better christmas photos

Download Better Christmas Photos

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  • 1. Better Christmas PhotosBetter Christmas PhotosBy Dan EitreimThis time of year, everywhere you turn there are prettydisplays ones worth capturing on film.But How?I was going to write an e-book about all the various typesof photos we can do at Christmas, but I waited too long.I felt it would be a rush job and the quality would suffer,so Ive tabled that until next year.Instead, here is an article describing how you can getbetter photos of Christmas Lights. Ive focused on the tree,but these concepts will work for most any lighting display.Christmas lights can be fairly tricky to capture since theyare so dim. If we use our Flash (on Camera or off) we get anice Image of the base subject the tree for example. Butthe flash totally overwhelms the Christmas lights and weeither cant see them at all, or they are nothing but a dimglow that adds nothing to the photo. 1/6

2. If we DONT use a flash and opt for a long Shutter speed(to capture the trees lights) we get a nice festive imageof the lights, but the tree and other decorations arentproperly exposed and dont look as good as they should.A middle of the road approach will give you results that areunsatisfactory at both extremes.Here are three options you can tryFirst If you have a camera that is capable of doing adouble Exposure you have it made! Do one exposure with theflash turned on, then another with the necessary settingsto maximize the lights!Second If you dont have a camera capable of doubleexposures, you can still take the two images described aboveand combine them in Photoshop or some other image programthat will allow you to do such a thing.Third The third method requires a little bit of cameramastery and I highly recommend you take advantage of theseason to learn how to do this!You WILL have to take the camera off automatic and actuallyemploy a few advanced techniques. Here we goTo begin with, you must have a tripod. Dont even try toshoot Christmas lights without one.Next, you need to determine the settings necessary to bestrecord the lights. 2/6 3. Turn off all the other lights in the room so that the treeslights are all that are lit. Start with your ISO setting:I recommend 100 or so. The lower the setting, the lessnoise that will be introduced into the photo.On the Aperture, there are two ways to go. If you have ahigh quality Lens, open up your aperture to the maximumsize. (This will be the smallest F stop number. i.e F2.8not F16.)If you have a lesser quality lens (lower quality lenses tendto have aberrations at the extremes) or if you want moredepth of field, most lenses have a sweet spot in the middlerange around F8.Once youve decided on the aperture you want, then set theshutter speed to be long enough to get enough light from thetrees lights to be properly exposed on the film or Digitalsensor.This will be a very long shutter speed. If your camera isntable to give you a long enough shutter, if you MUST you canmake adjustments to the ISO. Going from 100 to 200 will cutthe needed shutter speed in half. Going from 200 to 400 will cutit in half again and so on.Be careful under exposure will eliminate the beauty ofthe lights, over exposure will blow them out!Once you have the combination of ISO, Aperture and ShutterSpeed you need to capture the lights, we need to turn ourattention to the tree and other items in the photo.While we now have a proper setting to record the lights, dueto their strength and placement, they are not going to beenough to show the tree.Like any other low light situation, we need to add a flash.Our shutter speed is a long time but our flash isnt! Thatis OK. Our flash will give us a burst of light that willproperly expose the tree then the shutter will remain openlong enough to capture the lights!Most of your better quality flashes will allow you to setthem so that they will fire at the beginning of the exposure 3/6 4. or at the end of the exposure. In this case, since there isno motion, it doesnt matter which one you choose.If you arent aware of these settings or dont know how theywork, its time to pull out your flashs manual and read it.Its a pretty cool option that can give you some interestingand creative photos.Then you are all set!Decide what you want a photo of, set up your tripod and fireaway! The flash will fire and show you the tree, then thelong exposure will allow the lights to show.BTW Be sure your white balance is set to record the whitelights as white and not the orange/yellow produced by lowtemperature lights. Unless that is what you want.For more photo training, check out these linksFor more information on photo exposure:http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007RO17AO 4/6 5. For more information on mastering the aperture:http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007RP547KFor more information on camera shutter speed:5/6 6. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007ROH230 I hope this article helps! Now I need YOUR help if you have downloaded ANY of my Kindle e-books (whether you bought them or got them as part of a free promotion) PLEASE go back to Amazon and leave a review. I think my e-books can help a lot of budding photographers but if they cant find my books, they will never be able to get them. Reviews are vital. Here is a list of all my photo books and links to the Amazon pages: http://OnTargetPhotoTraining.com/KinOrder1 Thanks in advance for your reviews and for reading my musings Dan Eitreim Dan@OnTargetPhotoTraining.com 6/6Powered by TCPDF (www.tcpdf.org)