Ever wonder why you can’t capture the “feeling” of the warmth of your home in pictures when it’s illuminated for Christmas? Turn OFF your flash. Most cameras in auto mode shoot this type of scene with the flash popped up because it recognizes that the scene is very dimly lit. When the flash pops up, it lights up the entire room and you lose that twinkle of the lights…the glow…and ultimately the mood.
This holiday season, when you want to capture the beauty of your home all aglow, set your camera to “A” (aperture preferred) mode and set your aperture to about f/2.8 or f.4, depending on how much of the room you want to be in focus. Then, in your menu, set your ISO to 400 (ISO determines available light sensitivity) and your camera will determine the shutter speed for you. Given the low light, the shutter speed will be slow, so you will need to be on a tripod or steady your camera on a flat surface to avoid blurred images caused by camera shake. (To go even a step further to avoid camera shake, I actually used a remote trigger with the mirror up for the images I shot below.) Then, as a final tweak, if you are using iPhoto or another more advanced photo editing software, adjust the white balance to tungsten because your images SOOC (straight out of the camera) will be too warm and have a distinct yellow cast. Adjusting the white balance will correct this.
This method works also if you sit your children in front of the Christmas tree with their backs towards you and have them be very still. You will get the tree all aglow and they will be somewhat silhouetted except for where the light from the tree is illuminating the front of their faces. I don’t have an example of this shot to post tonight, but I’ll try to post one before Christmas.
My husband started a fire tonight, so I thought it was the perfect time to light the candles and take a few example shots for this post which I have included below. I hope you find these tips helpful when you are trying to capture your precious memories this year.
And one last thought…
I love light and I love the challenge of capturing it in my camera. The most incredible thing about light is that God created it on the very first day he created the earth. “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.” — Genesis 1:3,4 And on Christmas when Jesus the Savior was born, a light, a star, is what led the shepherds and the wisemen to Him to worship Him. ” I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” — John 8:12. This verse and a Christmas song by Third Day was my inspiration for how I shot the images for our Christmas card this year.
Every time I pick up my camera, I am celebrating the light that God created and all the amazing beauty it brings to the world and joy to those who witness its glory. Think about the way light brings out the color in your children’s eyes and the glow in their hair when the sunlight hits it just right. Think about sunrises and sunsets at the beach, your shadows in the sand, rainbows after a rainstorm and moonlit nights on the porch. I know I am getting a little flowery here, but light is a fascinating and inspiring thing to me.
Since Jesus is the light of the world and whoever follows Him will have the light of life, how much more amazing will our lives be for ourselves and for others if we follow Him and let our lives be illuminated by the light of Christ in us. That’s my focus this Christmas – for my heart, my home and my business to be aglow with the Light of World, and I pray it will continue to be my focus in the coming New Year.