Saturday, December 24, 2011

How to Get Great Photos of Your Christmas Tree.

I know this is kinda late but you've still got time to take some photos of your tree, if you're like me you leave it up till New Years Day anyway ;) 
I have had people ask how to get those glowing/sparkly photos of their Christmas tree with a dslr camera so I am here to tell you how!

First, here is an average photo of my tree.  The camera settings I used were: ISO 2500  f 2.2  1/80 sec  
I didn't have lights on in my living room so I had to use a high ISO, most basic dslr cameras will only go to about 1600 ISO so if I were using a camera like that, I would have had an even darker photo like this...

Not a very good photo, huh? 

But, by using a tripod and a sloooooow shutter speed, you can get much better results!

First, you will need to have a basic understanding of how to adjust your settings manually on your camera.  Also, as I mentioned you will need a tripod because you will be using a very slow shutter speed and your image will be extremely blurry if you don't use one. 

It will take some patience and experimenting in order to get it just right but just play with it.  The settings I used are just a guideline and I was in a dark room so depending on your lighting situation, you will need to adjust the settings accordingly. 

For this image, I used the following settings:  ISO 500  f/32  ss 30 sec (yes, that is 30 seconds :)  See how much better this photo turned out?  Notice I used a very small aperture (high number) of f/32.  This creates that starry effect you see!  But the smaller aperture you use, the less light that is let into the camera. 

I liked the starry look of that photo but I wanted more light so I adjusted my aperture a bit for this photo to f/16.  (I also could have bumped up my ISO)

So, settings for this photo were ISO 400  f/16  ss 30sec

What a difference from the first photo!  (All of these images are un-edited/SOOC.)  Now you can take great photos of your Christmas tree without feeling disappointed that the photos don't do it justice!  Happy picture-taking!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

All photos taken by Kristen (blog author) unless otherwise stated. Do not copy/save or print without permission. Thank you!


  1. Kristen, your photos are so inspiring. It makes me want to invest in a good camera and teach myself how to take pictures. Maybe somed day I'll do just that:) Merry Christmas!

  2. Thank you! I never really got into taking pictures till after I had Hayden and I wanted to learn how to take great pictures of him so I got my first dslr. Its such a fun hobby and definitely and investment! If you ever decide to take the plunge, I recommend the book Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. It's a great book on learning how to shoot manually! (it can be pretty intimidating trying to learn it all on your own.)
    Also, I am SO behind on my blog reading lately, I need to stop by yours and see what you have been up to lately! Merry Christmas to you too!


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