PARTY PHOTOGRAPHY – NOTHING TO SHOOT?

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Parties are where they invite you to take pictures but don’t make it easy. Cluttered locations, poor light, too many folks in tight spaces. I hate battling crowds under any circumstances, but especially when I’m shooting.

So, there I am. At a party. I know one or two people (maybe), and I have to take some pictures. Who are these people? Unless it’s my party … and we don’t give parties anymore … I hope someone will come by to tell me who should be in the pictures.

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Looking around. People are talking in groups. Eating. A few laughing. Some loners. People talking in pairs, in groups.

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Mostly of the other cameras are big ones, Canon and Nikon. I’ve got the funny little camera, my Pentax Q S1 with its lenses, plus extra batteries and accessories. It weighs less than a standard point-and-shoot. They sneer, but I don’t care.

Kaitlin 15th birthday

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Parties are stressful. Garry can’t hear in crowds and I can’t remember names. You can tell me your name and within a breath, I’ll say, “I’m sorry, what’s your name again?” If it happens more than twice, I’m too embarrassed to ask again. I shoot and hope Garry can identify the people in the shot. Later.

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There’s always a picture somewhere. Somehow. You have to look for it, sometimes very hard, but it’s there. And it’s better than sitting in a corner demolishing the brownies.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

28 thoughts on “PARTY PHOTOGRAPHY – NOTHING TO SHOOT?”

  1. It’s interesting how different backgrounds can be. I thrive in crowded rooms full of strangers. As a portrait photographer I’m looking for interesting faces, expressions and characters. I see out shy people hiding in dark corners. I love to carry long zoom lenses in these environment so I can discretely capture people. I’m not initially interested in names but after the shots are processed there is sure to be people who know a lot of the people. That’s when a tablet of pen & notebook gets use. I rename the filenames to match their actual names and I’m instantly organized once again. You’d be surprised how long people will wait to ask for copies of photos. Sometimes years go by.

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    1. Usually, someone has asked me to take pictures. THEY know what they want. My issue is that they don’t bother to tell me. Or make it possible to actually do it. I don’t mind being “the photographer,” but I kind of mind having a job which is made far more difficult because the requester doesn’t help at all. Giving the pictures the names of the people is a really good idea. I may steal that from you.

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  2. Parties are not normally a thing in my life. When I lived in Virginia, I stayed there long enough to finally get invited to parties. Then I moved. In Mississippi, there were parties, but I was way older than most of the students there so I had to pick and chose the parties I went to. I stuck with the grad students — at least they were in their late twenties, early thirties. Ha! In New Mexico, it was mostly the hubs’s friends — and he only had two. hahahaha! Introvert of the highest order that one. ^_^

    I haven’t been here nearly long enough to know anyone. Maybe in a few years.

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    1. When we were working, we had business-related events and office parties. Now, we have had a bunch of retirement parties. And funerals, with the occasional wedding and the odd birthday party. But the days of big parties seems to be over in our crowd, what’s left of it.

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      1. The hubs took me to a couple of his office parties when we lived in New Mexico. Since I knew none of his co-workers nor their spouses, it was very awkward, but I didn’t want him to have to face the mandatory “office party” alone. We escaped as soon as we could.

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        1. That sounds like “par” for the course. In recent years, they have stopped holding those big, fancy office parties. I think every breathed a sigh of relief. We had a deal: Garry would come to mine and I would to to his. When we didn’t have to do it anymore, it was just FINE.

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  3. Nor I like parties. I am in love with my kind of entertainment. May be we have too many parties in Army. I look forward to wine festivals and cultural fest where myself & Tarun can share a drink or two while the rock band plays some old classics. We attended few in Shillong and just loved them ! Beautiful pictures with lot of expressions.

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    1. Your parties look like fun. So many parties are fun for a few people and dull or worse for everyone else. I also think most parties are too big. Too many people just makes it noisy and hard to have a conversation with anyone. They lack intimacy.

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  4. I discovered that Party photography is not easy. You can shoot away all the time, but there is always something that someone shot better. I had my share of photography this year with two weddings and a 100th birthday. Now I prefer to take photos of cows in the field, at least they don’ move around all the time. although I must say you took some great photos at that party and eveyone had a smile on their face.

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    1. I hate being “the photographer” at parties. It’s a lot of responsibility … and I’m not getting paid. These days, I am practicing saying “no.” I’ve gotten tired of fighting for a place to shoot. If the people who asked me to shoot can’t help, then I won’t do it. But I’m also getting older and cranky.

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  5. Great photos. I know what you mean about forgetting names. Your little camera is useful in crowded situations – you don’t need to have a big clunky camera bag with you to bump into people.

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  6. I’ve always been bad for names. It is embarrassing. And now that I’m getting older, I have memory glitches too. People I’ve known for years, I sometimes can’t recall their names at times. That’s a bit scary.

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    1. Yes, those senior moment make us all wonder about ourselves. I’ve begun to think it’s not that I don’t remember exactly, it’s that I’m both easily distracted — sort of ADD for seniors — and I have bad memory sectors, like the computer. I have to reboot my brain … and then I remember. I notice we ALL seem to do the same thing, so it’s probably normal. Annoying, frustrating, and embarrassing … but normal.

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      1. Your “candid” style is terrific, especially for people like me. I love the pics in this post. You’re aces, my love!

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  7. I’ve been more of the loner. But I do like to take pictures. Guilty as charge. At the parties hosted, back in Puerto Rico, I only see my uncle with the big camera. He was always the high tech person, besides me since, he needed me a few times. But with cameras, that was his thing. I love seeing the involvement of the people there, and I just can’t help to take pictures. I love it.

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