Thursday, December 8, 2011

Photography Tip: Christmas Trees

Note: I am not a professional. I don't pretend to be. I am just someone who loves photography a TON and I love sharing with others some of the things I have learned.

Now... Most of you have put up your trees and most of you will probably at some point take a photo. We put our tree up last night and then I spent the rest of the evening messing around with my camera and the lights. Following are some things I learned while reading blogs and online articles and was actually able to figure out with my camera and make it happen.

Some of these things you will only be able to do if you have a dslr. (If you don't know what a dslr is you don't have one. You have a point and shoot.) No matter what kind of camera you have though, read your manual, see what it can do and then give some things a try!

1. Turn your flash off!
If you leave your flash on you will lose the pretty glow of the lights. Of course when you turn your flash off you are going to have to find a way to steady your camera. Tripods are great. If you don't have one try setting the camera on a table or stack of books or whatever you have around the house. Then set your timer to 2seconds. Hit the shutter button and then move away from the camera until it takes the photo. Any camera shake will make for a blurry photo.

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(ISO 1600, shutter speed 1/13, f/4.5)

2. Bokeh!
Bokeh is just that out of focus light in a picture that everyone loves a ton. Take a creative picture of your tree or lights by taking it out of focus. Turn off your auto focus and manually unfocus. Simple. You will want to have a low aperture number for this shot.

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(ISO 1600, shutter speed 1/100, f/3.5)

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(ISO 400, shutter speed 1/160, f/5.6)

3. Star-bursts!
This is a lot more simple than one might think. I did it in full manual mode but I'm assuming it can be done in aperture priority as well.

You will want to turn your aperture number up high (high number - small hole) and then adjust your ISO and shutter speed to get the correct exposure. (I actually found that overexposing a little was nice so play around.) You will have a slow shutter speed so again, you will need to stabilize your camera. When you have a high aperture it's like squinting. Squint at your tree lights and you will see star-bursts. (Take your glasses off and you might see bokeh ha!)

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The best thing about digital is that it doesn't cost anything to mess around and practice and learn through trial and error. Get creative. Have some fun. And let me know if you get some pictures! I would love to see them!

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And I need to work on this next idea a little more. I just did this real quick last night but I plan to do it better soon!

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Ok... go take some pictures!

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