Party Photo

This background can be made with holiday lights and a large aperture.

Everyone knows the holidays can be extremely stressful, and capturing it all in photos only adds to that. Even as a professional photographer, at my own holiday events I have so much going on that I don’t have time to go around and take the perfect photos. Here are some ways you can set up a designated photo area or DIY photo booth at your holiday parties. 

BackdropsThe hardest part for most people is setting up a beautiful area for staging photos. Don’t overthink it! Here are some lovely backdrops you can put together for super cheap and in no time. And for the really ambitious, the last link contains a super cute holiday backdrop that is both fun and interactive:

Props: Make sure to include some props, especially if you are setting up a standalone photo booth area.  If you want to avoid a bunch of boring poses, include some funny signs, silly hats, cute mustaches, and bright red lips.

Flash Diffusers: The actual photography can end up ruining compositions if you rely on harsh direct flash. Use the onboard flash, or an add-on strobe flash with the following flash diffusing tricks and projects. 

Night Mode: Try combining these with the “Night Mode” on your camera for some potentially awesome shots. “Night Mode” is a camera mode that has a longer shutter speed combined with the flash to freeze action in the foreground. Try moving the camera when the shutter is open to create crazy light streaks in the background, while also getting a sharp, in-focus subject due to the flash.

Night Mode Icon

The Icon for the Night Mode Setting on most cameras.

Tripod: Finally, not everyone has a tripod in their house. If you are putting together a photography area and shooting yourself, try this DIY tripod combined with a stack of books on a stool to keep your camera steady and level. If you happen to have a remote for your camera, you can use this plus the remote to make a self-service photo booth.