50mm ISO 1000 f/13 4.0 sec
There’s really not much to capturing great photos of your Christmas tree if you are a little bit familiar with the manual settings on your camera! Here are a few tips for getting the twinkling lights effect as in the pictures above:
- Use a tripod or set your camera on a stationary surface
- Use the self-timer function or a remote (even just pushing the shutter button down can cause minuscule movement that makes a difference in the picture outcome)
- Set your ISO at a somewhat high number (it’s at 1000 in the pictures above)
- Use a small aperature (big f-stop number) and a very slow shutter speed
- Turn off all the lights except the ones on the tree
50 mm ISO 4000 f1.8 1/40 sec
To get the bokeh effect, where the lights are out of focus, I increased the ISO by quite a bit (up to 4000). I then changed my aperture to the smallest f-number it would go. I also increased the shutter speed a bit. To capture a silhouette, place your subject 3-4 feet in front of the tree. Because the shutter speed is still pretty slow, your subject will need to be still, otherwise they will turn out blurry. Hence my 24 week belly and not the wiggly two year old!
In recent weeks, I’ve read a lot of tutorials for taking lighted Christmas tree photos and have found that you can get similar results with different settings than the ones I used. So play around with your ISO, aperture, and shutter speed until you find what you like best!