by Miscelleana Rhinehart
Christmas lights are a beautiful part of Christmas. They seem to glow in the darkness as a reminder of the holiday coming. Certain designs of lights can take your breath away and cause you to pause and enjoy them a bit longer. Maybe even take a picture. But, taking pictures of Christmas lights isn’t easy, is it? They are just bright lights or blurry or cause a fuzzy strip of light. So, what’s the best way to photograph the magical and mysterious Christmas lights?
Here are some tips to take pictures of the house down the street or the building covered in lights in town for the photographer in you.
Before we begin, you should know that you don’t need a big, expensive, high-end, break-your-wallet camera to take great shots of Christmas lights. It’s all in the technique, and even a very inexpensive digital camera will work. No, you don’t even need a flash either. Just you, a camera, and the twilight.
Photo by karenwithak
Time of day: This is the most important part of taking Christmas lights pictures. Some photographers wait until it is too dark to shoot. If it is completely dark outside, then you will be either shooting the environment or the lights, not both, as only one at a time can be exposed correctly at that time. Of course, the problem with shooting during the day is the complete disappearance of lights, being not
visible at all.
So, the tip? Try to shoot when the ambient light and the Christmas lights find a balance.
Choose your location. Is it a neighbor’s house? The giant tree downtown? Choose which lights you want as your focal point, and set a day to go visit.
Get to your location early. Since you want to shoot before the light is completely gone, get there early to set up your shot. Around sunset should be enough time.
Photo by Sentrawoods
Compose your shot. Try to fill in the sky in the background as much as you can. Get down low if you need to. This will give your lights an environment to fill.
Set your white balance. By setting your camera’s white balance to “tungsten”, you will be able to see the lights as they shine crystal colored, depending on their color. The “tungsten” setting is used for shooting indoors without a flash, and being that the little lights are tungsten balanced, this setting will really make them pop against the twilight sky.
Steady your camera. Your camera needs to be steady as you take shots. Use a tripod or a beanbag, anything that will keep it steady. If you use a smartphone to take pictures, both hands please.
Wait. Now, you are ready for the time that the light changes. As the sun disappears, start taking pictures every minute. As the light will disappear quickly, take as many as you want. Don’t worry about checking each one, just start taking shots. You can easily delete the duds later.
Well, that’s it. Your tips to taking amazing Christmas lights shots. The shots may not be what you want the first couple times you try it, but practice will help you find the exact time to take the shots. The more you do it, the better the shots will come out until you have your own technique.
Get those Christmas lights in frame before they disappear into the day.
Miscelleana Rhinehart a lover of holidays is an avid candid photographer. From holidays to no reason at all, Ms. Rhinehart loves to break out her camera. As a writer, she loves to share her tips with an audience, hoping to give them one tip they can use. Currently she writes for a marketing company, helping to sell NY used cars to a wider audience with options like searching online classifieds.