Making sure you're ready to capture any planned event is part of the
key to a successful shoot. Get yourself ready and scout the location
of your shots.
- Pack the camera - goes without saying?
- Make sure your batteries are charged and you have extras and/or
the recharger packed.
- Pack extra memory cards- have them empty and ready to fill up.
- Consider the light in the room that you'll be photographing in.
Is there enough light?
Will you need a flash?
Are the backgrounds too cluttered and distracting?
2. Check Your White Balance
Pay attention to what type of light you're shooting in and set your
white balance settings accordingly. Alternatively, if you've got a camera
that shoots in RAW you can shoot away and set your white balance later.
3. Set up a DIY Photo Booth
Set up a "portrait zone" of your own where you'll take photos
of your guest. Set up a little place where you can ask everyone who
came to sit so that you can take a nice shot of them. Then leave the
camera set up on a tripod and set to a short self timer so people can
photograph themselves during the rest of the party. Use a well lit position
with a velvet curtain looking background with a few decorations around
4. Before and After Shots
Why not set up some before and after shots both of the place you're
holding your party and what it looks like afterwards. Make sure you
take the shots from the same position. Tell the story with photos.
5. Find a Point of Interest - but just per shot
All good shots should have a focal point that holds the attention of
those viewing your images. The problem with a Holiday gathering is that
there can often be too many competing focal points in shots with people,
color, decorations, and food in every shot. Work hard and de-clutter
6. Fresh Group Photos
One of the most common types of shots during the holidays is the "group
photo". It's usually taken at the end of the evening or day when
everyone is looking their worst. For a "fresher" shot, take
it once everyone has arrived. Also think before hand about how you might
pose everyone and where you might take the shot.
7. Fill Your Frame
One of the most common mistakes in event photos is that people often
end up with shots of their subjects off in the distance on the other
side of a room with lots of space around them. Fill your frame with
your subject either by using your zoom or getting up and moving yourself
8. Opening Gifts - Shoot in Continuous Mode
There are certain moments during a Christmas gathering that are filled
with all manner of photographic opportunities and the opening of gifts
is like no other in that it is filled with an array of emotions, facial
expressions and excitement - especially if you've got kids around. Switch
your camera to burst mode (sometimes called continuous shooting mode)
and take lots of shots at this time of the festivities. You'll find
you end up with some excellent series of shots when you do this that
capture everything from the anticipation of getting the wrapped gift,
through to the excitement of unwrapping to the joy (or occasionally
disappointment) of seeing what's inside. Don't forget to shoot the reactions
of those who GIVE the gift as well.
9. Diffuse/Reflect Your Flash
Another common problem with event shots is ending up with shots where
the flash is so bright that subjects look like rabbits in a spotlight
with harsh shadows behind them. One way around this is to use some sort
of flash diffuser or refl ector. If you’re lucky enough to have an external
fl ash, try bouncing it off walls or the ceiling. Another way to reduce
the impact of your flash and to create some interesting effects is to
switch your camera into "night mode" (slow sync mode). This will tell
your camera to choose a slower shutter speed but still fire your flash.
In doing so it'll capture some of the ambient light of the room as well
as freeze your subject. Be warned, you can end up with some wacky shots
doing this (but they can also be lots of fun).
10. Go Macro
Most digital cameras come with a macro mode so flick to that mode, attach
your lens and photograph the smaller things around your party. Ornaments
on the tree, table decorations, sweets in the bowl on the table, a nativity
scene on the mantle piece, holly above the doorway - sometimes it's
these small things around your party that are the real "money shots".
11. Shooting Outdoors at Night
When shooting outdoor lights - you'll get the best results when you
shoot at twilight. That way, you'll capture some color in the sky, rather
than the pitch-black tone that will be recorded on film later at night.
Make sure to pack your tripod to steady the camera. Use a slow curtain
flash sync when capturing both a subject and the lights behind the subject.
Most cameras have a built in mode specifically designed for this shooting
12. Get Candid
There's nothing wrong with pictures that are posed, but you can create
variety by taking candid shots at family and social gatherings. Capture
people while they're engaged in conversation or as they're opening a
gift. Keep your camera batteries charged up and your camera nearby so
you can catch spontaneous moments. Most digital cameras have a Motion
or Sports setting that allows you to capture people in motion without
blur in the photo. If your camera has shutter priority mode, you can
use a higher shutter speed (1/100 to 1/400 seconds) to reduce motion
content provided bt RitzPix Photo Patrol
photos by DAVID FOOTE Layton, Utah