How to Photograph your Christmas tree

It's my favorite time of the year! I love putting the tree up and feeling all festive as we celebrate this special time of year. This year we decided to do two trees. The "pretty" tree in the living room, and the "traditional" tree in our family room. The pretty tree we went with purple, torquoise and white. It's indeed pretty. But my other tree is my favorite. It's full of ornaments that don't match; the clay ones kids made in kindergarten, the special one from our trip to Walt Disney World, a hand painted one we received as a wedding gift and other special ornaments we've collected over the years. Taking a photo of your tree is pretty easy if you follow a few simple steps:

You need an SLR camera, and preferably a tripod, but it's not necessary. I was too lazy to use one, so I rested my camera on the coffee table for this shot.

1. Set your ISO setting as low as possible to get the cleanest image and best color saturation. Mine is set to 50 in this photo.

ISO is how sensitive your camera will be to light. The lower the ISO number, the less sensitive the camera will be, requiring a longer exposure.

2. Set your F stop, or aperture, to a higher number. This image was taken at f14. This will create a large DOF, or Depth of Field. This will also give you the star points on the lights by way of diffraction based how how much the shutter opens when you take the shot.

DOF is the the amount of focal plane that is in focus. The higher this number, the larger the focal plane. The smaller the number, the smaller the plane and the less amount of your image that will be in focus.

3. You need to set your shutter speed enough to expose the lights just enough without making them too bright. You might have to play around with a few shutter speeds to get the right one. This image was a 15 second exposure. You probably want to use a tripod or something else to steady your camera. Its a great idea to even use the timer to avoid shaking the camera at all when you press the shutter. So, there you go! I would love to see your Christmas Tree photos! Feel free to post them up on my Facebook page to share or send me a link!

 

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