Guest post: Tips on candid photography at parties

Professional wedding photographer Kevin Mullins has a couple of tips for shooting candid photos of parties:

Kevin Mullins 1

Get In close… it is a party after all!
You don’t need to stand in the corner of a room with a 200mm lens to be unobtrusive. Get a short lens, get in close, mingle and be part of the environment you are shooting. You will get more natural and creative images without the subjects feeling.

Bide your time
The scene in front of you is the stage, and the characters are the actors. Let them act out the play naturally, wait, bide your time and the images will come. Don’t contrive or force the pictures.

“Auto” is your friend
Set your camera up so all you have to do is concentrate on the moment. I shoot parties in Aperture Priority Mode and with Auto-ISO set to 6,400 and a minimum shutter speed of 1/125 (you X-Pro1 users can’t complain about not having that after the firmware update on the 19th December!).

Pick a spot to manually focus on and wait for the action to come to you
Use Manual Focus if necessary when in a dark environment – focus on a spot on the floor or something with enough contrast and wait for the action to happen.

Bring your own light
Use an external flash (I use the EF-X20) as the slave, hand hold it above your head and move around with freedom. You can direct the light so easily using this flash so when the light at the party does get too low it won’t stop you shooting away. The key thing is be in the mix, especially on the dance floor. Everyone will face in, and you need be on the dance floor getting those shots. You will find it difficult with a long zoom so stick with a 14, 18 or 23mm lens for optimum shooting. And Happy Christmas!

About Kevin

Kevin Mullins is an award winning UK Wedding Photographer specialising in the documentary style of wedding photography. To see more of his work you can follow him on Facebook or follow his blog.

Author: Fujifilm EMEA

This blog account is managed by the Corporate Communication team for Fujifilm in EMEA.

8 thoughts on “Guest post: Tips on candid photography at parties”

  1. desiamond – Edinburgh, bonny Scotland – Wildcard, Googling Troubleshooter, Mad Hatter, Wordsmith, PRINCE2 Practitioner, Jewellery Designer, Rhino 3D CAD Modeller, Dog Mommy, Choir Singer, Cyclist, Daydreamer
    Renate Kriegler Edwards says:

    Wow awesome shots! Very inspiring. Thank you for the helpful pointers – especially re aperture mode.

  2. Mike Hardisty – Landscape photography is a very important part of my life. Capturing the ever changing scenery gives me a sense of discovery. Photography in the mountains or on the coast, experiencing changing light and weather conditions, is a continuous learning process and gives me the freedom to think and live.
    Mike Hardisty says:

    Isn’t there a problem with noise at 6400 ISO, or is the sensor that good?

  3. I’ve recently taken shots at my works Christmas party and did a lot of the things mentioned in this post (before I read it) and it’s good to know I’m doing it right. I used a fuji x20 and a hand held vivitar flash with pocket wizards to keep everything in sync. Very pleased with the results

  4. shashkapk – Lahore, Pakistan. – has all the party supplies you need, all in one place, all year long. For birthdays and beyond, no matter what you're celebrating, this online portal has everything you could ever want when you're throwing the best party ever. The ease and convenience of the site makes planning and shopping for your party almost as fun as having it! With hundreds of the highest-quality party supplies for all ages and occasions, is the place to be. Our aim is to continually look for new and unique products to offer our customers. We carry our own entire inventory, so customers don't have to worry about back-ordering or long border delays. We know party supplies. No matter what the occasion is, you will find a huge and exclusive range of party supplies here at We're committed to outstanding customer service offering easy ordering and speedy delivery. Have fun and celebrate your special occasions in style.
    shashkapk says:

    no doubt these pics are took awesomely and the balck and white touch is looking more good


  5. Magnificent candid photography and just overwhelming thoughts and photographs that you have shared .Thanks for sharing with us. No doubt these pictures are taken crushingly and the black and white feel is looking more good quality. Thank you for great post with the helpy the the amazing tips of the photography.

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