Saturday, December 27, 2014

Tips for Photographing Christmas/New Year's Parties

Happy Holidays!  Christmas is upon us, and New Years Eve is almost here! If you are going out to celebrate and want to get some great shots, here are some tips!  

Most likely you will be close to the subjects, so you should use your wide angle to normal lens (18-55, 17-55, 17-85, etc)

1. Use MANUAL(M) mode.
2. Choose ISO 400
3. Set the shutter speed to 1/60th of a second or 1/125th of a second if people are moving quickly or dancing.
4. Set the aperture to F8. Yes, by doing this your camera meter isn't zeroed, it's in the minus. That's fine. You are going to light them up with the flash.
5. Pop up or turn on your flash and set it to TTL mode.
6. Take a test shot.
Most likely the flash might put out too much power, so if the image is too bright, use your FLASH EXPOSURE COMPENSATION( LIGHTNING BOLT SYMBOL+/-, found on the camera or under the functions menu) to turn the flash power down. Take another shot, and if the image is still too bright, turn it down more.

If the image is too dark, use the FEC to turn the flash power up. Take another shot, and if the image is still too dark, turn it up more.

If you have an external flash, you can try bouncing the flash off the ceiling if it's low enough. You may have to turn the power up a bit, or use Manual flash mode and adjust the power until it gives you the right amount of light.
By using these settings, you should get sharp images of your loved ones as they bring on the holiday cheer! Just make sure they don't spill beer and wine on your camera!!!

If you don't have manual mode and just have a basic point and shoot, probably going with the AUTO/PROGRAM/PARTY mode will be the setting to choose. 


I hope you find these tips useful!
If so, it would be awesome if you could download the FREE version of my LearnPhoto365 Photography Assignment Generator Apps on the app store, a unique photography app that's meant to inspire you to take great photos!

Perfect for anyone taking part in a Photo 365 challenge, there are over a hundred individual assignments and hundreds of thousands of potential random ones. Versions available for iPhone/iPod and iPad, including free versions so you can try them out! Full details, including reviews and tour videos of the apps can be found at Even if you only download the free version that would help get it up the app store lists!

If you want to try to get some more background exposure so it doesn't go completely black, or you would like to create some blur effects, try some slower shutter speeds like 1/15th-1/4th.
If you have a basic point and shoot, you could try the night photography mode with the flash on.

And if you have the chance, nab all those great embarassing and funny shots too!

Sorry Kerry! :)

If you are heading out before the parties to shoot fireworks, check out my post on how to get great firework photos!


Noel Chenier

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Noel Chenier

Photographer and teacher
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