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Top tips for Christmas party photography

Christmas party photography guide

So somebody at work thought it would be a great idea to have a designated photographer for this year’s Christmas party and guess what? They have asked you to be that person.

There’s no getting out of it, so you just have to get on with it. But don’t panic! With a few tips from Print Your Memory, you will be prepared for the big day and will achieve some amazing Christmas party photography.

Read on to find out how.


Plan ahead

As with many things in life, planning is the key to success for Christmas party photography. First of all, make sure you understand what is required. For example, does the organiser want posed or informal shots, individuals or groups etc. Does everyone have to be included or just whoever you manage to snap on the night? If it’s everyone, it can help to create a list of names so that you can tick them off on the night.

It’s also a good idea to check out the venue in advance. This can help you to decide where you are going to take any posed photos on the night, particularly group shots. You can also get a good idea of the kind of lighting you will be working with.


Be fully prepared on the night

When it’s time for the event itself, ensure you get there early so that you can get set up well in advance. There will always be at least one guest who also gets there early and will want to chat even though you are busy, so steel yourself for this : perhaps think of a job that they can do to help. 

Also make sure that you remember to take all the equipment you will need, including camera(s), lenses, accessories, memory cards, plus any spares such as batteries. If in doubt, take things rather than leaving them behind then realising you need them after all.


Catch them quick!

It’s a good idea to start taking shots of people as soon as they arrive, especially if you have a list of people to work through. Otherwise it is very easy for time to slip by and some people to escape the camera completely. Also bear in mind that people will probably look their best earlier in the evening rather than later, so it’s a good time to take any individual or group posed shots.

At this point you may want to recruit a helper to herd people in front of the camera and tick names off your list for you!


Stage your shots

In our recent guide How to learn about photography we explained the importance of staging your shot to ensure a good focus on the subject(s) balanced against the use of white space in your photograph. Try to avoid either wasted space or lots of distractions in the background, as these can both detract from the impact of the subject(s).

You may want to vary the angle of your shot, or even take group shots from higher up – for example standing on a staircase or chair – to make the shot more interesting and ensure that people at the back can be seen.

Getting the right lighting is also very important. In the above article we discussed the exposure triangle, which is the process of adjusting your camera settings – aperture, shutter speed, and ISO – to ensure the best amount of light in the camera. 

Another option is to boost the lighting by using flash. If you do this, you may want to also use a diffuser or reflector – for example an umbrella – to tone down any potential harshness from the brightness of the flash. 



Consider using props

One way to achieve some fun Christmas party photography is to set up a simple photo booth area, with props that people can use to pose in. This often encourages more people to have their photo taken, even if they are naturally reluctant to do so. 

You don’t have to spend a lot of time and effort on this : you could just ask everyone to bring something with them that could be donated or loaned to the cause. Hats, wigs, glasses, masks, gloves, bow ties, musical instruments, and many other simple but fun objects can provide fun entertainment for party guests – and some great photos to laugh about afterwards.


Get the job finished

Just as important as taking the photographs at the event itself is what you do with them afterwards. The two main things here are to edit them, then store them safely for future use. 

Let’s take a quick look at both of these:

  • Editing your photos

No matter how good your photos are on the night, you may be able to improve them further with a bit of careful editing afterwards. Our article How to use the best photo editing apps contains lots of hints and tips on how to go about this.

Be careful not to over edit your photos. Unless you are deliberately aiming for a dramatic or arty effect, the best editing is that which looks natural and is simply used for improvements to the image such as lighting, contrast, colour definition or removing issues such as red eye.

  • Storing your photos

You need to be clear what the organiser wants you to do with the photographs afterwards. For example, are any of them to be published on the company’s website, social media feeds or intranet, or perhaps in print format in a newsletter?

So while the event is still fresh in your mind, sort through the photos, delete the ones that you don’t want, then give the rest meaningful names and store them safely. Some examples of ways to do this are to use the well-known cloud storage suppliers such as Google, iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive and DropBox. There are also many other specialised photo storage solutions around such as SmugMug, Amazon Prime Photos, Flickr and Photobucket. Any of these will also enable you to share the photos with those that need access to them.


We hope that this guide helps you to make a success of your Christmas party photography this year, and that your efforts are appreciated..

Good luck! And for further tips check out our other guides from Print Your Memory.


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