Part of being the best portrait photographer in your area is understanding the styles required to shoot different party invitations. Great photos don’t just happen, they are planned for; which means besides the right gear, you need a premeditated blueprint on how you will photograph a new born, the birthday girl or the bride to be. Here are some real tips on how to be the best amateur or experienced photographer on any occasion you are called to.
The best place to start is by telling a story; shooting in a sequential manner from the preparations to guests arriving and finally the party itself. It’s going to be a lady’s night in, so you have to pay attention to all the details in the party; ladies love details. Begin by photographing the different kinds of decorative stuff used for the baby shower; the texture on table cloths, the glimmer of the cutlery if there’s going to be a dinner, the baby shower invitations, banners on walls or the straws on a glass all placed to make the ambiance warm. A macro lens would be great for those close ups; if you don’t own one, a 50mm or 85mm will still work.
Once the part is rolling, get a shot of everyone in attendance. The mum would love to keep a memoir of all the happy faces that came to support her as she welcomes her bundle of joy to the world. Here is a great tip, make sure you are letting in as much light as possible into your camera; this helps create that soft warm look that perfectly captures the mood of the moment. And whatever you do, be sure to capture the emotions as they happen; the mum-to-Be’s expression as she opens each gift, the laughter as the jokes do rounds and so on…capture all of it.
They are a lot like baby showers only that the crowd and the theme will change. But don’t keep your camera waiting for the guests to arrive, start snapping away at the preparations; from the food being made in the kitchen, dinner table being set to the private DJ setup for the night’s entertainment. Move on to the dinner table and get a picture of everything; the lovely chandelier glowing above, the beautiful cake taking center stage the immaculate cutlery surrounding it. Don’t forget the gift table where the bride’s gifts will be positioned right before she opens them. You could also take some pictures of the future bride with the bridal shower invitations.
The creme of it is when the bride and her girls are having fun. This is where things will get different, the soft and calm environment of a baby shower is replaced by girls going wild. This is a perfect chance to make great photographs; when everyone will be in their truest self. Capture the wild laughter as the girls play board or card games, the escalated cheering when they go head to head on the dance floor or the nostalgic moment when they share intimate stories with each other. Let the excitement of all girls show on the images, not forgetting that teary and breathtaking moment as they admire her beautiful diamond engagement ring. You can use the advantage of a telephoto lens (a 70mm-200mm) to stand from a distance and capture the candid moments as they happen.
Compared to bridal showers, these are much more relaxed and fun to shoot. Dudes like to goof around so if you are a fellow dude, an 85mm and your equally crazy side is enough to get good shots. Capture them as they compete at taking shots or throw each other into the ice cold pool. You can take short clips of the crazy dialogues going around or even set up a photo booth for them to laugh around while taking silly photos of each other.
The mood will be that of excitement as well just like the bridal shower. As a photographer, the first thing to determine is the kind of audience you are working with; you can get birthday party invitations celebrating a child of 6 years, a grown teenager of 19 or a senior who is well of age. Understanding the audience helps you plan better plus the kind of equipment to bring to the party.
Kids are hard to organize so you will have to go with the flow shooting the moments as they occur. A telephoto lens will be great to make sure you remain oblivious to the children as possible; an 85mm or 24-70mm isn’t a bad lens for the party as well as long as you are great in mingling with kids. Young adults can be choreographed in how they pose a bit to get great candid shots; here is a quick tip, you can set up a photo booth put the camera on a tripod and let the camera take shots via a trigger. You can hand over the trigger to the birthday boy or girl and let them have goofy group shots with their friends in attendance. For seniors, the occasion will more or less be like shooting a baby shower; it needs that soft warm mood and you may not need to strobe because the flashing light may be too much for grandpa as he blows his 90th candles.
Formal Cocktail Parties
First things first, make sure you arrive well groomed for the occasion; somewhere in the line of official wear is great. Since you are dealing with adults, make the photo shoot a little conversational; move around introducing yourself and ask politely whether you can get a portrait of the person you are talking to. You can shoot the portraits in groups of three, four or six to make sure you cover as many people as possible. Then the candid moments like when the CEO gives a speech or when employees are giving their votes of thanks; if there are awards being given out don’t miss those moments on camera as well. The photo booth idea is great too especially when getting group shots of the CEOS and managers with the employees in attendance.
For a large formal event, make sure you have an assistant photographer with you. They can assist in shooting those extra moments you may miss or help in setting up different equipment like lights and the photo booth. Arm them with their own high end camera as well to ensure the image quality is maintained during post-processing.
Party invitations are a haven for the photographer who delights in taking portraits. Above are different scenarios explained and the kind of style you will require to shoot in each of them. Always cross check to ensure you have all equipment, tag an assistant photographer along for large events and make sure you have fun shooting.