Stumped on How to Photograph Christmas Lights? This is a step by step on setting your ISO and aperture for creative pictures of Christmas lights.
I love lights. I love bokeh, and I looovvveeee Christmas lights. Every year I look forward to getting our tree, stringing it with lights and getting the decorations hung. Not for the same reason as most people, though. I just want to sit my kiddos in front of the tree and photograph them! The subtle amount of light given off by those tiny bulbs inspires me, and I want to help you find that same “ahhh” moment.
How to Photograph Christmas Lights
- Lower your F-stop. Creamy bokeh…. need I say more?! The lower your f-stop, the dreamier that background is going to be. Go here to learn more: What is f-stop?
- Be Mindful When Choosing Your Shutter Speed- When photographing Christmas lights, you’re likely in a less-than-well-lit atmosphere, and that’s ok. Don’t try to compensate with lowering your shutter speed too much. Kids move, a lot. You want to “freeze” them and avoid motion blur. I suggest going no lower than 1/160.
- Crank Up The ISO- Again, you’re likely in a less-than-well-lit atmosphere, and this is where you can add some extra light to your images, and create that golden ambiance that the mini-Christmas lights produce.
- Composition- This is where the fun begins! Look for unique angles and candid moments. Your son hanging his favorite ornament on the tree, making sure it’s just right. Your sweet baby staring up at the tree with that look of wonder in his eyes. Get down on their level and look around from their perspective. You’ll be surprised by the amount of opportunities you’ll see for some creative shots. Don’t forget, next year they’ll be a whole year bigger 🙁
- Let’s Get REALLY Creative! You’ll need: Wide Aperture lens, Paper, scissors, lit Christmas tree.
- Set your lens to the widest aperture (f1.4, etc)
- Turn OFF auto focus and manually turn the dial on your lens to get the bokeh to the desired size
I hope everyone learned tips on How to Photograph Christmas Lights and had FUN taking some Christmas photos this year! Most of all, don’t forget to have fun and try to get yourself IN some of the photos, too!
Laura Jennings Photography LLC, now in its 7th year, is a full time, full service natural light photography business. The artist, Laura Jennings, is a well-known destination wedding and portrait photographer and serves the Northwest Florida Panhandle as well as points unknown around the world! Laura specializes in beach weddings and family sunset photography and in her free time is a volunteer photographer for the Magic Hour Organization offering free photography services to terminal cancer patients and their families.
Laura was a 1st place winner in The 2016 Shoot & Share photography contest with over 225,000 entries from 120 countries and over 30 million votes. Locally, she is an extremely busy wedding and family photographer and was voted Best of Bay for 2016. Laura is periodically a guest blogger for The Perfect Pose and has been published in numerous newspapers and magazines such as Florida Today and The Circuit. She has even collaborated with a major television network on a new reality show concept! Laura is a member of PPA, APA, her local Chamber, and sits on the board of Magnitude Photography – A monthly fee based photographer referral service that matches quality photographers with clients nationwide.