Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Tree Lights - Quick Tutorial

It appears that this Christmas the challenge that every photographer is enjoying is getting the lights on their trees to look star like and twinkly. Pure Actions initially got me interested in this and then my friend Elissa captured her tree so beautifully that I was sold - I had to try it too! It's really easy and if you haven't already done it you should give it a whirl. It's a rewarding challenge!

Kick your aperture up to f22 (think of a tiny, tiny, tiny hole), bump your ISO up to appox. 800 (it will vary a little depending on the light in your home etc.) and then lastly my shutter speed was 5 seconds long...which is really really slow.  Because it was dark in my home and because I had my aperture so high, I needed to have a really slow shutter speed to get a correct exposure.  The super slow shutter speed, combined with the tiny aperture hole creates the star like effect with the lights. You must use a tripod as any hand shake will blur your image a great deal with a shutter speed that slow.  Also a remote or a timer is also essential so that your hand doesn't bump the camera when you click the shot.  I used a timer and it worked great.  I also added a simple boost action just to bring a little more life to the image and whalah....twinkly lights.  Now it's your turn.  Go for it!  I wanna see yours!



  1. Oh, I LOVE those twinkles! I've been playing around with the "glowing" Christmas tree pictures, but I think I prefer twinkling! You've inspired me to give it a whirl! Great job, and beautiful tree!

    p.s. I noticed in your very first post of your tree on facebook that you and I have essentially identically decorated trees. Who woulda thunk it? lol!

  2. It looks fantastic - I really need to spend some time photographing our tree and decorations.

  3. great tutorial! way better than mine! LOVE LOVE LOVE your tree!

  4. Your tree is beautiful. You are so talented! Wish I lived near you. I would definitely love for you to shoot my family!

  5. Love it! Your tree is so pretty! (And I'll definitely be keeping these tips in mind!)

  6. What a fantastic tutorial - I will definitely try this! And your tree & the pictures are BEAUTIFUL!!!


  7. Great tutorial to read! I will take note of this so I can also use these tips for my Christmas tree decoration this year.


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