Photographing Christmas Lights

After going out to Shore Acres park to see the Christmas lights this year and not having the pictures turn out exactly as I wanted, decided to do some research for tips on taking pictures of Christmas lights…

  • Take the pictures at dusk or at twilight (aka "the blue hour" from the French expression l'heure bleue), when there is still some light in the sky. Useful link: Twilight Time Calculator
  • Use the camera's built-in Night Mode. Flash will not be used, which means longer exposure is required and will need to use surface or tripod to keep steady.
  • Pre-focus on something dark.
  • Select lower ISO setting (100 or lower). Play with this to see. Again, use tripod.
  • Manually select your exposure. To start, try -2.
  • For a special effect, try moving the camera in a shape during the long exposure time — an example of this.

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