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!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Our Christmas Trees

Here is a look at our Christmas trees this year.  I am posting from my parents house so I just have some quick images of the trees, nothing detailed but enough for a quick post.  :)

This is our little tree in the new bonus room.  It was our first tree from when we rented and didn't have room for a larger tree.  It's a little sad and spindly, but I tried to dress it up a bit.  It is decorated in silver and white with ornaments from the Dollar Tree and things I got on clearance after Christmas last year.  I always try to keep it frugal with Christmas decorating since it is only up for a few weeks out of the year (but I still try to make it pretty!)
In this view from our living room, you can see both of our trees.  I love this view!
This is our 'big' tree in the living room decorated in red and gold.  I positioned it in front of a window so that passers-by could see our tree from the road.  :)
(When I get home, I plan to post about how you can get your Christmas tree to sparkle and glow in pictures!  It's really easy and makes such a big difference!)
And these are a few 'trees' we have in the entry-way (they are clearance finds from JC Penney one year.)
We do have one more tree in the house (Hayden's) but I didn't get any pictures of it before we left on our trip.  The poor thing looks a little sad since Hayden has re-arranged it several times and has thrown toys into it, etc...  Funny because he doesn't touch my big trees.  I have them decorated with glass ornaments and never had a problem with him grabbing them.  I wonder if baby Ava will be just as 'friendly' with my ornaments?  ;) 
I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas season!

p.s. I am linking up to Sarah's Christmas Tree Party! (late...)

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

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Mantel

For my Christmas mantel, I kept it frugal and simple.  I dreamed of a gorgeous mantel complete with a huge mirror and large wreath, lots of mercury glass, fluffy greenery, (I could go on and on....)  But, alas, I did not have the funds to support that dream mantel.  So, I used lots of things I already had (I always try to hit up the after Christmas clearances for the next years decorating) and purchased just a couple new things at Marshals.

The old window has been on my mantel since we put it up in the new bonus room (that I am still working on....maybe someday I will post about it!)  Anyway, the wreath I have had for several years but it still had some life in it :)
As for the garland spray on the mantel, I used several things I purchased on clearance last year after Christmas.  Lighted evergreen garland, large artificial white poinsettias, some silvery ball thingys and the glittery (and very messy!) twisties.  The only things I purchased new this year were the silver ball garland and mercury glass globes at Marshals for under $30 total for all.

My silver stockings were another clearance purchase from last year :)  I just love those after-Christmas sales!  I try to never buy Christmas decor for full-price (but there is the occasional impulse buy for something that I really want like those beautiful mercury glass globes ;)

So, there you have it.  My frugal and simple wintery Christmas mantel. 

I don't know about you, but Christmas is really sneaking up on me this year!  I cannot believe how close it is and I hate to say it but I am really behind in my Christmas shopping!  Looks like I will be finishing it up last minute as usual! 

I am linking up to Rhoda's mantel party!  Take a look at the hundreds of beautiful Christmas mantels that are there!

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

Welcome Baby Emily

Today I got to spend some time with my bestie and her brand new baby girl, Emily!  She's just 9 days old and as precious as can be!  We hoped to get some sleeping, posed photos but Emily had other plans ;)  We didn't give up and I managed to get a few.  My favorites ended up being the candid shots I got of her and her mommy in her nursery.  Those sort of shots are always my favorite.  I was there about 4.5 hours but I didn't mind because it was fun hanging out with Kyla and her new little one while our 2.5 yr olds played together.  Here are a few of my favs.

One to show off little Emily's beautiful baby room :)
Little princess

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