Party season is nearly here! Plan an unforgettable Christmas do today with Bark

With Christmas party season nearly upon us, now is the time to start planning if you want to make sure your festive do is remembered for all the right reasons.

As with any big seasonal event, all the best local venues and entertainers usually get booked up well in advance – meaning it’s never too early to start getting into the festive spirit.

So dig out your ugliest sweater, put Cliff Does Christmas on the stereo and take a look at our guide to planning the ultimate Christmas party!

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Find a great venue

Unless you want to spend your night at home or crammed into the office break room, finding a great venue for your Christmas party should be right at the top of your party planning checklist.

Look for somewhere that’s easy to get to and, more importantly, easy to get home from at the end of the night. But remember, the best party venues will often get booked months in advance, so it’s important to start planning early.

Place a venue hire Bark now and we’ll begin searching for great local party venues on your behalf right away.

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Choose a theme

No party is complete without a great theme to tie everything together. This is your chance to get creative with your outfit, and your friends will revel in the opportunity to get all dressed up.

We recommend sending a simple poll around to gauge what sort of event everyone’s in the mood for. Include a fair spread of options, ranging from festive causal to black tie, or even fancy dress.

Then, when you’ve settled on something, place an event decoration Bark to find a great local pro to bring your theme to life.

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Make sure the food is top notch

Great food is a must at any party. Drinks will be flowing, and the last thing anyone wants is to be stumbling in the gutter at the end of the night.

Find out what your budget is, check whether anyone has any special eating requirements and look for a menu that has something for everyone.

Whether you’re planning a large sit down meal, or a simple party buffet – we’ll find a great local caterer to line your guest’s stomachs and keep them dancing all night long.

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Don’t forget the entertainment!

If you want to go the extra mile to give your guests a night to remember, there’s a huge range of entertainment options you can choose from.

Hiring a photo booth, booking a closeup magician, or even enlisting some event performers are all great ways to get everyone into the party spirit. But the most important ingredient at any Christmas party is music.

Lining up Christmas tunes on a Spotify playlist is all well and good, but you can’t beat hiring a professional DJs if you want to guarantee your guests will be dancing all night long.

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Capture the whole night on film

Last but not least, don’t forget to record the evidence! Or, better yet, hire a professional to do it for you.

This is a night your friends will be talking about for months to come, so it’s well worth having someone there to document everything and create a great photo album you can all flick through together in January.

Place your Bark now and we’ll do all the legwork to get you quotes from local event photographers fast and free.

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How to hire a great photographer for your next event, festival or party

Event photography is about more than just turning up to things on time with an expensive camera. If you want a pro who can do your event justice, you need to know they have the skills to get the job done right.

“Hiring a professional photographer for an event is vital in my opinion,” says Bark pro Sorcha Bridge. “If you want lasting photographs from a ‘once in a lifetime’ event like a wedding day, you want the job of recording those precious memories to be in the hands of a professional.”

To discover what qualities you should be looking for when hiring a local event photographer, we spoke to Sorcha about what it takes to capture great moments on film.

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“I shoot a wide range of people-based photography,” Sorcha says. “I find with event work the key is to be very present and aware of what is going on around you, so as not to miss any key moments!”

Hiring a great event photographer is easy with Bark!
A shot for music promotion company Tsumi 4 – photo by Sorcha Bridge

Photography has been a lifelong passion for Sorcha. But for years she prioritised raising her children as a single mother – and has only relatively recently started pursuing her dream job with help from services like Bark.

“I feel now that the missing piece from the puzzle was photography for me,” she explains. “But having the wisdom I have now with age might have been what was needed to make this work.”

She says the thing that separates covering events from other kinds of photography is that it’s much more difficult to plan and produce everything in advance. As a result, a good event photographer needs to be constantly ready to capture an image at a moment’s notice.

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Live music at Brighton Fringe Festival 2016 – photo by Sorcha Bridge

“I love shooting music events and festivals, there are plenty of fantastic opportunities for creativity shooting performers and live music,” she says. “Preparation is key to making sure everything is covered correctly. Know the running order, do walkthroughs, have meetings prior to know and understand what the client is trying to achieve – plan, plan, plan!”

She adds: “You also have to be quite confident and ‘ballsy’ when directing large groups of people or jostling with other photographers for space at music events.”

When deciding on a photographer cover an event, Sorcha says you should start by taking a look at each pro’s portfolio to view their work and make sure you like their respective styles.

A snapshot of Brighton University's bohemian nightlife – photo by Sorcha Bridge
A snapshot of Brighton University’s nightlife – photo by Sorcha Bridge

Once you’ve found a couple of people whose work you like, you can start considering other factors like budget and availability. But, for Sorcha, one particular consideration stands head and shoulders above everything else.

“Personality stands for everything, in my opinion, especially when shooting someone’s wedding – an incredibly intimate event working closely with individuals,” she explains. “I work hard to make people feel comfortable in front of the camera.”

With Bark, finding the right photographer for your next event is easy. We’ll do all the legwork to find available pros in your area, so you can select the one that’s the best fit for you. Place a photography Bark today to get multiple quotes from local pros, fast and free.

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How to pick the perfect photo booth for your party, wedding or corporate event

Photo booths are the ultimate alternative to hiring a traditional photographer.  Whatever event you’re planning, your guests will love piling inside and drawing the curtain to take a few cheeky pictures.

At weddings and anniversaries, they’re a great way to capture group photos without needing to call the party to a halt while everyone gets in position – and they’re the perfect icebreaker at corporate or work events where your guests might not know each other very well.

