Christmas Creatives

Christmas is a wonderous time especially when trying to creatively capture some of the magical light moments with your camera. Here’s some ideas to help you obtain fantastic photos:

  • Firstly, you need to mount your camera on a tripod and ensure its stable and secure
  • A standard kit lens (18-55mm) will work with this effect but a slightly more powerful telephoto or zoom lens (80mm, 100mm or similar) will work even better
  • Arrange your scene to be photographed. Ideally, you need a darkened room with something like a Christmas tree with its lights on, at a distance of perhaps 10 – 15 feet or 3 – 5m away from the camera, or more if space permits. If you don’t (yet) have a tree but have the lights try and secure these on a board or suitable fabric with pins or clips
  • Next, arrange a scene in front of the camera that’s not too close but more than a couple of inches/cm away, especially important if using a telephoto type lens which can’t usually focus at close range
  • The scene should consist of Christmassy items; colourful/sparkly tree baubles, small ‘toy’ presents, tinsel, a manger, leaves etc, a time to use your imagination!
  • Having turned on your camera select either the Aperture Priority exposure setting (AV on Canon & A on most other makes), or choose the Manual exposure setting
  • You need to select a low numbered aperture – perhaps f4 or f5.6 or a smaller number if available. The smaller the aperture number the better this creative will work
  • Whether using AV or Manual exposure providing you’ve set the exposure correctly, don’t worry about a slow shutter speed as your camera is on a tripod, but do activate the delayed timer or use a cable release
  • Select a low ISO of 100 – 200. Do NOT leave the camera in ‘Auto ISO’ as the camera will choose a much higher number and spoil the effect and quality of your image
  • Now you need to focus on the scene close to the camera and allow for the lights in the background to be seen in your composition. You will note a couple of things:
    • 1. the foreground is likely to be darker than needed (insufficient light) and;
    • 2. the lights are blurred in the background showing the Bokeh (circles of light)
  • Whilst the second thing is desired, we are likely to need some additional light on your Christmassy scene for it to actually be seen! Therefore, use a small light (a small torch perhaps or a key fob) I’ve even seen people use the low light output from their phones!
  • By adjusting the light on your foreground scene to make it clearly visible without being too bright you will capture some incredible images 🙂

I’ve seen many of these since I began training on this technique and people often use them as Christmas cards or emails at this festive time of year. Merry Christmas!

I do offer feedback on photos so please try the ‘Photo Evaluation’ section within my App to have your image(s) judged and receive constructive feedback from a professional photo competition judge 🙂