#1 Make Christmas Lights Twinkle
Our Christmas Light Photography List’s first goal is to turn any points of light into stars, as you can see in the example below.
If you have any points of light, such as the Christmas tree lights, they will turn into starbursts. There are two ways you can achieve this. You can use a filter or your camera settings to get this effect.
Let’s now look at using your camera settings to accomplish this.
GETTING STAR BURNT WITH YOUR CAMERA SETTINGS
The trick is to use a small aperture and a large F-number. It would be best if you used something around F22. You can use anything from F16 to F32, but F22 is fine.
This aperture is small enough to allow for light bursts wherever there are points of light. All the Christmas lights will become little stars reflected in that tiny aperture.
You will need to control your camera to set your aperture to F22. You can also shoot in manual mode, which is great. This will also allow you to adjust all of your settings.
You will want to shoot in aperture priority mode or manual mode to select your aperture number.
GETTING STAR BURSTS Using A Filter
The second method is to use a star filter. It’s a filter that you place on top of your lens. They thread into it and have these little cut marks. It creates starbursts for you, regardless of what aperture you choose.
Instead of using F22, use F4.5 or F5.6. You’ll still get the star bars of light from the filter rather than the aperture.
These star filters can be used instead of your aperture is F22 doesn’t allow enough light to enter your camera.
I now have one, and I purchased the most expensive one I could find. I think the less expensive ones can make images look a little softer. If you have a very sharp L Lens and add a $4 crappy filter to it, your images will look softer. You can get them for as low as $15, but they are a bit more expensive. This is one I recommend.
#2 How to Photograph Christmas Lights by Using Focus
Let’s now move on to the second method of photographing Christmas lights. This is by moving them out of focus.
This is a creative way to photograph Christmas lights. It’s easy to do, as all you have to do is change your auto-focus setting to manual focus. Not many people do it, so you’ll have something different.
On the side of your lens, you will see a switch that reads AF or MF. You can switch your camera from an AF to MF to stop it from automatically focusing on any object.
You’re now going to set up the shot as normal, but instead of focusing, you’re going to turn the focusing ring of your lens and move it so that the Christmas lights don’t focus.
You can also set how far you want your focus to go, so you can move the ring around until you achieve that blurred look in your Christmas lights.
#3 Photography Christmas Lights With Light Bokeh
Let’s now move to the third and final method to make light bokeh. This is when the points of the light become small circles of light, as you can see in this example.
You can now do this with any subject in front of these lights – just like we did with the cookies jars. Or you can do it with people, ornaments, Teddy bears, and absolutely everything else!
Focusing on the subject will make it clearer. If there are lights in the background, these lights will turn into beautiful circles of light.
To do this, place your subject in front of a large number of lights. This could be your Christmas tree or a wall of fairy lights. These little lights will shine brighter than anything else. The more lights you have, the more bokeh in the background.
It would be best if you were shooting in aperture priority or manual mode because you want to choose a large aperture. This is a small F-number. It will give you light bokeh.
Remember that we also have the manual mode mood cheatsheet that you can download. This is especially important if your first settings are not quite right.
For the aperture, I would use F 2.2 to F 2.8. It all depends on what you are photographing and how deep you want to focus, but a minimum of F 2.2 or F 2.8 will give you light bokeh.
The only difference is that the lights will be in the background. You can watch How To Get a Blur Background in Photography. It will be a great help! We do have a blog post and a video on blurring the background.
You can also transform this light bokeh into other shapes. You can also choose to transform the bokeh into star or heart shapes.
You can make a DIY filter to slip on top of your lens. All you need is some black paper, scissors, and tape. You can make your filter by following the instructions on my blog next week. This link will be updated when I return to the blog.
Here are some general tips for photographing Christmas lights
Also, I promised you some tips for setting up Christmas lights photos. So here they are!
TIP #1: USE A LOW ISO NUMBER
The first step is to set a low ISO number.
This will help you get sharper and cleaner photos by reducing noise and grain. If you are unsure about noise and grain or how to reduce it, we have another video called Why is my image grainy? that will help you understand what noise is and how to minimize it.
TIP #2 – USE A TRIPOD
A tripod is a second tip. If you want to capture star-lit images, such as F22 for aperture, you will need to slow down the shutter speed. This is especially true if your shutter speeds are below 1/60. Your images will be sharper.
TIP 3 – DON’T USE YOURS ON CAMERA FLASH.
This will ruin any atmosphere or mood you create with your Christmas lights. This is why I recommend …..
TIP #4 – EXPERIMENT BEHIND NIGHTTIME AND DAYLIGHT SHOTS.
During the day is the best way to capture Christmas lights because there’s more light. All the images you see here were taken during daylight. It’s easier to set the settings you desire, but you can also try taking photos at night. This gives the photos a unique look. However, you will need to work harder to achieve your desired settings. A tripod is a must-have!
Thank you so much! We’ll see you next week! I’m looking forward to seeing you next week when we return with another Christmas-themed video.