How To Take Respectable Photos At Parties:
All you wanted to do was take a relaxed, semi-posed photograph of friends while out at a bar, restaurant or party. But for some reason they see you and your camera as the most inept combination of man and machine since the dawn of time. If you’re fairly good at sales, you can probably convince them that it won’t be that bad and snap a few before being chased with cries of “You have to delete that!” The funny part is that the revolt is usually led by someone who has over 1,500 photos of themselves on various social networking sites. However, if you are truly worried that your shots really will turn out poorly, here’s a few things you can do to make them much better and calm your friends’ fears.
Know your camera: You don’t have to know what every button does or why it does it but having a basic understanding of where the big button is and how to turn on the flash will do wonders for the nervous folks standing in front of the lens. Nobody likes seeing a dentist having trouble with the drill, same goes for cameras.
Pick a good background: Position everyone in front of something that is uncluttered and not too far off from the average skin tone of the group. Cameras are smart but can only select one exposure setting per shot. If you’re taking a picture of the “Tanning Bed Napping Society” in front of a lightly coloredly background, they are all going to be underexposed.
Tell them to stand up: I don’t know why this happens but people all believe that the camera has a super-narrow vertical dimension and that they won’t fit in the frame unless they lean over. That or there’s a gravitational warp at the center of the lens that forces people to lean forward at the waist. Not only does this make people look shorter and heavier, but there often ends up being a bunch of empty space at the top of the photo that further throws off the exposure. So tell everyone to stand up…unless you just have to go for that cleavage shot.
Take more than one shot: Let people know not to scatter like a flock of birds as soon as the flash goes off. Tell them in advance that you’re taking more than one. Explain it with whatever reason you want. Bracketing, rule of thirds, international copyright regulations, the moon is in the 19th house, whatever you think will convince them that you know what you’re talking about. But it’s a good idea just to check the image before snapping another to make sure everyone’s eyes were open and “That Guy” wasn’t in the background.
Have fun: If you’re at a party and insist on walking around like a journalist, you’re going to stand out, eventually freak people out and finally be cast out. Take fun photos from weird angles, like from the top of a chair or angling down a staircase. Try mock product placement with someone’s favorite food or beverage. But most of all, show everyone the shots you take of them so they won’t think you’re about to sell them to the paparazzi (An unfortunate side effect of our current psuedo-celebrity culture, people think that any photo taken of them is going to end up on the homepage of TMZ.com and get them fired from wherever they work. Chances of that are very, very slim…unless you carpool with Lindsay Lohan).
Using any or all of these tips will help you help other people become much happier with the photos taken of them in public. They will see that even while out, with bad lighting, and not a hair & makeup artist to be found, that they can look good in photos.
And you won’t get yelled at anymore.