Tuesday, December 11, 2012

5 ways to Photograph a Christmas Tree

Taking a picture of your christmas tree can be hard.  A quick shot with a flash doesn't really capture the magic of the tree.  And if you turn the flash of, it often is too dark, or just doesn't turn out.  I scoured the internet and tried a few things myself to figure out 5 different ways to get a great picture of your christmas tree.  I even wrote down my exact settings so you can take beautiful shots of your tree too.

Materials Needed:
SLR Camera
The lens I used are:
Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8
Cannon 85mm f1.8

1) How to Photograph The Starburst Look
Use a tripod and set the camera to a 2 second delay so there is no shake from you pushing the button. I had the lights in the house turned off, but some window light coming in from outside.  Then put the camera on manual and use these settings,  ISO 200 f/29 Shutter Speed 10".
ISO 200 f/29 Shutter Speed 8"

ISO 200 f/29 Shutter Speed 10"

2) How to Photograph the Fire Look
This one must be done at night or when it is very dark in the room aside from the tree lights.
Then put the camera on manual put it to these settings, ISO 3200 f/2.8 Shutter Speed 1/30

3) How to Photograph you Tree Bokeh
Turn off the automatic focus and adjust the focus so the blur is as large or as small as you like.  Or focus on something much closer to the camera then take the picture of the tree, which is much farther away.  The larger the apature you can get on this picture the more blurred you can make it.
The settings I used are, ISO 1600 f/2.8 Shutter Speed 1/60.

4) How to Photograph Shaped Bokeh
Settings ISO 1600 f/1.8 shutter speed 1/30

Now that you mastered the bokeh (scroll up if you don't know how to do the bokeh) turning it into a shape is very easy.  All you need is construction paper and scissors.  Cut out a black circle that is the size, or larger, then the front of your lens.  Then cut a quarter to half inch size shape in the middle of the construction paper.  You can now hold the construction paper in front of your lens and all the light sources should be your new shape instead of circle.  You can continue to hold it there or tape it on (go here or here for more info on making the shaped lens cover).

You should be able to see the shapes while looking through your camera.  The first time I tried this I couldn't get it to work.  I was using the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens and it just didn't work.  Once I switched to my 85mm f1.8 lens I had no problems.  The lens needs to have a low apature for this to work.
ISO 1600 f1.8 shutter speed 1/13  I also used a tripod on this shot.

5) How to Photograph your Tree with a Silhouette
I also took these pictures at night and just set my camera to manual and used these settings ISO 400 f1.8 Shutter speed 1/60
ISO 400 f1.8 Shutter speed 1/60.  This would also work with a smaller apature but you will need to slow down the shutter speed and probably use a tripod for it to work.


Heather Morris said...

Very helpful posting! beautiful pictures..I am def going to try some of these out.

Love Sparkle Pretty said...

Beautiful! I love the silhouettes!