For many of you, the chances are pretty high you have a Christmas tree in your living room or you can find it somewhere close at this time of the year. Here are some ideas you can try to capture some interesting photos.

1. Out of focus lights

Focus on something closer than the lights on the Christmas tree and you will get the lovely out-of-focus effect in which the lights are turned into beautiful circles. A large aperture lens such as 50mm f/1.8 or 85mm f/1.8 is the most effective. The strength of the effect is controlled by the distance between the lights and the point of focus. Manually focus the lens closer, the circles become larger. You can read more about the topic here.

Let it bokeh, let it bokeh, let it bokeh
Creative Commons License Photo by: James Jordan

2. Make a bokeh

The out-of-focus lights have the same shape as the aperture of your lens, which is round or polygon shaped. If you cut a fancy shape in a card and attach it to your lens, you get the out-of-focus lights to show up with that shape! Check out this page for how it is done and these Flickr search results to get some inspiration.

snowflake bokeh texture3
Creative Commons License Photo by: nikkitambo

3. Camera toss

Create Abstract Light Art by Snapping a Camera-Toss Photo – Toss your camera up to capture some intriguing patterns of light. Also check out the Camera Toss blog and the Camear Toss Flickr group. If you want to try it, be careful not to drop the camera. 😉

Camera Toss

4. Get closer

It is a little boring to snap a photo of the whole Christmas tree. Try to get closer and capture some finer details.

Christmas Tree

5. Capture the reflections

If you have some highly reflective glass ball Christmas tree ornaments, try to capture some reflections by getting very close to them. Due to the curved shape, you can capture a very large field of view that is not possible without a fish-eye lens. It is difficult to hide the camera or yourself but I think it is very nice to be able to get the photographer in a photo in such an unobtrusive manner.

Christmas Tree

6. Double/Multiple exposures

Many cameras now support this feature but it may be the least often used feature. If unsure, check the user manual of your camera. Basically you take two or more shots, different parts of the tree or at different zoom level (as shown in the following example) or whatever, the camera automatically merges them into a single photo.

Double exposure

7. The Zoom effect

We talked about the Zoom Effect in details a while ago and also mentioned it in the Night Photography Ideas and Techniques article. You can use the zoom effect for shooting Christmas tree.

Laser Christmas Tree!

8. Share your idea

Do you have any other interesting ideas about shooting Christmas trees? Please feel free to contribute using the comment form at the bottom of the page.


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