It’s Party Time!
Raj Lalwani tells you seven unique ideas that will help you make your party photographs a lot more fun and interesting.
Christmas is round the corner, everyone’s getting married and people are in a festive spirit with the new year in sight. Are you wondering how to make your Facebook albums of these crazy parties more fun? Read on.
Flash is Your Best Friend
The light levels are low, everyone’s dancing around, LED lamps are forming ugly patches on skin, there are too many lights in the background and there’s an ugly shadow under one’s eyes. These are just some of the various reasons why fl ash, both on-camera as well as an external flashgun, are invaluable. A lot of people assume that a high ISO and a fast-aperture lens like a 50mm f/1.8 will suffice in low light, but remember that these techniques help you get in more light, but they do not affect the quality or direction of the light. A sound knowledge of the Night Portrait mode, Slow Sync fl ash and remote flash control are vital.
Tissues, Bottles, All Else
If it is not an assignment, you may not want to get bogged down at a party by carrying a lot of equipment and light modifi ers. Use all that’s around. Tissue paper, tablecloths, coloured bottles, especially those that have water or alcohol in them, can all make fantastic light modifi ers. If you don’t have an external fl ashgun, the torch of your cameraphone can be a versatile enough light.
Raise that Glass
If you are using a fast lens, focus on your subject and then, while keeping focus locked, bring a bottle or glass in front of the lens. The reflected and refracted light will make for gorgeous foreground bokeh.
Formality in Treatment
Shoot loose and edit tight. Make as many frames as possible. Group photos, both posed and spontaneous ones, have a nasty habit of going wrong only because one person in the group has his eyes shut or is caught mid yawn. But while selecting the final images, be strict. Since there may be a variation of shooting styles and techniques, the treatment can be cohesive. Process images of one party in a consistent way, by using the same action, preset or app.
Make as many frames as possible, but be extremely judicious while making an edit.
But First, Let ‘em Take a Selfie
Group photo selfies are a rage and while one can understand practitioners getting a little tired of seeing them everywhere, they can be shot differently as well. Wait for a bunch of friends to point their front-facing camera to themselves and then photograph their various attempts and expressions as they get their pose right. Or, just walk behind them and shoot a Spot-metered frame of their cameraphone’s screen.
Ring Them In!
Ring flashes are serious tools for macro and portrait photography, but you can play with them during parties. Use a fisheye or a rectilinear ultrawide lens along with the flash. The flash’s round shape will appear within the frame. Now use this to form a fun, unusual circular frame around people! Since you are using a fisheye, you will need to go really, really close.
The Stills & Video Prank
Try this. Make a bunch of friends pose and then pretend that you are struggling with the settings. In the meantime, press the Video Record button and get an outrageously funny video that has them standing and posing impatiently.
Eventually, all the technical expertise in the world will fall flat if the expressions in the frame are boring. Love and empathy for the person you are photographing can make the simplest of frames memorable. And lastly, remember to have a good time… have fun technically by experimenting as much as possible, and have fun otherwise, and smile.
3 Common Mistakes to Avoid
Ghosting in the Frame
Parties may have a lot of pointed light sources, which create flare. Avoid cheap UV filters and never forget the lens hood!
Don’t be scared of increasing the ISO. If you forget to do this, your camera will use too slow a shutterspeed that may make your subject a ghostlike blur.
Ghostly White Faces
In group photos, the person closest to the lens may look blown out, especially if they are fair and wearing white. Use a -ve Flash Exposure Compensation value and diffuse the light with a handkerchief.
This article originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of Better Photography.Tags: bokeh, photography, flash, party, fisheye, event, prank