How to Photograph Your Christmas Tree

I am really looking forward to Christmas this year – even though Will will only be 11 months old, there’s a whole new excitement when there are kids to celebrate with. I have very fond memories of large family Christmas gatherings with cousins, aunties, uncles and grandparents – a tree swamped by presents for eight children, more food and lollies than I was usually allowed in a month, taking up a whole row at church (or half the church, if we were visiting my grandparents’ church!). The first year I moved out of home, I went back and stayed at my parents’ place on Christmas Eve, just so I didn’t miss out on getting a stocking on my bed in the morning.

Christmas is a special and important time for our family.

I was a little late getting our Christmas tree up this year. With a bit of  strategising how to keep small 10 month old hands away from it, we finally got it decorated yesterday.

how to photograph your christmas tree

 

So, how do you get great shots of your tree?

If you would like to take similar photos of your tree, you will need:

  • A tripod (or other method for stabilising your camera)
  • A DSLR or compact camera that allows you to manually choose your settings
  • Ideally, a remote shutter release or the ability to set a self-timer

To get the little starbursts of light, you’ll need to use a very narrow aperture (hence the long shutter speed and therefore the need for a tripod). My settings were:

  • Shutter speed: 25 seconds
  • Aperture: f16
  • ISO: Between 125 and 250
  • Manual focus for the close-up shots

Using a remote shutter release (or setting your self-timer so that the shot is taken a couple of seconds after you hit the shutter), will make sure the camera stays steady for sharp photos.

My fairy lights have frosted, speckled caps over them, so it looks like only those directly facing the camera achieved the starburst effect that I was going for. Your lights may give you a different result.

I’d LOVE to see pics of your tree – you can share them on Gerty’s facebook page here. If you have any questions or would like more detailed instructions, please leave a comment below.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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