How to Photograph Christmas Lights – Photography Tutorial

How to Photograph Christmas Lights – Photography Tutorial

January 16, 2020 19 By Kailee Schamberger


– Today on The Slanted Lens we’re getting
into the holiday spirit and headed out to take pictures of Christmas lights. Watch til the end of the video,
don’t miss on the give away. Hi, this is J. P. Morgan. Today on The
Slanted Lens we’re going to show you things you need to know to take pictures
of Christmas lights. There are just two or three basic things you need to understand.
We’re going to share those with you so you’ll be ready to go out to take pictures
of Christmas lights this holiday season. When shooting Christmas lights, time of
day is critical. Christmas lights are constant. They’re not going to change.
They have an exposure that won’t change. But daylight is very bright and as
daylight drops there’s going to be a point where the daylight crosses the flat line
of the Christmas lights. During that 10 or 15 minutes is when you
get most beautiful pictures of Christmas lights because you have just a little bit
of ambient light on the house, so the house isn’t pitch black, and you have a
nice exposure on your Christmas lights. But again, you’ve got to watch your
daylight. As it goes down and gets darker and darker and darker until it hits that
time where it’s exposed correctly to your tungsten light or the Christmas
lights on the house. Dusk is a perfect time to photograph
Christmas lights because we want just a little bit of light left in the sky. When
I say dusk, it’s really late dusk, almost dark. You need to find an aperture and a
shutter speed and then just simply wait until the ambient light matches your
Christmas lights and then you shoot that short real window time when
they’re matching. Sometimes it’s only 10 or 15 minutes. 3. Get a tripod. What are you, crazy? You
can’t take pictures at night of Christmas lights without a tripod. I’ve seen people
try, doesn’t work. Use a tripod. 4. Don’t use the on camera flash, it’s
not going to do much and it’s just going to be annoying. Turn that thing off,
you’re going to do this entirely on manual. Camera Settings The camera settings are critical. First
wight balance. White balance is very important. You can set it on tungsten or
daylight. They both will look good and can be good in different situations. I usually
set mine on daylight and then I just allow the Christmas lights to be a little bit
warm. But here’s the important tip. Shoot raw, because now when you get back to your
studio, or your house, or your computer, you can put that image on the computer and
you can change the color balance to whatever you want it to be. Daylight,
tungsten, or whatever you choose and it’ll make it work. So, shoot on raw. But when I’m in the field I usually shoot
on daylight and then later on I can change that.
ISO You’re going to see your ISO 620 or
higher. I start at 620 ISO on the mark three, that’s a great place to start when
it starts to get dark. Aperture and Shutter Speed I set my aperture at 5.0 and my shutter
speed at one eighth of a second. This was a good exposure on the Christmas lights
but the ambient light was way too bright when I started out. I just kept shooting
until lights on the sky became more and more properly exposed. It’s just a matter
of waiting, and watching, and shooting, until they come together. Eventually you’re going to lose all that
nice light on the sky and your Christmas lights on your house can become a little
too dark. Here’s a couple of those shots after a prime time of shooting passed.
Just not near as nice looking. I hope you have a great holiday season and take some
great photographs. Our next lesson is how to combine strobes
with great Holiday boka. Keep those cameras rolling
and keep on clicking. Ho, ho, ho! Happy Holidays from The
Slanted Lens. We’re giving away $5,000… No, more than $5,000 worth of
equipment for the holidays. Make sure you go to The
Slanted Lens and sign up. Over 50 people are going to win prizes. So go to
theslantedlens.com and sign up. Make sure you win something from The Slanted
Lens this holiday season. ♪ [Jingle bell, jingle bell,
jingle bell rock] ♪ Ho, ho, ho! All right when you’re shooting Christmas
lights, it’s important to go like this because if you don’t and Kate can’t make
fun of me later when she’s editing. All right, let’s get going here.