Now that we are ready for the holidays and the tree is up, it’s time to use that beautiful tree as a backdrop. There are a few things you need to think about when trying to photograph anything in front of the tree. Whether your subject is your children, ornaments, or even towers of presents, keep the following things in mind.

How to Take Photos in Front of the Christmas Tree

Week 51: December 14-20

1. Lighting. Of course that would be the first thing you want to think about! If you are shooting during the day time, make sure you have a great natural light source. That could be a large window or a door. Position your subject between the tree and the window. Since you have light coming from the tree, make sure to turn off any other competing light sources like lamps and overhead lighting.

If you aren’t working with a natural light source, turn on the lights that will be behind you. This will illuminate your subject. But what about my flash? Turn that off! This is not the time to use a flash. If you do use a flash, you won’t get twinkling lights on your tree and your image will be flat.

2. Try Aperture mode. I know we talk a lot about shooting in Manual but there are times when you can jump down to other modes. When shooting in Aperture mode, we will only be concerned about our aperture settings. By focusing on aperture, you are deciding how much light is coming into your camera. When trying to capture twinkling tree lights and get amazing light bokeh, you want to shoot with the highest aperture available to you {small f/}.

3. Bump your ISO. If you are shooting at night, you will need to raise your ISO since we are not using our flashes, right? If your photos are coming out too grainy, add more light behind you.

4. Composition. You have this beautiful background but don’t forget that you are highlighting your subject not the tree. Position yourself so that you get just the right amount of tree in the background and still bring focus to your tree, especially if you have some cuties up front and center.

This week, your challenge is to use your tree or any holiday light display as the backdrop for your photos. Make sure you share your photos on Facebook!