Around the Christmas season we tend to take more pictures than any other time of year. We want to capture the traditions, the kids, the decorations, the lights, the cookies, etc... I thought I would write a "beginner tutorial" or "how to" post on how to get those lights to 'sparkle' on the Christmas tree.
Here is what an above average or somewhat typical family Christmas tree would look like photographed.
Obviously, this is a cropped image and not what you may take, but you get the idea. So how do you get the lights to sparkle like this
- Aperture (this is a measure of how big the hole will be allowing light into the camera when taking the pictures) This is measure is known f-stops or f-numbers and will look like f/2.8 or f/5 etc...
- Shutter Speed (this is how fast or how long the shutter remains open when taking a picture) This measure will look like 1/100 s or 1/1000 s or 1 s, etc...
Once you have figured out how to set your camera mode to this you are ready to adjust the Shutter Speed. An example of what these settings are can be seen in the below picture (Canon Rebel Xti).
a speed of 1/50 (ie 1/50th of a second) and the Aperture is set at F2.8.
These two settings are the most important for achieving the sparkle of your Christmas lights. The reason I suggested setting your camera mode to Time Value (TV) is because you will only need to adjust the shutter speed and your camera will automatically adjust the aperture to what it thinks it needs to produce a properly exposed photo.
Next thing you will need to do is set up your tripod. If you do not have a tripod, prop up some books, use a chair, whatever you can do to get a stable platform that you will be able to set your camera on when taking the photo.
Ok, there is one more setting you will need to be able to find on your camera and that is the 'self-timer'. This feature is pretty much standard on all digital cameras. You will want to set your camera to the one of your self-timer settings (2-sec or 10-sec). You will see why you need this as we go on.
So before we take the photo here is a checklist:
- You have your camera set to Time Value (TV) (may be called something different in your manual)
- Your tripod is set up or your stable, flat space set up where your wanting to take the photo.
- Your camera is set to self-timer.
Your picture should look something like this
Thanks for stopping by.