Tips and techniques to capture the magic of any party or get-together
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Whether it's a birthday, graduation, wedding shower, or holiday get-together, documenting a special event can be as important as the event itself. Keep these tips and suggestions in mind when photographing your celebrations, and capture valuable moments that both you and your guests will treasure for years to come.
Tell a story with photos
Tell a story with your photos by taking pictures of the entire event—from guests arriving to relaxing post-party.
Document the entire celebration to help you tell a complete story with your photos. Here are some examples:
Summer BBQ: Summer is an ideal time for an outdoor celebration, such as a Fourth of July bash or neighborhood pool party. Get shots of guests arriving, enjoying the party, and unwinding on the patio.
Thanksgiving: Document everything from cooking in the kitchen to slicing the turkey to post-dinner pie.
Graduation: Combine pictures from the ceremony with snapshots taken at the graduation party to create a photo narrative of this important milestone.
Avoid shutter lag
Avoid shutter lag to get a crisp shot of a bride and her flower girl dancing.
Some of the best photos capture people in motion rather than posing neatly for a shot. However, it can be difficult to photograph a subject that is moving without also capturing some blur.
When you snap a picture, there is a short pause before the camera actually takes the photo. This delay is called shutter lag, and when your subject is in motion, it can cause your picture to be blurry and unclear.
To avoid shutter lag, hold the shutter button on your camera halfway down and take aim. Wait for your subject to make their move (whether it’s taking a swing at the piñata or waving a sparkler on the Fourth of July), and then press your shutter button down the rest of the way.
The blurry figures within this graduation photo help to convey the excitement and motion of a milestone transition.
Blur isn't always a bad thing. There’s a difference between a blurry picture, and a shot that expresses the excitement of the moment.
To blur your subject in motion while keeping the background in focus, you'll need to select a longer shutter speed and keep your camera completely still (try using a tripod).
The correct shutter speed will depend on the speed of your subject—the slower the movement, the longer your shutter speed will need to be to capture blur. This is a good technique to practice in advance so that you'll have a feel for it when the shot really counts.
Use lighting to your advantage
Birthday cake candles emit a soft glow that translates well in photos.
Capture the mood of a celebration by emphasizing the lighting:
- The warmth of candles on a Thanksgiving dinner table
- An enchanting Christmas tree or twinkling outdoor lights during the holidays
- The glow of birthday cake candles
- The charm of paper lanterns strung outside for an evening gathering
Try something new
For fresh photos, try experimenting with angles and perspectives.
Don't forget to photograph the details that make your celebration special, such as homemade cupcakes with sprinkles.
Gain a fresh perspective in your photos by trying something out of the ordinary:
- Give the camera to the kids and acquire some spontaneous, playful shots.
- Hand out disposable cameras to guests as they arrive, and then collect them as guests depart. You'll see the event through the eyes of everyone who attended, and catch moments you may have missed with only one camera.
- Experiment with different angles and approaches. Planned, posed photographs may work for portraits, but they may not express the spontaneity or energy of a celebration.
- Capture the details that can make a celebration so special. Whether it's a beautiful flower arrangement or handmade party favors, get in close to the small things.
Experiment with black-and-white
Try adding a black-and-white color effect to a photo taken at a more casual event.
Black-and-white photography isn't just for weddings or elegant portraits. Try using this classic color effect for non-formal photos, too.
- Add a black-and-white color effect to photos taken at casual events, such as a birthday party or family reunion. You may be surprised at the artistic, intimate tone that it can instantly create within your photo.
- Use your printer to turn any shot into a black-and-white photograph—no PC needed! Some HP printers, like HP Photosmart 7510 e-All-in-One, allow you to print your photos in color, sepia, and black-and-white. Learn more about in-printer color effects.
Send personalized photo thank-you notes
Upload your pictures into greeting card templates directly from the touchscreen on the HP Photosmart 6510 e-All-in-One—PC-free!
If your celebration involves opening presents, such as a baby or wedding shower, birthday, or graduation party, snap photos of the honoree opening gifts. Include the picture along with the thank-you notes you send.
Or, turn your photo into a thank-you note with the HP Photosmart 6510 e-All-in-One. Simply use the Greeting Card option on the Create menu to upload your photo into a special thank-you card template.
Share and create with your photos
Record the good times with the Family Roots Scrapbook from the HP Creative Studio Scrapbook app.
You have the photos—now do something with them! Get tips for using your photos and memories to create a photo scrapbook. You can print your own pages, backgrounds, borders, photo corners, and stickers at home.
If your family photos feature flaws like red-eye, or are damaged or faded, get tips on editing and restoring photos.
Did you know you can print high-quality photos in less than a minute?