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Friday, December 13, 2013

How to Photograph Christmas Lights Part 1 | Wilmington NC Family Photographer

I've been a bit behind on posts lately. With the arrival of my nephew, Ive been back and forth to Durham in the last 2 weeks. So its been a little nuts for me trying to get ready for Christmas and finish all my client orders they purchased as Christmas gifts.

I just love this time of the year. And now that we are officially a family, with a little one of our own, John and I are even more excited to pass on our childhood traditions and start some of our own. Decorating our new house is one of my favorites, John and I planned out how we were going to decorate the house together and then of course, John decorated the outside…. I did the wreath on the door… ok John helped a little! lol! So, I am going to tell you how I photographed the photos below and how to get the best photos of the Christmas lights on your house.

Step 1. Use a tripod. You will get the sharpest photo if you use a tripod. Because it is dark outside you will need to use a low shutter speed. There is no way you can handhold a shutter speed of an eighth of a second. Its too slow. You will get motion blur.

Step 2. Turn your flash off. You want the lights of the house to illuminate the house. The flash will over power everything and you will end up with a washed out photo.

Step 3. Close your aperture. So with aperture the smaller the hole the less light that will be allowed into your lens. With the aperture the bigger the number the smaller the hole. I would recommend using at least f/10. In the photos below I used a f/10 aperture and in the close up photo you can see the little burst of lights. I just love it!

Step 4. Go out 20 - 30 minutes after the sun has set. Most people think that they need to wait until it is completely dark outside. However, it is actually best when there is still a little light in the sky. You can see in the first photo below, it looks dark, however you can still see that blue sky! You will also see more of the surrounding details.

Next week I will tell you how to photograph your Christmas tree! Visit

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