Recently I was asked to photograph a company party and very reluctantly agreed. The deciding factor for me was the chance to practice my party photography skills as well as photography of Christmas lights. Party photography is a real test of your skills, the lighting is horrible and people don’t stand still for you to get your settings just right. My suggestion is to turn up your ISO (these shots were taken with an ISO of 2000), use aperture priority (be mindful of your shutter speed, too slow and you’re going to be known as the blurry cam man or woman), and float like a butterfly snapping shots of people enjoying themselves. I choose not to use a flash because of the unrealistic lighting it gives off, so I need a very fast lens (I used the Nikon 50mm f1.8D). If you are a fan of flash then your lens aperture won’t matter.
Get to the party a little early and check out all the decorations scattered through out. This is a good way to figure out what camera settings you will need from room to room. You may even get some great photos you can use for your portfolio.