Do you have "blank canvas" jitters when walking into a party? So hide behind a camera. Taking snapshots is one of the quickest icebreakers in a social situation. Also, the mad flashbulb frenzy makes everyone feel like an instant celebrity. And the cool part is distributing your catch later. Photos are the most cherished heirlooms, and with digital photography, you've got a billion chances to get the most amazing shot. The key is to avoid being a nudge, constantly telling everyone to "get together." Just hold the camera above the crowd and snap wildly, randomly, intensely—the fun is seeing what you get when you upload the shots.
Might sound like a total yawn, but spending some quality time with your camera manual is your best bet for getting the best images. Features like "portrait mode" and "continuous shot" make kids and animals easier targets. Adjusting the shutter speed allows you to capture movement minus blur. Use your auto-focus to get all the faces in the frame.
Back at the ranch, play around with visual variations, like the black-and-white mode, or enhance your shots with brightness and contrast features (as we like to say, "fix it in post"). But most importantly, spread your photos around, ASAP, using your favorite photo-sharing site, like Flickr, Picasa or Shutterfly.
Rock your specialty