How to photograph holiday lights

how to photograph holiday lights

How to Photograph Christmas Lights

Dec 08, †Ј However, photographing holiday lights can be quite tricky as they often need just the right exposure so that the colors donТt wash each other out. To help you get started, below is a list of essential equipment and tips to help you shoot stunning pictures of holiday lights. Essential Equipment for Holiday Light Photography Author: Adorama. Dec 04, †Ј Cameras for Capturing Holiday Lights: Really, almost any digital camera can be used for photographing holiday lights. The primary things you'll want are a camera with the ability to change shooting/exposure modes, and to make settings like raising or lowering ISOs.

By Canon Editor. This article was originally published on March 28, and has been updated to include current product information. December is a great month to photograph bright, festive decorations. One of the most eye-catching decorations is also how to apply for fha loans most challenging: holiday lights.

There are many different tricks and techniques detailed below to capture the beguiling colors, glitters, and twinkles Ч pick the one s that work best for you and your equipment, and make the most of this beautiful holiday season! Really, almost any digital camera can be used for photographing holiday lights. The ability to alter White Balance the overall color "tint" of your pictures can be very handy when you're photographing not only subjects lit by artificial lights, but the lights themselves.

Some recently-introduced cameras now have Electronic Viewfinders sometimes abbreviated "EVF"and these have some nice advantages when it comes to photos or video what is marine waters in california in dimly-lit situations.

First, they can often raise the overall brightness of the scene you're looking at, making it easier to see and compose your images, even when most of the scene is in deep shadow. And secondly, you can see a good approximation of the brightness and the color rendition you'll likely get in your pictures, right in the EVF, before you take the first what is it to do in washington dc. And if you decide to change a setting like White Balance, you'll see the shift in color immediately after you've set it.

So while photographers have taken great pictures of holiday lights for decades using traditional "optical" viewfinders, you'll likely find your success rate goes up a bit if you use a modern mirrorless camera, or a compact digital camera which has an electronic viewfinder.

While the intent of this article is not to act as a sales pitch, the recently-introduced Canon EOS R camera is outstanding in both viewing and focusing in low-light situations, arguably among the best cameras in the industry for this what to wear in india men of work. If you enjoy this type of low-light work, the next time you're camera shopping, you should take a look at this full-frame, mirrorless Canon EOS camera.

Most of the time, when photographing subjects such as lights or candles, you are in a low-light setting. However, this is one time when a flash is generally not a good option; so the first tip is to turn off your built-in flash. Your choice of Exposure Mode, on the Mode Dial, plays a major part in this. Any of the following shooting modes will prevent the built-in flash from automatically trying to pop-up and fire every time you press the shutter button half-way down in a low-light situation:.

Flash Off mode available on most recent EOS cameras. Higher settings such as, how to use adobe photoshop cs,etc. However, the trade-off is that higher ISOs show greater levels of 'noise' that pastel speckling visible throughout some images, most noticeable in shadow and mid-tone areas. The factory-default "Standard" level, however, is usually fine for most purposes. Something to keep in mind: Interchangeable lens cameras, with larger imaging sensors, show much lower noise levels at the same ISO than digital point-and-shoots, so be cautious when choosing your exposure settings.

Long Exposures: Almost without exception, holiday lights will be at their best when the surrounding environment is dark, whether indoors, or outdoors at dusk or at night. And, these lights are almost always fairly modest in their output as well.

So we're usually talking low-light situations any time we're photographing holiday lights. Modern digital SLRs can handle most low-light situations easily, but there are a few things you can do to insure great pictures in these situations:.

Shoot how to photograph holiday lights higher ISO settings. But if you're working in the P, Tv, Av, or M shooting modes, you can set ISO yourself to settings like, or even higher if the holiday lights you're shooting and their surroundings are not super-bright. You'll be shooting at faster shutter speeds, all else being equal, if you use higher ISOs Ч and that means less chance of blurs from any motion blur.

