How To Take Pictures Of Christmas Lights

Christmas Tree with Christmas Lights by Mayday Pictures

How to Take Decent Pictures of Christmas Lights

First let me start with this: Don’t give up when you find you’ve snapped several pictures and none have turned out. It took me years to figure out how to actually capture a picture of my Christmas tree. I’m self taught, so don’t hate.

I figure other people have come across the same problem–where they take all these pictures of holiday decorations and neighborhood Christmas lights, but when they get home, realize they are all blurry. This post is dedicated to sharing what has worked for me with respect to taking good pictures of Christmas lights.

So, the most important aspect of this whole how-to is to make sure you turn your flash off. Using your flash defeats the whole purpose of capturing a pretty, glowing-like Christmas light picture. Regardless of which tips you take away from this tutorial on how to take pictures of Christmas lights, turning your flash off will be the one that you’ll utilize in every instance. If you don’t have a really great quality camera, turning the flash off will at least allow you to have the glow effect in your picture.

The following are what I’ve found to work for creating clear pictures of pretty glowing Christmas lights:

Turn the ISO to 200, or the lowest setting your camera is capable of. Again, make sure your flash is off. When you use the flash, it offsets the glowing effect of the lights, so the effect of your final image isn’t as lovely as it could be. I like to use this setting when I am taking a landscape picture from a good distance. Make sure you have your camera in a steady position, or else you’re likely to create a blur. If you don’t have a tripod, you can use the self-timer feature on your camera so you’ll have time to re-gain steadiness before the picture is captured.

Another method that has worked for me is to turn the ISO up to 1000. Once again, make sure you aren’t using your flash. If you are taking a picture of a Christmas tree, where you happen to be standing pretty close to the object, having the ISO set at 1000+ makes it much easier to capture the picture without having to utilize a tripod.

I generally like to practice being able to hold steady so I don’t need to rely on a tripod. With this method, though, you’ll typically spend much more time trying to get that “money shot”. If you do it this way, the money shot is definitely worth it.

If you have found an easy way to take good pictures of Christmas lights, please share your methodology below in the comments section.

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