I am in a chronic stage of nesting in preparation for baby 3 and have been washing winter wear. After cleaning my kids confiscated a couple hats and began sprinting through the house with them pulled over their eyes. They would crash, fall over, laugh, repeat. I was sitting on the couch untangling Christmas lights for my husband to hang this weekend. Photo opportunity presented.
From newborn photography I have a ton of throw blankets. I grabbed my white fuzzy one, that resembles snow, and tossed in on the floor near a window. I pulled a few ornaments off the tree for my kids to hold and laid down the newly straightened lights. I don't like to let my kids hold the Christmas lights (or clients children for that matter) because they are coated in lead to preserve them for outdoor use. My understanding is that the amount is minuscule, but still. So as a precaution, don't let babies chew on them.
I set my camera to an f/1.8
I prefer this setting because I like the sharp focus on just the subject. If you have editing software, such as lightroom, you can easily soften the background using a radial filter. This allows you to achieve a similar look while shooting with the aperture higher. That comes in handy with wiggle worm kids.
The room was dark even with being by a window. It is winter time after all. My ISO was at 1000 and my shutter 1/200. I've begun to embrace the grain in photography a little more than before. The lower your ISO the less grain. This was such an impromptu shoot that I didn't have the luxury of waiting for a better time of day to shoot, or to set up studio lights. My kids were ready so I needed to be.
To me, the success of shooting Christmas lights is not using a flash. The flash will eliminate light from the strands and also cause harsh cast shadows, flattening out the image. Your best bet for soft DIY christmas light images is to shoot near a window, flash off. If you are new to photography begin playing with your camera on manual mode. Once you learn how to set your ISO to your liking there is so much more you can accomplish with your DIY photography.
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Fort Smith, Arkansas photographer specializing in newborn, children and family portraits.
All images are copyrighted by Brittney Owens Photography