Education

6 Essential Tips for Shooting Your Party Event Like a Pro

By Loren Lazic - 4 min read

Make the most of any upcoming invites this festive season by bringing your camera along and shooting the occasion, or follow our tips on how to host your own. Photo curator and food writer Loren Lazic shares her go-to tips picked up during her career working for studios and major publications.

Love it or hate it, the holiday season is upon us with Thanksgiving dinner parties, Christmas getaways and New Year’s Eve hangouts aplenty. Whether you’re part of a large extended family, have a close knit group of friends, or choose to gift your time at a homeless shelter, there are many ways to celebrate coming together during the festive period.

Our Expert Guide to Shooting Your Next Event with Excellence

Hosting your own dinner party and want to mark the momentous occasion? Keep reading for our essential guide on creating the strongest visuals for not only your social or memory scrapbook, but also for sale on our EyeEm Market.

Cropped hands of woman having cake in plate on table

Theme

First things first, make a firm decision on the style and stick to it. This will help keep the look strong and coherent from the get go. If you’re struggling to find one, think seasonally.

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Pick the right color

Thanksgiving cries fall, so a colour palette of burnt orange and egg yolk yellow is an easy win. Keep things classy by pairing warm hues with rich, darker tones as seen here below by Anfisa Kameneva.

Don’t forget texture

Textures and surfaces are vital to the overall theme, so these come high on the agenda. Incorporating materials such as concrete or marble gives a sleek, modern approach. If you’re looking for a warmer and more rustic appearance, opt for wood and heavier soft materials.

High angle view of dry leaves on table
High angle view of pie on table

Location

Once you have your theme in place, the location should tie in seamlessly. If the weather is nice where you are, why not bring the dining experience outside and utilize natural light (not forgetting heaters if it’s cold!).

Top Tip: Bear in mind that shooting under a midday sun may form harsh shadows in your images, so be sure to check the weather apps and plan accordingly - a soft morning or dusky evening light will work best. If you are inside, place the table by a window and position it so that both sides receive an equal amount of light. This way one side of the table won’t be in darkness.

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Lighting

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a festive evening theme, make double use of props by having candles, tea lights, lamps and fairy-lights as primary light sources, or even a crackling log fire.

Encompass an intimate atmosphere by avoiding flash and using available light only, upping the ISO to counteract movement blurring. Think of additional lighting in the room that could work as a backdrop, especially if using a lens with low aperture to produce a twinkly bokeh effect, perfect for creating a winter wonderland.

Close-up of pear on table
Close-up of food in wineglass

Props

Details make all the difference. So what’s on your table? Glasses, cutlery, plates and bowls of food are a must, but how about a centerpiece or garland that runs along the table too?

As always, take cues from your theme and think about what could tie in, and if nothing springs to mind, look outside for inspiration. Acorns, conkers and golden leaves make pretty additions for fall, whereas berries and holly spruces work wonders for winter.

Take it to the next level by spray-painting your props in gold, copper, white or silver for maximum impact.

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Close-up of napkin in plate on table
High angle view of people eating dinner
Dining table at restaurant
Directly above shot of pine cones and walnuts on textile during christmas

People

Commercially, brands are looking for people in their imagery that their audience can relate to. No models, no posing, just real people.

We’re not complaining as this makes things extra simple (and fun) for us, so grab a bunch of your friends and family and invite them round for dinner, pronto. Diversity in race is preferable to represent all cultures, and there is no age limit, meaning everyone from toddlers to grandparents are invited.

Top Tip: Don’t forget to ask your diners to sign model releases where they agree to the potential commercial use of the images. This is extremely important if you want to sell your images on EyeEm Market.

Keep poses natural and not too cheesy, and try to get the majority of your people shots in-between servings or as they are helping themselves to food (i.e. when people aren’t stuck with a full mouthful!).

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Friends holding hands in restaurant
Man feeding woman against illuminated lighting equipment and trees

Angles

Aim for a range of different formats during your dinner party shoot, including landscape, portrait, wide shots and close ups. A wide focal length lens will be brilliant for flatlays to capture that classic ‘hands tucking into food’ frame, whereas a lens with a low f-stop is better for capturing close up details with a shallow depth of field.

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Premium
Close-up of corns

With these tips in mind why not join our new Mission - Picture Your Community! Get together with friends and show us who you’re most thankful for this holiday season.

Looking for more inspiration or essential photography tips? Check out Loren’s official website or read more of her delicious food stories on her Instagram Profile.

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