Use a tripod. A tripod is the best way to stabilize your camera. If you don't have a tripod, see if you can lean the camera against a nearby lamp post, park bench, or other solid surface. If there is nothing to brace the camera on, make sure you are holding it as steadily as possible: Hold the camera firmly with both hands. Use your optical viewfinder rather than the LCD if you have one, so you can rest the camera against your face. Keep your elbows bent, and tucked into your chest, and keep your knees slightly bent for improved balance; basically, you want to turn yourself into a tripod.

Even if your camera is on a tripod, consider using a cable release. If you don't how to photograph holiday lights one, how to photograph holiday lights the camera's self-timer function because with very slow exposure times, even the slight movement of pushing the shutter button can sometimes result in a blurry image. If your camera offers this, you can connect to a compatible smartphone or tablet with Canon's free Camera Connect App installed, and then use your device as a remote controller to fire your camera.

If your lens has Image Stabilization, use it. Image Stabilization effectively reduces blur caused by camera movement, and allows sharper pictures at slower shutter speeds when you're hand-holding the camera. Use a wide-angle lens. Wider focal lengths, such as 16mm, 18mm, 24mm, etc. Consider stepping closer to those lights, and zooming the lens to a wider focal length, to minimize blurs and camera shake. Subject movement should not be an issue in this case because lights are static.

However, camera or photographer movement may still be a problem. Any of the steps above will help curtail it. Pick the right Exposure Mode: We've already mentioned above that by selecting the right shooting mode, you can prevent the camera's built-in flash from trying to fire in a situation where most of the time, you don't want it to. Experienced and critical shooters may move right into Manual exposure mode, for full control.

But there are plenty of other options for easy, automatic operation that will still optimize the camera for low-light conditions. Flash Off mode: This was mentioned above Ч totally automatic exposure, like the full-auto "green zone" setting, but with the built-in flash prevented from firing. Hand-held Night Scene mode: Also mentioned above, since it prevents the built-in flash from firing.

Instead of trying to shoot one single long exposure in dim light, it takes four quick shots in a row, at faster shutter speeds, and then digitally blends them into one finished image, with normal brightness and significantly lower noise levels than typical high-ISO shots would have.

Still has the ease of auto exposure, but now gives the shooter control of several important functions: lens aperture easy to pre-set a wide lens opening, and know the camera will leave it there ; ISO; and if needed Exposure Compensation, to deliberately lighten or darken a shot. And, full access to all Menu settings and Custom Functions. But there is one instance where you may need to use slower shutter speeds with holiday lights: certain types of new, energy-efficient type lights what is standard postage now cycle on and off rapidly, and you may take a picture and it appears that some or even all the lights are off!

It's nothing you did Ч it's just the lights "blinking" on and off, at somewhere around 60 times per second, and at a fast shutter speed, you caught some or all during an "off" part of their blinking cycle. The answer: use a slower shutter speed. The easiest way to do this is go to the P or Av mode, and set a lower ISO drop it down to half or one-quarter of where you started fromand try again. Setting a smaller lens aperture higher f-number in Av mode accomplishes the same slower shutter speed, too.

Setting your camera's White Balance is a great way to control the look and feel of your image. There are several options to choose from, even on basic point-and-shoots. Essentially, White Balance settings will tell the camera which light source it should capture as white, or neutral light - and every other light source within that shot will be adjusted accordingly.

Auto White Balance AWB is the starting point for most users, and in the fully-automatic shooting modes is usually the only choice available. It will try to balance the color of white light in the scene, but will often deliberately leave a trace of warm tones yellow or amber colors to preserve a sense of "atmosphere" with traditional tungsten-type holiday lights.

AWB is often the best place to begin for newer what time is the ravens game on thanksgiving of holiday lights, like energy-efficient LED and compact-fluorescent lights we're beginning to see more and more of. If the overall colors aren't coming out as you want, consider one of the other White Balance options your camera provides.

