The only tips you need to take perfect party photos

Take pics of the party room before everyone arrives. Photo Katherine Ashdown. www.katherineashdown.c

Take pics of the party room before everyone arrives. Photo Katherine Ashdown. - Credit: Archant

Capturing the best moments of family gatherings, parties and children's birthdays so you have great photos to remember the moment isn't easy. So forget fuzzy photos - we have the tips you need

Take pics of the party room before everyone arrives. Photo Katherine Ashdown. www.katherineashdown.c

Take pics of the party room before everyone arrives. Photo Katherine Ashdown. - Credit: Archant

How many of us have sat down, exhausted, after hosting a great wedding or birthday or anniversary party and realised that we didn't have time to take any photos? Or we look through our pictures and feel rather disappointed. They're either dark, or have more backs of heads than expressions and aren't the wonderful pictorial moments we were hoping for.

Try our top 21 tips and take party pictures to be proud of.

1 If your group is in a dark restaurant or in front of a window (and can't be moved) you'll need to add some extra light.

2 If you're hosting, make time before people arrive to take a bunch of shots such as the party room set up and the birthday person or anniversary couple looking ready.

3 Look for details, like your handwritten shopping list, napkin rings, party bags, a bunch of straws, the flowers, sparkling glasses or place names.

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4 Photographing food in daylight is easier as a flash can make it look rather unappetising – and try not to photograph people mid chew, it's not a good look.

5 Bunch items together for added impact, such as lots of candles or the drinks.

6 If you're the busy host, set yourself an alarm to ensure you take pictures. Setting a time limit, such as 20 minutes photo taking, means you won't miss too much of the party.

7 At dinner parties gather everyone at one end for a group photo; otherwise pictures tend to be mostly table.

9 If you have a guest who doesn't know many people, ask if they'll take photos. It helps them to circulate and they'll spot elements you might not have noticed.

10 Get down to the children's eye level, otherwise you'll mostly have the top of their heads.

11 Then again, standing safely on a chair or ladder and gaining everyone's attention can create fun pictures, as can getting really low and taking pictures looking upwards.

12 Remember pictures of the cakes, the balloons and decorations, presents and cards. Getting really close to fill the whole picture gives a colourful abstract feel.

13 Props such as hats, over-sized glasses, flags and big bunches of flowers are great ice breakers for the photo shy.

14 Pictures of different generations, such as great-granny and child, are charming mementoes.

15 If you can change your camera settings, try night-portrait mode indoors which means the ambient light in the room looks more natural. Turn on shake reduction too.

16 If there's a cake don't be shy about gathering guests so they're ready for the moment it comes out.

17 A snapshot of each of the guests is lovely for the album.

18 Before the event check everything is ready, with fully charged batteries or phone, charger, props, memory cards if needed and so on.

19 Action pictures are ideal such as people clinking glasses, pouring tea, showing off their shoes, jumping, kissing or dancing

20 When taking a group picture, try and gather people so they fill the frame and there isn't masses of space above their heads.

21 Ask guests to post their pictures of the celebration on a specially created Facebook group or Instagram so you can all share one another's photos.

And a word from the professionals.

Norfolk based photographer Katherine Ashdown offers top tips on that trickiest occasion of the year – taking photos as your child blows out their birthday candles.

'Taking photos at this moment can be tricky,' says Katherine.

'It's usually dark, there are lots of people around, lots of moving/singing and it's hard to get a great angle.

'If possible choose your position first.

'The 'end' of a table is a good place if your child is at the other end and the guests can gather round the sides.

'Keep the lights on if you want to avoid that bright white 'flash'.

'Ideally use a camera rather than a phone as these photos often end up blurred.

'If your child has a summer birthday then it's a great idea to do this outside in the garden.

'Some balloons or bunting as a backdrop look great, plus party hats and lots of lovely natural light!

'Above all take lots of photos – just one or two you are likely to get your child blinking or moving at the wrong time!'

Katherine Ashdown, photographer, 01760 722196

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