How to Get the Bokeh Effect with Christmas Tree Lights
You don't have to have an incredibly expensive camera to get beautiful Christmas pictures of your children in front of the Christmas tree. With a basic DSLR camera and a 50 mm lense, you can create the bokeh effect, or as I like to call it - big blurry light balls.
The photo above is of my two daughters Kylie and Kaitlin. It was taken by Clare Ahalt Photography, and below you'll find the camera and setting details.
Camera model:Canon EOS 60D
Focal length:50 mm
Max lens aperture:f/1.4
Exposure:1/80 at f/1.4
Flash:Not fired, compulsory mode
Exposure bias:0 EV
Exposure prog.:Aperture priority
ISO speed:ISO 640
If you aren't familiar with the settings on your DSLR, your holiday photos in front of the Christmas tree can still benefit from these simple tips even with your camera set on auto.
Simple Tips for Better Photos In front of the Christmas Tree
1. Place the subjects several feet from the tree. Low to the ground is best, especially if you have a small tree. If you're trying to get the bokeh effect in your family Christmas photos, the biggest mistake you could make is placing the subjects right up against the tree.
2. You need to get low to the ground as well. You'll probably have to move some furniture out of the way to get both the subject and yourself far enough away from the lights.
3. Turn off your flash. This eliminates shadows and gives a more professional look to the photos. For indoor shots at nght, this won't work uness you have a flash or studio light with some sort of filter to soften the light and minimize shadows. Depending on your camera, not using the flash can make it hard to get a clear shot, especially if the subject is moving. To combat this, light the subjects faces with lamps, or shoot with natural light near a window; the light should be indirect as bright, direct sunlight will cause overexposure.
4. Use the subjects to cover up gaps. The photographer had my daughters squeeze together, and they filled in the gap under the Christmas tree, making for a much better composition. This also allowed her to incorporate a large area of the Christmas tree lights.