What I do:
I normally meet the family about an hour before the party starts to take a mixture of some formal and mostly fun portraits. The photos can be taken at home but in most cases we end up doing them at the venue. Once I finish with the portrait session I continue shooting the whole event, staying till midnight when the party ends. Be it a relaxed party or an extravagant one, I will always come up with some great shots that capture the atmosphere of the party. Here are some recent parties I shot. I hope you like them.