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How to Take Great Party Photos: 9 Tips
December 22, 2022

How to Take Great Party Photos: 9 Tips

Reading Time: 4 minutes

A great party shot should be as good as the party itself, if not better. Here’s how to nail your party photography.

Do you ever look at photos from a party on Instagram and think about how enjoyable it must have been? We’ve all been there. The truth is that even if a party is not that fun, a good set of photos can make it look like something else entirely.

However, shooting good photos at a party is easier said than done. It’s an uncontrolled environment, so you might not always get the shot you want. So, we’ve compiled some essential tips you should keep in mind the next time you want to take incredible party photos.

1. Get Close to the Action

You won’t get any cool photos by just lurking around the corner. Follow larger groups and try to tune in with what’s happening around the room. Apart from just focusing on that perfect portrait, try to take photos of groups and the different activities happening at the party.

Once you think you’re in the right moment, use a wide-angle lens to capture more elements and people. You should also try to take candid photos of people rather than trying to create a forced scene. Good photos from a party should look natural and let the viewer feel like they are there in the moment.

2. Experiment With Different Angles and Perspectives

In a more isolated environment, you get to focus on taking the perfect shot with one click. Unfortunately, that’s not entirely possible in an uncontrolled environment such as a party. So, experimentation is your friend here. Play around with different angles and perspectives to catch the lighting and your subject in various ways.

You won’t always get what you want with just one shot. Try to take as many photos as you can, even if the angle and perspective don’t feel right at the moment. Of course, image stabilization also helps in these situations, so make sure you get the right camera.

3. Use Natural Light to Your Advantage

This tip will vary a bit depending on when and where the party is being held. If it’s an outdoor environment, then try to use natural light as much as you can. This works well if you’re trying to capture more lively moments of the party and want to get the effect of hard/soft shadows.

You can still take advantage of the surrounding lighting at an indoor party. For example, if you’re in a club-like setting, don’t be afraid of getting wilder shots with some flashing lights in the background. Also, try to create a bokeh effect with your camera.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Posed Shots

People at a party are more willing to let loose and have fun. It’s the perfect chance to ask for someone to pose. You might think that some people will say no, but may find yourself surprised by how many people will agree.

Asking for posed shots allows you to play around with the setting yourself, and you could get a good portrait out of that.

5. Use Your Phone to Take Candid Shots

A mirrorless camera or a DSLR is usually great for taking photos of any sort. However, for taking quick candid shots, pulling out your phone is always a better idea. Candid photos work well for parties as you can capture the emotions of people in a real, almost vulnerable sort of way.

We recommend doing this with a phone as that is always going to be quicker. You can still do it with a dedicated camera, but most smartphones these days can quickly capture photos with gorgeous detail.

6. Get Creative With the Composition

If you want to be a good photographer, you need to get comfortable with finding the right composition for all of your shots. All photographers should know how to use the rule of thirds, and be aware of the golden ratio as well. You should also look out for leading lines that can draw the eye of the viewer to your subject.

To capture the liveliness of the party, try to flesh out the frame. If you’re taking a portrait, a central composition also works well, and this further allows you to create depth between the foreground and background.

7. Capture Movement and Action

You should try to capture as much movement and action as possible. This allows you to create dynamic shots that convey an activity at the party. Try using a faster shutter speed to freeze the action and movement of your subjects. This way, you can get still shots that can show an interesting moment.

Other than that, you could also play around with panning photography. You can do this by using a faster shutter speed and panning your lens along the subject’s movement to freeze them against a background while they are in motion.

8. Use Editing Software to Touch Up and Enhance Your Photos

A good photographer should also be comfortable with editing tools, and a good edit has the ability to turn a decent photo into a great one. You can use any software you prefer to enhance your photos.

You could use Photoshop or other professional tools, or go with some of the best free photo editing software for a quick edit.

9. Have Fun and Be Spontaneous

Finally, our list tip is not so much about photography, but about enjoying the party. You’ll only capture the best moments when you’re in the right mood. So, apart from just focusing on taking photos, make sure you are having fun and enjoying yourself. Being spontaneous also helps as you can quickly realize what time is right for a good photo.

Take Party Photos That Look Better Than the Party Itself

Remember, pictures can say a lot more about a party compared to verbal communication. All of those over-the-top parties you see online are more of a result of great photos. If you incorporate these tips, then you’ll be taking similar Instagram-worthy party photos in no time.

It’s also a good way of getting comfortable taking great pictures. Once you are able to take good photos in a spontaneous manner, it will become second nature. Of course, before you get to that point, you should be aware of the fundamentals and basics of good photography.


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