With most cameras, you'll need to be in a "Creative Zone" shooting mode, like P, Tv, or Av to set these. Here are some suggested settings that may work especially well for indoor or outdoor holiday light displays:. Tungsten: Many holiday lights use incandescent bulbs, similar to the traditional tungsten household bulbs most of us grew up with. Auto White Balance can render these a bit too "warm" in color sometimes. Setting your camera's white balance to Tungsten the 'lightbulb' icon will render white lights to appear white or slightly warm-white.

If you are photographing outdoors at dusk, Tungsten WB may cause the sky may appear as an exaggerated deep blue the Auto White Balance setting may have a very similar result, in this case. Colored holiday lights, if they're tungsten-based, will appear close to the color you saw with your eyes. Daylight: Setting your camera to a daylight white balance the 'sun' icon will result in lights that appear to glow amber, orange, or yellow. If you are shooting outside at dusk, the sky will appear as a more neutral blue.

Dialing in Color Temperature Ч "K" White Balance: Mid-range and upper-end digital SLRs will also let you 'dial in' a custom Color Temperature measured in Kelvin that can very precisely control the overall "tint" of any tungsten-type light or daylight-type light source how much does it cost to rent a dunk tank given a little trial and error in some cases.

When shooting traditional tungsten-type holiday lights, if you find AWB and even the Tungsten WB settings still leave you with a yellow- or orange-colored cast, try setting the camera to the "K" WB setting, and then in the shooting Menu, adjust it to a value like, or lower.

In the shooting Menu, you can also find the camera's White Balance Shift, adding controlled amounts of green, blue, amber, or magenta to your image until you get the look you want Ч this can be added to any WB option you've set. Holiday lights offer great inspiration for photographic experimenting. Here are some fun things to try:.

Soft Focus: Create a glowing, dreamy look with soft focus effects. Alternately, some filter manufacturers offer various fog, smoke, and diffusion filters that can screw onto the front of your lens.

These are actually useful for landscape and portrait photography, which may make them a good investment. They can be used with any lens that accepts screw-in filters via threads on the front of the lens. Note that many of the compact Canon PowerShot models cannot accept filters, and those that can often require a separate, optional filter adapter.

In a pinch, you can create the effect without spending any money: try breathing on the front of your lens and taking the picture while the glass is still fogged up. Deliberately moving the camera during a long exposure will result in unique streaks of light and color that make for very creative images. Experiment with different kinds of movement: panning, tilting, spinning, zooming in and out Ч each movement will create a variety of patterns and shapes. Whatever special effect you prefer, you can probably create or enhance it in the computer, with any number of third-party image editing programs or filter plug-ins.

Poke around online, and you're sure to find a ton of options. There are many ways to use today's digital cameras for stunning images of holiday decorations. Remember that every time you take pictures is an opportunity to learn more about your equipment, to experiment, and to have fun Ч think of it as a small gift to yourself this holiday season! All Canon contributors are compensated and actual users of Canon products promoted.

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How to Photograph Christmas Lights Indoors and Outside

Dec 20, †Ј However, photographing holiday lights can be quite tricky as they often need just the right exposure so that the colors donТt wash each other out. To help you get started, below is a list of essential equipment and tips to help you shoot stunning pictures of holiday lights. Essential Equipment for Holiday Light Photography5/5(16). Using only ambient light, the focus of this image is of the Santa Claus figurine in the foreground. The toy soldier figure in the background is rendered softly out of focus due to the wide aperture chosen by the photographer, which allows the holiday lights to display the classic bokeh zi255.comted Reading Time: 6 mins. With only a few days until Christmas and all of my holiday shopping completed (thanks, Amazon Prime!), whatТs left to do but eat cookies and photograph all the beautiful light displays?IТve always loved the look of bokeh-y Christmas lights in the background of a holiday images and was especially pleased with this image my friend Leujay took of my dogs and I last zi255.comted Reading Time: 1 min.

Christmas lights rarely look as nice in photographs as they do in real life, but it doesn't have to be that way. Whether you want to document your own holiday decorations or simply love pictures of twinkling lights, our tips will help you shoot holiday scenes like a pro. The most common mistake people make when shooting Christmas lights is waiting until it's completely dark outside.

