I love to take my camera to parties. My friends learned to accept it, if there’s a party, I’ll be there with my D90in one hand and a beer bottle in the other. Parties are usually great (if yours is not, there is something wrong), but parties for a photographer are even more great, is like a photographic buffet, salad included.
Parties are a great opportunity for photographers
because I’m a better photographer when I’m drunk of two main factors, alcohol and the large number of things going on at the same time.
1 – Alcohol.
Alcohol may get you numb, make you do stupid things, but above all what most insecure teenagers learn at age 14, alcohol creates extroversion where before stood shyness. Everyone knows the story, the shy quiet girl that after two margaritas start dancing salsa on the table, or the quiet guy that after three beers doesn’t stop talking for nothing on the world.
And that almost magic feature of alcohol is what makes it great for party photography, for there’s way less camera shyness and awkwardness on your subject if he’s at least tipsy. For beginners like me who doesn’t know exactly what to say or do to relax a subject, this is an amazing asset (and no, I’m not suggesting that you get every model drunk before a shoot, although I’ve seen better photographers recommend to offer a drink to non-professional models before shoots).
Alcohol, in my experience, leads to more natural portraits.
2 – Stuff happening everywhere, all the time.
Loud, messy, people going back and forth, this characteristic of parties is amazingly helpful for the photographer who wants to take candid shots. People tend to ignore or simply not notice when you take a photo, they are way do busy doing other stuff like talking or drinking. Also, interesting stuff happens in parties all the time, either the guy passed out on the floor in the middle of the kitchen, or the group of people singing songs with a guitar on the basement.
On the top of those two main factors, there is the fact that people are generally loose on parties, even without alcohol. They are there to have a good time, and socialize, so the photos you take on parties usually reflect a joyful aspect of people’s lives that they are not used to, and they enjoy it.
So next time you’re invited to a party, take your camera with you, and wait for the right moment, sometimes you’ll get that perfect shot, out of a friend’s reunion.