How to Capture Better New Year's Eve Photos
New Year's Eve is coming, and everyone will be out and about, celebrating! Now that you've just received new photo gear for the holidays, it's time to put it to good use. Here are some tips on how to shoot better photos of your New Year's Eve party.
Monitor Your Flash
There are a couple of techniques that you can employ when using a flash: Bounce flash and the use of flash modifiers would be best suited to DSLR users. In general, bounce flash is when you aim your flash towards a surface away from your subject—turning that surface into a softbox. A very common tactic is pointing your flash towards the ceiling—theoretically turning it into a giant softbox.. Similarly, if you aim the flash at a wall behind you, that wall will illuminate the subjects in front of you.
For point-and-shoot users, try to lower the flash output in your camera's settings.
Keep this in mind not only when you're inside, but also when you're outside and your subjects are very close to you. Utilize the walls or surfaces around you to bounce the flash output and illuminate your subjects with nice, flattering, soft light.
Shoot Moments, not Snapshots
In photojournalism, you're taught that the intimate, the emotional, the unusual and the newsworthy are the elements of a story. These can be difficult concepts for most people to grasp, so here is my own little rule: If something elicits an emotion from you or someone else, program yourself to react by pointing the camera at this "moment."
Each party also has very important moments, such as the countdown to the first couple of seconds of the New Year, toasts, speeches, etc.
The traditional rules of framing also come into play, with the rule of thirds.
Capture The Atmosphere
Every party or event has a particular atmosphere and feeling to it. For example, is your New Year's Party a masquerade party? Then everyone will be wearing masks and perhaps be in character.
If not, the particular home or venue will always have a certain feeling to it. Start with the colors: Some apartments, for example, are painted with warm colors and have a very comforting feeling to them. Part of this may have to do with the decorations.
In addition to the ambiance, every party has particular "characters" that help to set the tone. These characters usually love being photographed, so point your lens at them.
Shoot Wide and Close
I recommend using wide to normal focal lengths: 35mm and 50mm are usually ideal, because of the tighter and more-cramped conditions that you may be shooting in. These lenses are ideal for getting up close. When you shoot wide, you can capture the entire environment in addition to the characters you are trying to capture.
Watch Out For People with Drinks!
Always be mindful of people around you with alcoholic beverages. If these spill on your camera, they may cause some serious damage. For some basic reminders:
- Always be aware of the people around you.
- Keep the camera away from those that have had a little bit too much to drink.
- Try to monitor your own drinks (if you drink at all). I have seen people drop their cameras into beer cups.
What tips can you offer for shooting a New Year's Party?