Getting majestic looking photos of your Christmas Tree may be much easier than you think. If you want to learn how to photograph your Christmas tree, then this one is for you! Dust off that old camera and bust out the tripod too because you will need it. If you don’t have one, find a vantage point for your camera where you can sit it down on something where it wont move for the 15 or so seconds that you will expose for. A tripod is really useful because it’s nearly impossible to achieve good results by holding it because the slightest move you make will blur your photo. Having a remote trigger wouldn’t hurt either because touching the shutter button can sometimes cause camera shake and lead to blur.
Step 1.. If you have a canon like me, you will turn that big dial around to “M” for manual control.
Set your ISO to 100, your aperture (fstop or number with the “f” in front of it) to 14 or as high as it will go and set your shutter speed to 15″ which means 15 seconds. You can even go as long as a 30 second exposure for a brighter look. The higher you set the aperture, you will need a longer exposure. Different lenses have different aperture ranges – I shoot with a 50mm 1.2, so mine only closes down to a 14. Part of the fun is to try different settings and see how it looks! Try the settings above and tweak it around to see what you like.
Set up your tripod and make sure you have the full tree visible through the viewfinder with both the top and bottom of the tree in view. You can adjust and try different camera angles for some variety. This is a good time to move any distractions like stray toys that might be in the way.
If you have one of those remote triggers, now would be a perfect time to use one! Very gently focus and hit the shutter button to snap a photo. Your camera will freeze for 15 seconds and it will record all the it sees in front of it, so if someone or something streaks across the room that will be visible in your photos as a big blur.
The image on the left is my straight out of camera shot and the right is with a few adjustments.
Tip – The higher the fstop (f14) for my particular lens gives you these pretty star shaped halos around all the lights!
Have fun and experiment with different settings! There is no right or wrong setting – only the ones that work best to achieve the look you want.