Do your Christmas lights photos look flat? Blurry? Washed out? Is it just a bunch of white lights on a black background? Or are your lights not sparkly enough?
Photographing Christmas lights can be tricky, but I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve that I’d like to share with y’all. Follow these five tips and I promise you’ll be happier with your photos.
- When you’re shooting outside Christmas lights, timing is KEY. While it’s obvious that you don’t want to shoot during the day when you can’t see the lights (and let’s face it, they probably aren’t even on!), what’s less obvious is that you also don’t want to shoot when it’s pitch dark. Photos of exterior lights hanging on buildings you can’t distinguish just aren’t exciting. So shoot before it gets dark, when sunlight is dimming and the Christmas lights start shining brighter…probably before most people even HAVE their lights on. You’ll be amazed at how gorgeous your photos become!
- Try to get some sky in your exterior photos. It may look dull in your viewfinder, but because of the magic of light waves and color shift and white balance and a bunch of other stuff I won’t bore you with (today, heehee), it’ll probably end up a beautiful blue in some of your shots. If it’s cloudy or overcast, that can still end up being beautiful and dramatic, too.
- Get in close. Even if you don’t have a macro lens, take close-up shots of your ornaments and other decor. We tend to take photos of our trees, but forget to highlight the bits and pieces that add up to be our special trees. I suggest not only taking photos of your favorite ornaments; be an equal opportunity ornament shooter!
- Try your hand at bokeh. You know, that pretty effect where background lights are blurry. The secret is to focus on something in the foreground while the lights are in the background. Having your aperture as open as possible (that is, a smaller number like f/2.8. And, yes, you can set your aperture on the Samsung Galaxy camera. Awesome, right?) Play around with it a bit; eventually you’ll get it!
- Glow, baby, glow. For inside shots, turn on as many lights as possible. More light = more glowing, and more glowing = pretty! Taking photos of decor that light up is always a good idea, and having the Christmas tree in the background adds depth and context.
A big thanks to Samsung for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.
Would you like to win your own Samsung Galaxy Camera? Repin one of the photos from our “Holiday Memories + Moments” Pinterest board with the hashtag #samsungmemories for a chance to win, or upload your own photo onto your personal board with the hashtag #samsungmemories. And from there, we will pick the top twenty photos. Contest ends December 31st, 2012.