Capturing Christmas Lights

Christmas time is the perfect opportunity to play with capturing pretty bokeh from lights! One question I get from friends and family this time of year is how to get the Christmas lights background effect. Here’s a simple breakdown of what you need to do!

First step is to set your camera in manual. If you do this during the day you’ll have more natural light to play with and can keep your shutter speed higher and ISO lower. If you are doing this at night, you might need to grab a tripod or a flat surface to place your camera on so that you can get proper exposure.

Place the person or object you’re photographing a couple feet in front of the tree.

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Set your aperature as low as it will go. This is where prime lenses come in handy to get down to 1.8 or 1.4. Then adjust your ISO and shutter speed to get correct exposure. (If your shutter is below 1/80th, I suggest pulling out the tripod/flat surface.) Don’t be afraid push your ISO higher if your camera can handle it. There may be some grain but it will be grainier if you take an underexposed image and correct it in editing.

And there you have it! All you need to get that pretty bokeh is a wide open aperture!

Another fun thing to do is play with the manual focus. You can create larger circles by playing with the focus ring on your lens.

Have fun and play around with it! This is also a nice tool to use when playing around with city night shots. The photos can be great to hang around your home or use for future Christmas time ads for your business! Happy playing!

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