Deck the Halls with Bows of Holly - Your challenge this week, you guessed it, is to photograph amazing Christmas Decorations.
You will find them everywhere, indoors and outdoors; in homes, shopping centres, streets, parks etc.
The best time to photograph outdoor Christmas lighting setups is around twilight or dusk. You will pick up the beautiful ambient colours of the sky and surroundings. Try and expose for the Twinkling Christmas lights not the sky. That way, the sky’s ambient light will come in to complement the lights that are your focus.
You won’t have a lot of time between sunset and nightfall; every minute will bring different lighting conditions.
Use a tripod. You will probably end up sacrificing a lot of images if you don’t, and don’t use flash, it will be a disaster.
Keep you ISO around 400 and your aperture around f/8. This is a good starting point. If the image is too dark increase the ISO, but remember you have a tripod, it is better to slow down your shutter speed or suffer the consequences of noise, increased grain and image degradation. Remember lower numbers let in more light, higher numbers let in less.
Fill your frame with all you want to capture, including negative space and reflective surfaces.
Photographing Christmas trees or other kinds of interior light arrangement can be difficult. Your camera can get tricked between adjusting to the dark background and the actual bulbs,
Brighten up the scene first. Add extra lamps or any other light source to the room, to brighten the shadows and decrease the contrast that might confuse your camera.
Use your tripod and set your shutter speed relatively low. Remember these are still life shots. A shallow depth of field is what is needed here, and there is a really narrow range between what’s in focus and what is blurry.
Bokeh is quite Christmassy. Bokeh is purposeful blur in a photograph, and it is used to describe everything from a gently dappled glow to sparkly, geometric facets of light. Here’s what you need to know to get a bokeh look for your shot.
A wide-open aperture is a must. The low end of your aperture like f/11 just won’t work. For example f/22 lets in less light and f/2 lets in a lot of light. The low end of your aperture allows the background to be thrown out of focus, and the lights should be seen and little ball of light.
Now go and use your imagination and photograph a beautiful Christmas decoration image. Remember to enjoy yourself and have fun this week. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.