When there's no light left in the sky, your holiday lights will appear to be floating in a sea of black. The best time to shoot is at dusk, when the natural light is bright enough to illuminate the edges of buildings and trees, but not so bright that it drowns out the artificial lights.

If you're in a big city, you may be able to shoot later at night due to light pollution, but the sky won't have the same blue color. Smartphones are notoriously bad at low-light photography. When you're shooting Christmas lights, the internal meter in the smartphone usually picks up on the bright points of light and produces an underexposed image with dark shadows.

To avoid this, try tapping on a shadowy portion of the image displayed on your preview screen. This will tell your phone to adjust the camera settings for that area instead, and the preview image should instantly get brighter. Another option is to download a third-party smartphone app that allows you to manually control your shutter speed.

Holiday lights and flash photography don't mix. The flash will not only make your scene look flat and uninteresting but also overpower the soft glow coming from your Christmas lights. There's one exception to this rule: when you want to capture a person standing in the foreground of your image. You can use the flash to illuminate only your subject while keeping the shutter speed slow enough to capture the glowing Christmas lights in the background.

If you want to take an indoor portrait in front of the Christmas tree, we recommend lighting your subject with a lamp instead of a flash so that you don't overilluminate the scene. Shooting holiday lights indoors is tricky because they aren't powerful enough to illuminate the surrounding area. This means you may get a lovely picture of the lights on your Christmas tree, but everything else in the image will look dark and murky. To achieve a more balanced look, try placing lamps just outside the frame to add more ambient light to the scene.

Hiding a lamp behind your tree will also add depth to your image and help the tree stand out from its surroundings. Tripods can be cumbersome to carry around, but using one will significantly improve your pictures. Unless you forgot your tripod and need to hold your camera in your hand, it's best to avoid using a high ISO because it can create noise and graininess in the shadows of your image. For optimal clarity, keep your ISO setting under when shooting Christmas lights.

If you're using a smartphone, you may need to manually lower your ISO by using a third-party app. The key to producing a great image of Christmas lights is to choose a shutter speed that strikes the right balance between highlights and shadows.

If the shutter speed is too fast, you will start losing details in the shadows of your image. If the shutter speed is too slow, your lights will look blown-out, and the sky may start to resemble daylight if you're shooting at dusk. To find the perfect exposure, we recommend shooting in manual mode and testing a variety of shutter speeds. The white balance you choose Ч or the one your camera chooses, if you're using auto white balance Ч can significantly change the look of your image.

Holiday lighting displays often contain a mix of white, blue, red, green or even rainbow lights. Take the time to manually cycle through your white-balance settings to see which option best suits the scene you're photographing.

If you're shooting at dusk and want the sky to look extra blue, be sure to use the tungsten or light bulb setting on your camera or smartphone. Even when you use a tripod, it's still possible to shake the camera when you press the shutter button. A simple solution is to use a cable release, an internal timer or a wireless remote to fire the camera without touching it.

Setting the timer delay on your phone or camera to 5 seconds should prevent any vibrations. Remember that Christmas lights don't always have to be sharp. By focusing on a person or object in the foreground, you can use the out-of-focus lights to create a dreamy holiday atmosphere.

Not only will your images be higher quality, but you can easily enhance RAW files to bring out more detail in the highlights and shadows using software such as Adobe Camera Raw built into Photoshop or Lightroom. This is especially important when capturing Christmas lights because they tend to have deep shadows and blown-out points of light. Light painting is a fun and easy way to spice up your holiday photos.

You can illuminate specific objects with a flashlight, spell out the words "Merry Christmas" or make creative light trails with sparklers or light painting brushes. To ensure you stay invisible, keep moving, and try not to illuminate yourself with the flashlight. Remember to use a shutter speed that's slow enough to allow you to run through the scene.

There are endless ways to photograph Christmas lights. Don't be afraid to break the rules and see what unique images you can come up with. Tom's Guide. Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer.

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