But with so many different types available, choosing the right booth for your event can be tricky. So we put together this handy guide to help you make up your mind.

Why you can’t go wrong with a classic booth

You can get a whole range of booths for a fraction of what you’d spend on a professional photographer, from affordable passport photo-style boxes, to luxury enclosed booths.

Top-of-the-line booths often come complete with a green screen, live social media sharing, touchscreen displays and more – like this one from leading photo booth hire company The Photo Cabin:

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The Photo Cabin in action at the launch party for Supra’s Skytop IV trainer

A classic booth like this will add a touch of class to any party. If you want premium features, and are happy to pay a premium price to get them, then look no further.

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For great group photos, try an open air booth

For something a little different, why not try one of these ‘open air’ booths. With its tower-style camera and separate backdrop, your guests can simply gather round and strike a pose.

“The plus with these is that you can fit a hell of a lot more people in the photo, which is particularly good for weddings or corporate events,” explains The Photo Cabin’s Martyn Doherty. “Like if you want a big ‘groomsman and his mates’ photo, or if everyone at the wedding wants to try and fit in.”

Photo Tower 3
Tower-style booths like this one are perfect for taking fun group snaps!

“You can’t do that sort of thing with a normal enclosed booth,” he adds. “The only type of event it’s not great for is, like, a kids’ party, because they’re not tall enough, basically.”

As the camera is at a fixed height, these booths aren’t really designed for small children – but they’re absolutely perfect for weddings, corporate events, birthday parties and anything else.

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Save money with this “booth on a budget”

There’s also a range of cheaper booths available if your primary concern is getting a good deal. Expect fewer bells and whistles, but it’s still possible to hire a perfectly good mobile booth like this one without breaking the bank:

Photo Box 1
Affordable cabins like The Photo Box can be ideal for parties and corporate events

“That’s your booth on a budget,” says Martyn. “It’s not quite as big, so you can only really fit three people in, max. The features are more limited as well. It’s not got a touch screen.”

“It’s really quick to set up,” he adds. “You literally wheel it in. You put it down, it expands out of itself and it’s got a five-minute setup time.”

Opting for a ‘stripped down’ booth like this one is a great way to get what you need on a tight budget. So if you want to keep your costs to a minimum, we recommend asking for a mobile booth.

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Stand out from the crowd with a custom booth

Or, for something truly unique, you can even have your booth customised with a vinyl wrap or kitted out to include GIFs, slow motion videos, social media sharing, data capture and more.

One of our personal favourite custom contraptions is this cool GIF booth the guys at The Photo Cabin built into an arcade machine cabinet:

“I didn’t want to destroy an old school machine,” Martyn explains. “Taking like a vintage Pacman machine and killing it seemed wrong. So I just got a new arcade cabinet and built it into that.”

With so many different customisations available, the only real limit here is your imagination. Simply specify your requirements in your Bark and we’ll find you the right pro for the job.

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Place a photo booth hire Bark today

We hope this guide has helped you decide what sort of photo booth you want for your next party. Now you’ve seen the full range of booths on offer, you’re ready to hire one of your very own!

Whether you’re planning a wedding, corporate event or anything else – we’ll help you find the perfect booth for you. Simply let us know what you’re looking for and we’ll start contacting specialists in your area right away.

Click here to get photo booth hire quotes today.

From Go Pro to going pro – how to start up as a photographer

With the recent surge in photo-sharing apps, the introduction of selfie sticks and smartphones ramping up their camera specs – look no further than the new iPhone 6S’ 12-megapixel count and 4K video recording capabilities – it’s never been easier to capture the moment and snap away.

eBay saw searches for selfie sticks rise 700% ahead of Christmas 2014
eBay saw searches for selfie sticks rise 700% ahead of Christmas 2014

But what if you want to take it up a gear? Helping you to make the move from amateur to professional, portrait photographer David Harrison offers his top tips on entering the industry.

  1. Finish what you start: Whether it’s uploading the best pic of your day to Instagram or getting a print made, it’s all too easy to snap away and never have a ‘finished ‘image. Keeping going and putting in that extra bit of effort will make it all worth it in the end when you have the perfect picture.
  2. Keep busy: Motivation is key. Never put pressure on yourself to overdo it, but do make sure you keep busy and have a range of options to work on – this will make the experience more fun! It will also give you a stack of pictures to add to your portfolio.
  3. Be passionate: Photograph what you know, what you love, what you care about and what you have access to. This will make the whole process much more enjoyable, and help you with points 1 and 2. You are unique and so is what you see, so show it!

    Okay, I'm ready for my close up...
    Okay, I’m ready for my close up…
  4. Network, Network, Network: Important in so many aspects of life – tell everybody what you are doing and, most important for your line of business, show them. You will be surprised how many people will have something you can help them with, and you may even learn something new. The more your work is out there, the more opportunities will come your way.
  5. Keep the day job! Good photography takes time. Nobody is a pro straight off the bat and – as always in life – there’s a lot to learn. If you’re thinking of becoming a professional photographer, start it off as a hobby, learn different skills, techniques and most of all, have fun! In this way you can enjoy your photography, while learning the right skills and making the contacts to take it to the next level.

    As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect
    As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect

Feeling inspired but not sure how to make sense of your shutter speed, aperture or ISO? Why not have a look for photography lessons near you? Or, if you’re on the other end of the spectrum and ready to use your skills commercially, customers are requesting all manner of photography services on, from event photography to wedding photography and even pet photography. Why not
register with us today?

For more tips and insights, why not check out our other blogs?