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25 Halloween Costumes w/Your LBD

The easiest way to create a last-minute or inexpensive Halloween costume is to start with things you already have. I do it every year, because I get so frustrated with how expensive yet poorly-made most Halloween costumes are. I'd rather use what is already in my closet, or spend a little extra on accessories or a new dress that I can wear anytime of the year. A little black dress is the easiest way to use what you have to create a Halloween costume with a few inexpensive accessories and other accessories you probably already have in your closet.Pictured Above: Halloween Black Mesh Dress


1. Black Cat - This is the easiest way to use your little black dress on Halloween. I know it's pretty much the most generic costume in history, but for good reason - it's just so easy and affordable. It's the perfect last-minute costume for women, because you could really use any black outfit even if you don't have a little black dress. Pair it with your black flats or heels and a…

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 make:Canon
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 mode:Auto
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.


Special thanks to Clare Ahalt Photography for taking our beautiful family Christmas photos. You can view more photography by Clare Ahalt on Facebook and her official website.

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