sites, such as PhotographyTalk.com, or immediate sharing via Facebook, Twitter, etc.